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English (Tuesday, 2010 October 12)

October 12th, 2010

And then, naturally, they disconnected me. I think I’m in luck though, because I just got re-connected after going to re-buy Internet today. J’ai de la chance!

The people at the Camtel office spoke English to me. Unlike the lady at the bank, who started the conversation with "Bonjour" while working with another client in English, I think this was because they preferred English — but I didn’t ask if they were "anglophones", since that seems like a stupid question on the face of it. Nevertheless, like Eugene who worked at the Camtel office at training, you get the impression that speaking English for him was a political act, since it is (after all) the minority language here.

Whereas the teachers at my school talk to me in English to practice English. For example, with one of the lady teachers:

"I like you because you always eat."

"Because I am always hungry!"

"You don’t cook?"

"I don’t have the time."

"When you go back to your house, you don’t have time?"

"Not really.."

"You should take a woman."

"I have a girlfriend in the United States."

"You can take another for here!"

Yesterday I felt like absolute crap for most of the day, which I attributed at first to just not getting enough sleep, but eventually turned into a feverish sort of headache, which thankfully went away once I finally got home around 7 PM and drank a lot of water and read a little. Then I sacked out. I’m feeling better today, but I’m still not completely over everything, so when I was in Bafoussam I grabbed a box of instant chicken noodle soup.

A few of the computers in the lab have now gotten so virus’d (as far as I can tell, just from USB keys) that they’re falling over and dying. I’d like to keep as many XP computers as we conveniently can, but this is ridiculous. Not that I have time to deal with it anyhow — still have to grade two classes’ quizzes, one classes’ test, and create four more tests.

Dreamt I went to a con, or that I was on vacation. People kept asking me, "Aren’t you supposed to be back in Africa yet?" Apparently my vacation had been over for a while, but I just couldn’t bring myself to come back. It made me worry — can I really risk going on vacation? Would I really be strong enough to keep myself from getting stuck? I always doubted that I’d be able to do something like this later in life, figuring I’d get too trapped in the rat race and the flow of everyday life to really do something different. I was fortunate that I got fired from one job, and then hated the job I had next, so I had ample reason to go. But that might not be true if I went home to visit.

Boris the student asked me for some help with English. There were a bunch of exercises about choosing between the present perfect and the past tense. In most of them I was like "Gosh, I could say either." But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m not qualified to teach English; it just means that the English curriculum here is as fucked as that of computer science. Well, one crisis at a time, I guess.

I have a bunch of pictures to upload but I can’t say when I’ll next have time. Hope it will be soon.

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