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Repos (Friday, 2011 March 11)

March 11th, 2011

It’s 8:30 on a Friday and I don’t feel exhausted or bitter or anything. In fact I feel kind of happy. I’m not sure if it’s the aftereffects of physical exertion — shot some hoops at the lycée, puised some eau — the fact that I’m almost over my cold, the sudden reappearance of free time, or a reflection on how classes went today, but I’m feeling loose and ready and maybe a little bored. I’ve been letting the dishes pile up out of habit, because I "don’t have time", but I didn’t know what else to do tonight so I tackled most of them. "Repos" means rest, like the verb "se reposer", literally to rest oneself. Flashback to a language training session where the language trainer Marcel asked us (in French) since if we wanted to eat, it meant we were hungry, what does it mean if we want to sleep? And Peter saying "Tu es fatigué", "You are tired", to which Marcel said, "Si on es fatigué, c’est qu’il faut se reposer." "If you’re tired, you need to rest." The answer he was looking for was the verb "avoir sommeil", to be sleepy, which in American English tends to just get folded into "tired". But I digress.

Among other essentially unproductive activties, I’ve been going through old todo list items and checking them off. Since I stopped reading most of my news feeds since I came to Africa, I’m able to take back some of the space I let fill up with recommendations. An appalling number of the things I dog-eared for later are really curio at best. But that’s what I get for having such high standards. Slightly more productive is time spent polishing my patch series for offlineimap, which, distressingly, may be the most useful thing I’ve done here. Cf. Rose’s recent experience teaching "why". This is the bread-and-butter of what we’re supposed to be doing here, and mostly, I haven’t. I’ve started emulating her example by addressing certain classes, asking them why they think I get upset when they just copy whatever another person has doing, or talking individually with the smarter students and explaining to them that they need to learn how to help without giving the answer. There’s a palpable gravity to these situations; sometimes they really do focus and listen to you, because they are really just impressionable children. But I haven’t yet found that one gem of hard-earned wisdom which will change lives when I speak it. Maybe after spring break. Or maybe next year.

Still, all in all, stuff’s great. Ate rice three, possibly four times today — although the middle time was spaghetti-rice, light on the spaghetti. And there’s only two weeks left until spring break.

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