Fatigué (Friday, 2010 September 17)

September 17, 2010

Drained. 7 hours of class today. 1e was spunky without being disrespectful — they even went so far as to try to flirt with me. Whereas séconde had most of its students — they said 55 of them were present today. Yeesh. They were spunky while being disrespectful. Can’t say as I blame them; we’re covering "The History of Informatique" which is so boring even I don’t care about it. The good news is that there is so little to say that I think it’ll be over soon.

One thing that was utterly awesome, however. In séconde, when I said "I come from a little city called New York City", one of the students said, "Monsieur! That’s my name!" I couldn’t believe he was serious, so I said, "Show me." He did: his name is "Nou Yuok" something or other. "C’est super!" he said.

In the meantime I am reading Invent Your Own Computer Games With Python, which saved my bacon by giving me an alternative lesson plan for today’s Terminale class, based around the command prompt, rather than editing a file (which isn’t completely ready; drpython isn’t yet on the Linux machines and at least one Windows machine has a virus preventing them from installing wxWindows/wxPython).

Sometimes there are random smells, I often don’t even know where they come from, that give me cravings. Yesterday it was scallions. Today it was cat food. I’m concerned this means I’m turning into a prawn. Perhaps it simply means I’m suffering from some arbitrary nutritional deficiency. No worries.

One other amusing thing: my last class got a little rained out. Even when it’s inside, the roofs here are corrugated tin, so when it rains even a bit, it becomes basically impossible to hear anything anyone says. I got around this for a while by writing on the board but eventually gave up. As the rain started to thin I started to walk home. M. Dinesso, the head of department for Informatique, saw me and shouted, "Prof! Il pleut!" ("Professor! It’s raining!") We Americans like to say that Cameroonians speak in the "present obvious", which I maintain isn’t completely accurate, but this was a sterling example. So I decided to play with it. "Vraiment?" I said. "Ah bon? Il pleut?" ("Really? Oh yeah? It’s raining?") "Oui, prof! Il pleut!" "Où? Ici?" ("Where? Here?") I could have kept going for a while, but he gave up, performing a sort of bow-dip-acknowledging defeat gesture, and said "Vous êtes fort." ("You’re tough.") The cultural sidebar here is that people don’t walk in the rain here, no matter how light, no matter how heavy. It’s almost like they’re afraid, a country of adults afraid of rain. Have I mentioned that everything is weird here? I’ll come back to this theme later.

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