Sri Lanka: And Then There Were Three...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Are you ready for this?

Hey Everyone! Now, though I hope that you are all enjoying all of my blogs, I hope this blog especially warms your heart. So, if you are having a bad day, a bad week, a bad month, or even a bad year, read the following blog carefully and hopefully when you've reached the end of it, you'll realize, "Hey, it's not so bad after all." But if you're really smart, you'll be thinking, "Melissa. What a brave soul, but a damn fool!" So enjoy.
Let me inform you all about what's going on in Sri Lanka, and I guarantee you that you will feel better about your life. For starters, I know that you all heard about the army General that was killed on Monday, June 26th just 17 km east of Colombo (the place where I am staying). So ok: "No big deal right?" WRONG. Big deal. Huge deal. I don't care if it's 17 km or 1.7 km. It is still in Colombo. Should I be worried? Yes. Am I worried? Hell Yeah. But you all know this information. As a matter of fact, it should have been on CNN. But if you didn't get your dosage of CNN (I know, that Anderson Cooper can be a bit much at times) that was just an update of Monday's news. Now, let's get to breaking news. You know, news that is happening as we speak.
Today. June 28th. For most of you reading this, it is just a regular day. A work day. A Wednesday. The middle of the week. But for me, it is a lucky day. I am grateful for this day. It marks another day that I am alive. And in Sri Lanka, June 28th, if I am not mistaken, marks the anniversary of the first suicide bombing. Yay!! Can you believe it? The first. It brings tears to my eyes. Literally. And do you know how the Tamil Tigers (Terrorist Group in Sri Lanka) celebrate this day? Anyone? Anyone? That's right. We gotta set off a suicide bomb. It's only appropriate. But we can't set off just a bomb anywhere in Sri Lanka. That's just silly. So, we have to set off a bomb in school!! Yay!! And guess what school was threatened to be a target??...
My school. Yay!!!! But Everyone, please no worries because today, the faculty closely scrutinized the children. That's right. They inspected classrooms, backpacks and desks for bombs! No no. Not pencils and erasers, but bombs. Very worried, I was. See, you can even notice it in my speech since I'm talking like Yoda. But thankfully, or should I say luckily, nothing happened. The school day proceeded with no explosions or deaths. But Bro. Granville, the principal, did insist on cancelling after-school sessions. And boy, did that help. As you can imagine I was provided with the utmost solace when I found out that after-school was cancelled. Now, what he should have done was cancel school for the year and send me home!!!! Man, don't get me wrong, I know that I am the Angelina Jolie of post-college life, but I don't want to die for the cause. I want to teach these students how to spell CAUSE. But I guess it's just not that simple. God Forbid. I have to be in a place where there is a war going on--oh, excuse me: CEASEFIRE (could have fooled me)--to make a damn difference.
But on a happier note, I heard an MP-3 clip (Thanks Ruben) of Jay-Z from the concert that I WAS NOT AT (because I chose to come to a country where there is a war), which made me feel better. This is all very theraputic for me, if not heart palpatating. So I hope all is well in the USA.

P.S. Hey Edna...Soccer--excuse me, Futbol--is VERY POPULAR over here. The Sri Lankans follow it to a tee when they are not blowing each other up.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Weekend Fun

Hey Everyone!! Here in Sri Lanka it is Sunday, June 25. It's about 11:40 am and I just wanted to write a quick blog to you all about what we did this weekend. Yesterday, we went to St. Benedict's for our weekend seesion of classes. It was fun. We were assigned the 6th and 7th graders. They are so cute. Everyone was excited and asked us numerous questions like if we knew Spiderman personally. And then when the session was done, they crowded around us and asked for our autographs. (That's right, I AM the Beyonce of Sri Lanka!) After school, we came back to the Provincial house and hung out outside by the ocean. Then later in the evening, we went out to dinner at the Cricket Club: a nice, American-esque restaurant. We had a great time--the three musketeers. But the most exciting part of our day occurred when we were coming back home from dinner. The trishaw driver (Sri Lankan cab driver) argued with us and was trying to make us pay more for the cab ride than what we had initially agreed upon. It was crazy! He was threatening us by saying he'd call the police. But you know us Americans. We don't back down. So we told him to call the police because we weren't going to give him extra money. He was confused and called us crazy. After all of the word play, we gave him what we said we would and he had no other choice but to take it. Poor Sri Lankan cabbie; did he really believe he was going to get over on us?!?

Until next time...

Friday, June 23, 2006

It's been One Week

Well, we did it! Mike, Blair, and I have completed one full school week at St. Benedict's College! And what a week it's been! We are all teaching 5 sections of English as well as 2 hours after school and 3 hours on Saturdays. And eventhough this sounds really hectic, it IS. But it is all worth it. The students are so excited that we have come back and many still ask for the original bunch from January (Stefan is asking for you Veronica & Shehan is asking for you Patrick). It is all very exciting but as you all probably expected, it is way more work, which is fine. My only regret is that I will most likely be posting once or twice a week due to our busy schedule. But hopefully once a day. (These Sri Lankans are really getting their money's worth with us - haha.) But it's ok.
My students are wearing me out, but in a good way, since I come home tired everyday. For the time being, my lesson unit is on Writing and Grammar. My kids are picking up fast. Some need additional help, but the after school classes are coming in handy. So all in all, I'm having a great time here. Also, I 've managed to divide my time between St. Bendedict's College and the Primary school. I visit my 5th graders often and spend time with them. My cooperating teacher from January was real happy to see me and Patrick, she says hello. The kids are so cute and smart and happy. But most of all, they are really appreciative and honestly this makes my job so much more rewarding. My rash is gone and I'm feeling much better. We were given a cell phone, of which I've used to call some of you from back home, but the battery died and now I have to buy a calling card. (The Provincial House has set up a phone for us to use.) So don't worry if I don't call too often (you can always log on to the blog).
Lastly, Thank God that Mike Lepetit and Blair Lampe are my travelling companions because they are soooooo great. All we do is laugh and laugh and laugh some more. There couldn't have been a better threesome for this trip. So in a nutshell, I'm ok, and I'm glad I'm here!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

We're here, sorry for the delay

Hello All! I've finally had time to update the blog. For starters, we all had a very safe, much shorter, plane ride to Sri Lanka. It was a total of about 16 hours, in oppose to January's 22 hours. We are staying in Colombo, the country's capital, in the Provincial Headquarters (aka The house of the religious brothers). Everyone is very hospitable and helpful and we are all in a safe haven. (Thank God.) Nevertheless, we are all aware of the media and the political situation and will continue to be careful. Again fortunately, we are in a very safe place.
We've begun teaching at St. Benedict's College and it's been pretty hectic, which would explain the delay in updating the blog. I'm teaching 5 sections of 9th grade English in this all-boy school. It's been going well. So far, I've had one student ask me for my phone number, one asked me to be his pen pal, and another proposed to me. So, I think I am succeeding in teaching them how to communicate in English. Outside of the school environment, I 've been careful about my curry food intake. However, I am unsuccessful at staying well. I have a ridiculous rash on various parts of my body and had to go to the hospital to receive antibiotics. Hopefully all will be well and I'll get better. I'll keep Everyone posted, just please don't worry. The Sri Lankas are treating me well and taking good care of all of us. I have to go now, I am being kicked off. Will post again as soon as I can. Love you all!

Friday, June 16, 2006

I've Changed My Mind!

Well it's about 2:25 am and I have come to the conclusion that I do not want to travel back to Sri Lanka. The political situation appears to be worsening and many innocent people have been killed. More specifically, a recent attack has occurred in a town just 131 miles north of Colombo, the town we will be in. A bus exploded after going over a landmine: this killed 58 people and about 80 were injured--most of whom were regular people on their way to work and school. Hence, this does not provide me with any solace and quite frankly, I do want to save the world, but I have no intentions on becoming a martyr. Hopefully, once I speak with Casey and Dean Merriman my fears and apprehensions will be soothed. If not, I won't go.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Friday is the Big Day!

Hello Everyone! This is the first posting on Sri Lanka. Thanks to my wonderful professor, Dr. McCarthy, I have created this blog in order to keep in contact with my family and friends and for you all to read and reply to my activities/time in Sri Lanka. This will be my second trip to Southeast Asia and I am very excited about leaving. I'm a little nervous about my trip (hint: the food) but I'm sure I won't lose too much weight. In all seriousness, this blog is open to everyone so I encourage all not only to write to me, but also to Mike, Blair, and Br. Augustine (my traveling buddies). We will be in Sri Lanka for 6 weeks, so I had better see some postings. Once again, a special thanks to Dr. McCarthy and to my family for your constant support of my decisions. Patrick, I hope that you are enjoying your cross-country trip and I miss you very much. Now that I have given my Grammy-award winning speech, I am on my way. Next time you all hear from me I will be in Sri Lanka.