“You have bored steps,” Sister Juliana remarked this afternoon as I passed her on my way back to the house.
“I have... what?”
“Bored steps. You know...” and Sister Juliana mimicked the way I was walking, my very upbeat walk with a bounce in my step. That’s when I realized “bored” was sarcastic.
“She means you’re enjoying life,” Sister Dorothy explained.
“But I am enjoying life!” I said.
“We can tell you’re enjoying life just by the way you walk,” said the man who had been talking to them.
I smiled, and listed some of the things I enjoy about life... the sky, the clouds, the sun, the moon, the stars. The sky is somehow different here. It looks bigger. It’s beautiful, I explained, and as I walked away, I didn’t walk... I danced.
Yes, I am enjoying life. I’m feeling much more confident about teaching. The classes that I’ve taught this week have gone very well. I no longer sit in the back and watch Monsieur Kofi teach... now, he sits in the back and watches me.
Oh, but yesterday, when he asked me to teach Class 1 (first grade) by myself until he finished eating lunch, I was so nervous. The last time I taught class 1 without him, when he had to step out for a few minutes, the kids got up and started running around the classroom.
So it was with much apprehension that I walked into Miss Lizzy’s class, where the kids all sat quietly. They stood up when they saw me. “Bonsoir, Mademoiselle Kate,” they chanted. I smiled and greeted them back. Then I began the lesson that Monsieur told me to teach... reviewing the letters of the alphabet. I wrote letters on the board, and called on children to recite the letter à la française. They remembered the French pronunciations so well that by the time Monsieur Kofi had finished lunch, I had them spelling the days of the week. I was doing so well that Monsieur just sat in the back and talked to Miss Lizzy while I taught the kids. I was able to keep the class in order. They stayed in their seats and for the most part were quiet. I was thrilled!
Maybe one of the reasons today was such a good day was that today I taught my favorite class: Class 2A. Class 2A is SO good! They’re so well-behaved and attentive. I couldn’t believe it! Last week, I almost cried when I taught the other second grade class, class 2B. The children of class 2B were so naughty! They refused to stay quiet and listen. I spent most of the class yelling at them to be quiet. I can’t imagine yelling at class 2A. They are angels! Angels, I tell you! We finished the lesson quickly, so I spent the last ten minutes of class telling them all about Halloween. They don’t celebrate Halloween here in Ghana, so they were quite fascinated by the idea. I was happy that I was able to share with them a bit of American culture. They were eager to learn about it.
Life is grand. I’m picking up a little Twi every day. Twi is the native language spoken by most of Ghana. My friends here are determined that I learn to speak it before I leave. They teach me a little bit every day, but they always seem so surprised to hear me speak it! I hope that I learn to speak it better before I leave. I’d love to just bust out speaking Twi one day to a stranger. I don’t know if a Ghanian would believe me. I can’t wait! Today, I learned how to say “let’s eat,” “let’s go,” and “see you tomorrow.” I so enjoy speaking Twi! It’s such fun!
Speaking Twi, however, isn’t as fun as drinking chocolate milk. I love chocolate milk, and I used to drink it almost every day. A few days ago, I tried some type of orange-flavored milk. It reminded me of medicine. I didn’t like it very much. I asked Sister Anne and Sister Bibi if they had ever tried chocolate milk. Neither of them had heard of it, so I explained it to them as best I could. Talking about it made me really want it, but I thought it would be impossible to find. I imagined 9 more months without chocolate milk. The thought made me sad.
Every day, Monsieur Kofi brings a drink for me. He usually brings a juice box, which I appreciate and enjoy. However, the day after I had talked to the nuns about how much I love chocolate milk, he brought me... chocolate milk! I know my face lit up when I saw it, a little box with a picture of a glass of chocolate milk and a happy-looking African family on the front. Today, Monsieur Kofi brought me chocolate milk again. It makes me so happy! He’s so nice to me.
So... beautiful African skies + Class 2A + learning Twi + chocolate milk = a girl with “bored” steps. :)