We had to work today (Saturday) supervising the students at the main campus’ annual fair. It’s annoying to have to work at 8:30 Saturday morning, but it means we get the 31st off, which means one extra day of New Year’s Eve vacation.
My duties at the beginning of the morning were to “great” the elementary school students and direct them to where we were gathering. There are thousands of students at the junior high and high school, so the fair ends up being a very big affair (HA! LOL! SO FUNNY!), and the elementary school, with less than 300 students is a tiny community within the larger Er-Xin mega-corporation (it is really a corporation, the school is just one part of the enterprise). So we try and carve out a little existence.
Anyway, when I would see one of my students I would get really excited and shout their name from 50 meters away (we were outside so I could use my “outside voice”) and cheer them on as they got closer. This is how I have fun when forced to be somewhere at 8:30 Saturday morning. So I’m having fun and the kids are presumably having fun. Some of them look embarrassed, but most of them look happy (not that those are mutually exclusive). One of my colleagues tells me that I’m to tone it down a bit. “The Director says you should be a little more discrete.” The Director doesn’t speak English, so I can never communicate with her directly.
Instead, I told the messenger, “with my body, in this place [all Taiwanese people, many of whom stare at me just when I’m walking around nonchalantly], I’m not discrete. So I might as well have fun with it.” I continued to be over-the-top. One of my students – a fourth grader who always seems either really confused or really deep in thought – saw me excitedly waving to her and she ran to me and gave me a big, running hug. “Teacher Erisa!” It made me feel really good.
I was playing a dice game at one booth*. As I received my prize – a sandwich I didn’t even want – a girl ran up to me and shouted through a hoarse throat: “where are you from?”
“Good!” She grabbed my arm and stared dragging me through a crowd of people. “Good good!”
We arrived at her class’ booth and she and her classmates showed me the chocolate-covered fruits (including tomato) and breadsticks they were selling.
“Very good to eat!” She was practically shoving the cup of chocolate fruit in my face. Shouting into my ear. Her classmates laughed at her methods.
Partly because I was impressed by her ballsiness and partly because I wanted to GTFO, I paid the remaining amount of tickets I had left to buy all of their knock-off Pocky. Then I asked to take their picture and they asked that I be in it.
As I left the high school campus, a boy I’d never met, surrounded by his classmates, shouted at me: “TEACHER, I LOVE YOU!” His entire class erupted in laughter. I wanted to shout back: “DUDE, THAT IS. FUCKED. UP. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ME!” but I knew that would be inappropriate and unprofessional. So I just sighed, shook my head, and thought: teens…
*For the opportunity to only pay half-price for a sandwich, which I didn’t realize until I won and had to pay for a sandwich I didn’t even want. I just wanted to play a game. All the booths were food-based**. There were maybe two game booths out of over a hundred booths total.
**There was also one military booth and I thought it was interesting that they were using transformers-like imagery to get kids interested in the military.