Friday, December 19, 2008

Somebody's Hero

I'm finished with classes for the year and that is a very restful thought. Not that I'll really be resting a whole lot during the holiday. More like traveling all over the place and probably pulling my hair out a little bit. But you know I love it.
This past week attendance was pretty low. Like everywhere else that Christmas is celebrated, this time of year is really busy for people. The Czechs tend to spend hours and hours making their intricate Christmas cookies, not to mention all the other things to attend to like shopping and all of that good stuff. Classes are less strenuous anyway, as we mostly pull out the Christmas activities and just play a lot of games and do speaking exercises.
I really enjoy it when I have a chance to parter up with someone in a class and can really listen to what they have to say. Sometimes they get really intimidated when I suggest that I can be their partner, and would prefer to just be in a group of three, but I do what I can. I learned most of the Czech Christmas traditions last year, but it's still interesting to listen to them talking about things like cutting an apple in half to see the Christmas star (apparently there's something to do with luck in that as well, but I don't know exactly what) or saving a scale from the Christmas carp to keep in their wallet for the next year in the hopes that it will bring them financial security. Last night I only had couple of students in my first class so we were able to really talk about the traditions and I'm considering trying the shoe throwing one. The idea is that you stand near a doorway and throw a shoe backwards at it. If the shoe goes through it means you'll be getting married, if not, you'll be home for another year...hmmm...
On Wednesday I had one evening class student! That meant an hour and a half of just keeping conversation going. Fortunately it was my upper intermediate class, so it wasn't like pulling teeth the way it would have been with a lower level class. I ended up having a really interesting conversation with Petr. He told me about trips he has taken to Cuba and to Kenya and how, while he enjoys travel every now and then, he is happiest when he is at home. He is very content to stick nearby and enjoy the nature and the sports activities available here. After saying all of this he told me that I'm a little bit of a hero to him. As he described it, I think curiosity might have been a better term, but he was going on about how hard it is for him to imagine living the wandering life that I've been on for so many years now.
I'm not really sure I could connect the word hero with myself. I certainly don't look at it that way. If anything, "aimless" seems more appropriate at times. Even "escapist" comes to mind. It's not that there's exactly anything I can think of that I'm trying to escape, but my inability to make roots often leads me to think there must be something that I'm avoiding. Or searching for...
Anyhow, it was just interesting to be called a hero. And I really enjoyed the chance to have a real conversation. I actually had quite a few conversations last night at pub night. Of course as the night gets later and more drinks are consumed it's hard to really catch the content of what they're saying. There was one guy who was so far gone, and yet so insistent that we talk about Animal Farm by George Orwell. But I really couldn't make sense of what he was trying to say. He's hard enough to understand when he's sober! But it was still nice to hang out with all the students and chat with them all night.

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