Friday, May 18, 2012

Adorable Engrish

I'm so behind on blogging this month and for that I apologize. Not just to you, but to myself. This is my sarcasm safe place where I can bitch and moan about all things MIL and make fun of anything else that gets in my way. And of course, where I can lovingly poke fun at my precious daughter, handsome husband and precocious kindergarteners.

This week has been rough in the Qu household. MIL broke our baby chair (which she has since thankfully repaired by the hands of a welder) and to top it off, Raelynn has 2 teeth and one coming in. So, if you are aware of all the hell that teething brings, you know how little sleep I got. And if you have no children yet (or don't want any) then just imagine that every time your head hits the pillows and your eyes begin to flutter shut, the smoke detector goes off, wailing loudly, uninterrupted, for hours on end. But unlike a smoke detector, which I would have bashed to bits with a broom, I cradled Raelynn in my arms all night. And as soon as I'd get her back to sleep and start to doze off again, the cycle repeated itself. Thank GOD for coffee. Anyway, I've been busy and tired between Raelynn, events I have to prepare for at school (spelling bees and something called "English Village" which my boss, bless her heart, pronounced as "English Billage") and regular school stuff, so I'm in full on Mombie the Zombie mode. That's probably why I didn't notice the red carpet or the high school seniors throwing flowers when I got out of the taxi on Tuesday morning.

Bleary-eyed with sleep I shut the door of Hao Shufu's taxi and made my way toward the front steps of the school. That's when I nearly fell over as the children shouted, "Happy Teacher's Day!" How did I not notice a fucking red carpet? Flowers? Loud, fanfare music blaring from giant speakers flanking the stairs? Oh yeah...teething baby. Despite being startling, I was genuinely delighted. What a beautiful surprise! And it was only just beginning!

They pinned a flower to my shirt, then I ascended the steps into the school and made my way to Kindergarten. As my children began to arrive, I became inundated with presents. I couldn't even believe it. It was better than my own birthday! I had flowers and cards and beautifully wrapped goodies that I couldn't wait to open. I have to say the parents are incredibly generous people. I received 3 different cups: a Hello Kitty one intended for Raelynn, a special locking thermos in pink and a Starbucks mug that came with ground Starbucks coffee. I also received lotions from Oil of Olay and L'Occitane. Pretty pink lip gloss by Dior. Sweet and summery Kenzo Amour perfume. A beautiful tan canvas bag with black leather trimmings. A jade green colored parasol. A handkerchief imported from France. And one of the most delicious cheesecakes I've ever had.

Yes, the gifts I received were incredible indeed. But of even greater value? Oh the adorable Engrish that came on the cards of course. Check it out:
Ok, so there is nothing too horribly funny about this one so much as it makes my heart melt. It's from one of my absolute favorite children ever, Justin. I mentioned him (and his brother) before in this post. How could I not smile when I read, "I love Teacher." Awwww!

This next one is from Iris. She's a cute little thing, the smallest one in my class. But she makes up for size with her loud mouth. She's quite precocious which is sometimes precious and sometimes problematic. But in this note, she's just darling. Here is what it says, verbatim:
"To. Teacher Jennifer
Hi teacher. I am Iris.
I am writing letter to celebrate teacher's day.
I always think you are good teacher and I wish you to be healthy.
by Iris"

First let me start by saying I love how she puts "I am Iris." This makes me giggle uncontrollably. I also love that she wishes me to be healthy. That is SUCH an Asian thing to say. It's delightful, really. But the clincher for me is the "Congraturation" at the end. It makes me think of the "rah rah rah rah rah rah rah rah rah rah" at the end of A Christmas Story when they go for Chinese food and the staff sings "Deck The Halls." It is very common for Asians over here to confuse the "r" and "l." I have no idea why Chinese people do it but for Koreans, I surely do. One letter in their alphabet makes an "r" or "l" sound depending on the word. When my kids first saw the word "frog," about half of them said "flog." I had to spend an entire lesson making "r" and "l" sounds until they finally got the hang of it. At least they can say it right now. Or should I say light now? Heheheheh!

Here's my note from Peter who is one of my little misbehavers. He is such a cute little thing too. He'll run up and hug me and kiss my cheeks. But during class, he makes a lot of noise and distracts the other children. I'd punish him but he would only behave temporarily before returning to bad behavior. So the day before Teacher's Day, I'd sent a note home for his parents because I'd simply had it. His mother came in for a meeting (and I am happy to report he's been on his best behavior ever since) and brought a cheesecake as my gift, along with this note. It says:
"Dear Teacher
Thank you for Teacher.
I will become good boy.
From Peter"

I love the "Thank you for Teacher." I also love his promise to "become good boy." It's too cute. Let's hope he keeps behaving himself. Or that he keeps bribing me with fantastically delicious cheesecakes. That would work too.

This note from Ella is pretty ordinary. And sweet. Except she spelled my name wrong. She wrote "Janifer." Which I know she got from her mom. Her mom spelled my name like that before too. Sigh. Oh I can't blame them. When I write in Korean, I misspell everything.

Camille's note, "Always thank you for your teaching. I love you," is really sweet. I love how she drew me a heart in there too.

Little Matthew is the son of one of my coworkers. Her English name is Ann and she works upstairs in what they call the Western Office. I'm eternally grateful to them for helping to bridge the communication gaps between us all. Matthew made me forget the reason I hated his English name as that was my horrid ex's name. And when I used to hear it, I cringed. But now when I hear it, I think of this sweet and kind little boy. His mom was the one who gave me the lovely bag. Yay little Matthew! I love teaching you to read!

Let's wrap this up with Tony who has a mother who dresses him in the most absurd outfits. But man is this kid a doll! His note is just fine. It is very sweet with the "I love you Teacher," and the "Thank you for teaching me." It makes my heart happy. This part is sweet. The funny part is not Tony's fault at all, except for that he chose to put his note inside of this envelope:
Under "Bear's World," it says:
"very wonderfolly and more peasantly"

I imagine it was written by that pretentious twat, Gwyneth Paltrow. She needs to go play with an enema.

I will always treasure the cards I receive from all my students. But the greatest treasure of all is really in teaching them. Honestly, teaching a child to read, in my opinion, is one of the most heartening experiences ever. To watch their little faces light up when they realize they're reading is absolutely amazing. It's nice to repay their kindness in gifts with one of my own. A gift they can use for a lifetime. The gift of reading.

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