Excursion Day     Faster than McD's                                                                                 The Blob,  Vol. 1, Issue 4, October 2006
Friday October 6th, 2006
Excursion Day
On the left is our assigned bus to and from the ferry.  I teach most of the students in these pictures and some of them I will remember for life.J On the right is a teacher taking attendance on the ferry.  We had nine grade nine sections with us and we divided up between
three different islands.
Yep, seagulls are a worldwide phenomenon.  Exiting the ferry was a lot of fun.  Vehicles are not permitted on the islands we visited so the water delivery company delivers with horses.  At the end is a picture of the horse stand.  There were at least 100 buggies parked together with two horses each all in a small area because it's the off season.
This whole excursion day represents a part of the reason I wanted to teach overseas.  We gave the students the freedom to do their assignments without baby supervision which is also a part of the reason I think that many people feel Europeans tend to mature at a younger age than North Americans, though I wouldn't necessarily say that about all of the students in our school because of the social class.  We really baby our students too much in North America with all of the fears of being sued by parents and what not.  I think they need to be enabled as leaders and adults capable of making decisions in their teens.  That being said, the hike I was supposed to do two weeks ago was cancelled the past two week-ends for fear of rain.  Apparently the parents will complain to the school if it rains or something like that.  My take on that situation is that someone in administration is too afraid to stand up to parents and other administration, but I'm just told it's a cultural thing in the school which needs to be fixed.  The kids loved playing football and ultimate in the rain at the beginning of our activity last week so whoever's making these decisions isn't thinking about the kids best interest.  I find it interesting that this hiking issue bothers me while other teachers in the school are bothered by the testing system
or the schedule or other such things.  When they complain about their stuff, I just think, that's the way it is and live with it.  When my hiking week-end gets cancelled two week-ends in a row, I get angry and they tell me to live with it.  We all have our own little things, eh?
Those students on the bike are the reason the bike fellow deserved to be in the top four on America's Greatest Inventor.  Good on Trek for hiring the boy.  The kids in Taiwan rode like that all of the time. 
Back home, I could end up in the bb for taking pictures at school but it's really just a natural part of life.  How did our system get so screwed up?  This whole day is a good example of why I never bought a camera before this year.  It's impossible to capture the peacefulness of an island without vehicles in a picture.  I also couldn't get a good angle on the horse stand.  I've never seen so many horses in such a small place anywhere. 
I'm liking the rapport I'm able to have with my students so far.  They seem more sociable than what I experienced in Canada and I think it's because their culture is not so individualistic.  They keep trying to butter me up because they think that if we're friends that they'll get higher grades.  While I would ideally say that won't happen, honestly, they may be correct in their thinking which I actually think is healthy.  I also can't say that I agree with the one standard grading thing, or with the importance of grades for that matter.  They represent such a small facet of human capability, though probably many of you reading would argue otherwise.
Wednesday was excursion day and today (Friday) we have off.  In two weeks we have a week off and I'm planning to hike the Lycian way with a Canadian couple.  It follows the coast and it's apparently one of the top ten trails in the world so I'm really excited to see it.  It's also apparently 500km long so I'll probably go back a few times.  Tomorrow I'm going to check out my first Turkish bath with a natural hotsprings (my favourite).  I'm also flying to Italy on a school project just before my week off to help with the Comenius project.  Some of the science students have been working with a school in Portugal and a school in Italy for the past two years on a water related project.  I've been asked to supervise the setting up of the website to display the students' projects.
Lots of fun!
I'm still hoping to get a motorbike in the spring.  I really miss my motorbike right now! L

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Sunday October 8th, 2006

Faster than McD's

Yes, there is a restaurant faster than McDonald's and it's in Turkey of all places.  We wanted to have iskender for supper so we decided to go to a restaurant with 'iskender' in the name.  We were seated at a table already set with hot bread, bottled water and a tomato salad.  Within two minutes we were served a soup reminiscent of the French Canadian pea soup.  Before I could finish my soup, we were served iskender, and all of this happened without us saying a word to the waiter.  Not only was this place super fast, they actually
have only one thing on the menu which is the restaurant's name.  I've never seen a restaurant like that anywhere before and Turkey is generally known for it's slower pace.  Just the day before, Alex spent 45min getting what would be a 10min haircut back home.  Iskender is Alexander in Turkish, and Alexander the Great is buried in Istanbul.  The meal iskender is meat on bread with yogurt.  Yogurt is so amazing.  It tastes so good here and it goes on everything - pasta, potatoes, cereal, bread, fruit and vegetables.  It's different from our yogurt back home, almost a cross between our yogurt and our sour cream.  I eat it at most of my meals now.  Their bread is super good and their cheese is amazing.
The top left is the bus stop in front of our school.  There are more or less fixed bus stops, but none of them have a sign.  People just seem to know where they are.  We know where our bus stop is by the dirt pile.  We'd like to convince one of the school groups to build a bench for it.
Top right is my pet spider who greets me in my bathroom every morning.  I found him immobile in the same spot for about three or four mornings this week so I thought he was dead, but low and behold, when I went to touch him he moved.  I didn't know that spiders lived for so long.  I'm wondering if he'll be survived by any sort of family.
The Turkish bath was a lot of fun.  I'll definitely be going back.  They had the hottest sauna I've ever been in.  The water wasn't as hot as the Taiwanese natural hotsprings, but one pool was hotter than Canadian hot tubs.  Everything was marble so water droplets would occasionally fall on us in the sauna.  There was a also a heated marble ledge where the guys were giving each other massages.  I could only lie on it when water was thrown on because it was pretty hot.  I'll see if I can't get pics next time.

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