Today is our final day of posts from our Mongolia-based correspondents. Jeffrey Stasz (left, photo by Robert Shore) is without internet access this week so he sent his posts in early. We'll put them up throughout the day. Check back often. --sdh
Standing at the front of the class, chalk in hand I am explaining the present continuous tense to thirteen teenagers. The boy in the corner is clearly more interested in the long underwear that is peeking above the pant line of the girl sitting two rows across. She is unaware of her long underwear. However, even if she were, she would probably be too interested in the new cell phone of her desk partner to do anything about it. The older woman that walks into the class asks if I will put down my chalk and open the internet café for a little bit. That I am otherwise engaged is either lost on her, or irrelevant.
Both the chalk and I are shivering slightly. Today I put on: light weight thermal bottoms, heavy weight thermal bottoms, heavy weight thermal top, wool pants, button down shirt, wool sports coat, heavy winter over coat, scarf, hat, and gloves. I have removed the gloves to wield the chalk.
Discouraged, I try to see through the six inches of ice that have accumulated on the inner window. Discouraged, I try to see past the peeking boy and the glitter of the cell phone.
Discouraged, I try to remember what I said to the recruiter to let me voluntarily do this.
Discouraged, I think back to the decision to talk to the recruiter in the first place.
A question erupts from a giggle “So teacher…I am loving my boy friend… right?” The chalk mulls it over for a minute.
I’ll take it.