Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Island TidBits

Well, when I first started my blog, it was supposed to be about all of the adventures we are having while living here. I didn't realize it was going to turn into "Look how cute my baby is!" Blog. Yeah...well...she is pretty cute...but that's beside the point! But the more I think about it...that IS the point! Living down here has been rough, and fun, and crappy, and exciting, and frustrating, and relaxing, and everything all rolled into a big ball of St. Maarten. I figure that my posts are becoming less about the island because I'm getting more and more used it....and the blog is getting more and more about Ella because she surprises me every day with new adventures! Haha! :) Hers are just as frustrating sometimes, but are much more rewarding in the end....we hope! Ha! Just kidding.

So here are a few little island stories to help me remember them in years gone by...and so my faithful readers can get a little kick out of it.

The Ox Is In The Mire...Well...He's Just Going to Have to Stay There...

A few Sundays ago, we decided to have a new student/member, Rick, over for dinner. He is by himself, so I figured he is probably getting sick of frozen food and the restaurants near campus. So I invited him over for sushi and chicken. We told him we would pick him up at 5:00.

Dinner was aaalllll nice and ready about 4:50 (perfect timing) and I told Tom to go get Rick. I started putting all the rice in a bowl, and setting the food on the table: yakitori chicken, sushi rice, sliced crab, mango, cucumber, and avocado for sushi, and some juice to drink. I go into the pantry to pull out my seaweed wrappers and open the package....there is only one left. Ohmygoodness....I could've SWORN I had a full package...but apparently not. So when Tom and Rick walked in the door, I said, "I have to go to the store!" And ran to the car!

Well, the island kind of shuts down on a Sunday...and especially a Sunday afternoon. So I go to the Food Express...nothing. I go to Gourmet Marche...closed. The I proceeded to go into every single scary little "market" store in all of Simpson Bay! Yes...every one....even that scary one on the corner next to that Robbie Lottery place just before you turn to go to Cole Bay. Yeah...even the PeiKing Market didn't have any seaweed wrappers! I asked the clerk at every store and every single one gave me the blankest stare. So I just went to look myself. Nothing. Oh, every clerk was Asian, too! Mmmhmm....the scariest store was definitely the PeiKing Market. I don't think I'll be going back! Ha!

So I had to return to home empty handed and thoroughly embarrassed that I didn't have the MAIN thing for sushi! *sigh* We tried wrapping the sushi with plastic wrap and then peeling the wrap off...it didn't really work....Note to self: Be Prepared.

Seminary...Is It Really a Class if No One is Learning?

As many of you know, I am the current seminary teacher for our little Branch. I did it all last year, too, so I was feeling very prepared and excited to start Book of Mormon. No one showed up. Well, Junior showed up, and Elizabeth (the young adult institute teacher, because none of HER students showed up either!). Turns out one of my students, Franz, is going to a different church because his girlfriend is going there....mmmhmm....he was one who stopped coming to my lessons after the little "chastity" talk! Sooo yeah. I'm not sure where the other students were, though? Oh well...we'll send the missionaries after them.

Anyway, we started the lesson with "What IS the Book of Mormon" and "How is it different/similar to the Bible". Junior has never read the Book of Mormon...and the only person he could name me was "Mormon". Yeah...it's going to be a long semester. We actually spent a good deal of the lesson trying to explain that the Book of Mormon is what makes our church a little different....mmmhmm...

Piano Students...How Much Am I Getting Paid For This???

I teach piano lessons two days a week down in Philipsburg, and one lesson in my home. On Mondays I teach from 3:15-6:30 and on Fridays it is 3:30-5:30. Each parent pays $65 for a 45 minute lesson, split between two children. That may sound like a lot...but it is $65 for the ENTIRE MONTH. I tried to do the math, and I think I get paid about $7 an hour. That is somewhat depressing. Back home I charged $40 an hour...per lesson....per kid. I never did group lessons and they had to practice, or I would drop them. Things are a little different here. The parents don't care if the kid doesn't practice. I've had one mother tell me that her daughter doesn't have time to practice. I told her it was a waste of time to teach her then if she isn't going to practice. She said the last piano teacher didn't tell her that, so maybe it was me. *sigh* wow.

I also have a couple of brother/sister teams. They gang up on me and make fun of 1. How fast I talk. 2. That I am from California. 3. That I've lived in the snow (some students have a hard time believing me about that...) and 4. I have red hair. I have one student who is constantly petting my head. Bizarre...

All in all, the lessons are feeling like a success. They are slowly progressing and the ones who practice are actually getting better (imagine that!). They do say the funniest things to me, though, example:

Me: Okay, Kishon (a boy), you have to play middle C first, for two beats. Do you see that? That is a half note.
Kishon: No, it's not.
Me: Yes, it is. A half note is an empty note with a stem. Remember? We talked about this...
Kishon: How do I know you're telling me the truth?
Me: What???
Kishon: You could be lying to me.
Me: Why would I lie to you?? I'm supposed to be teaching you!
Kishon: Maybe....we'll see....

Ha! It was very funny :) If he makes a mistake he always stops and goes, "Okay wait...wait.....wait......*thinking* Okay....wait....." Ha! It is very funny :) Example 2:

Jhuwon: I practiced a lot this week!
Khrystal (his sister: No you didn't!
Jhuwon: Yes, I did! Khrystal, Shut up!
Me: Jhuwon, did you really practice?
Jhuwon: YES!
Me: Are you lying to me?
Jhuwon: Yes...I mean...no...I mean...okay....I was GOING to practice....
Me: Okay, Jhuwon, thinking about practicing and actually practicing are two different things you know...
Jhuwon: Not always.
Me: *confused* I guess if you're practicing thinking?
Jhuwon: Exactly. You talk too fast.

The lady I teach piano lessons for is super fabulous, though. Her name is Bernadine Van Veen and her husband, Herad, is about a million years old! I can't tell how old she is, though...but she's kind of old, too. She is a sweet little black lady from Holland, and her husband is as white as they come. They are very sweet together. She picks me fruit from her trees and shows them to me. They are very strange fruits. She tells me how to prepare them and even cooked me up a breadfruit once! The most recent fruit was a "sugar apple" Not very good. She also gave me something called a "Sweet Tomato", I think? It looks like a grape tomato, but it grows on a tree and has a REALLY sweet flavor. Very strange! Haha! She was also the one who recommended me to the crazy fruit lady on the side of the road, who definitely has the BEST prices on plantains, avocados, and mangos! She is crazy though! Haha! :) I'll try and snap a picture of her...

Anyway, that is about all for now. So many interesting things happening on the island that I just don't even really notice them anymore! :)


Alicia and Roger said...

I need to be better about documenting the island too! You have a lot of patience with those piano lessons... and seminary! I was cracking up at your conversation stories!

Dan and Barbara said...

Thanks for the comment on my last post. I don't think i will be seeing you in December though..hehe I am heading to brazil on November 30th with Kyle and we won't be back till January 6th. I thought you guys were going to chicago in December. We don't know when we are going to see you next. :( Maybe for Kyle's birthday in February you can come up with your parents?! I like this post about the island but i also love Ella's pictures! SO cute!!

{cody.amber.chandler} said...

Haha! I'm actually a little sad that you're leaving the Island so soon, I love hearing the stories of all the crazy people out there!! I know it probably feels like you've been there forever, but it feels like you just left! We REALLY need to get together when you get back! Where are you going to be for Christmas? Have you figured out where you guys will live?