Saturday, November 03, 2007

Em found this story in her e-mail. I laughed as I was reminded of it all and then felt like crying because I miss my Taiwan adventures desperately.

Yesterday morning (April 28, 2006) it was raining, and I had recently thrown away my ginormous yellow poncho. It was big enough to fit over my backpack and still almost reach my toes. Well, last time I wore it I was in too big of a hurry to yank it off and I snagged it on my backpack and ripped it a little bit, plus it stunk, gross. I don't know why, I always let it hang out to dry. No big deal, I just need to run to the 7-11 and pick up another. I pedaled my little heart out on the way to school, thinking the faster that I rode, the less wet I would be. I managed to ride through a deep puddle, I started worrying less and less about how wet I was, there was no avoiding it.

I gingerly rounded the corner on to the narrow street that leads to my school, cars usually come out head on, and there's not a lot of room so you have to be wary. No cars yet, so I started warming up to full speed when the neighbor's rooster came bolting out into the road. He's a really pretty guy, bold yellows and oranges and deep greens. He's cool, I always look for him when I'm riding home, he just chills behind this building that we pass. I assume he's a pet, he seems domesticated. A lot of the people here have chickens and roosters for pets. So he comes bolting out, I put my foot down to stop, and right behind the rooster trots this filthy, stubby-legged, squatty, extended-bellied, homeless-looking dog.

The rooster is jumping and running and flapping his wings, and the dog reaches out and grabs the rooster under his stretched out left wing. The dog starts to shake him as the rooster screams and flails. I'm at a loss. Do I kick the dog? Do I try to pull them apart? Do I shout? Is this dog starving to death, is it fair for me to deny him this? Do I go tell someone that their rooster is seconds from being torn apart? Basically I sit and debate, terrified that I'm going to watch our beloved rooster be eaten.

Luckily the rooster managed to crane his neck just right so that he could nip the dog, the dog released, and the rooster sprinted back behind the building. The dog made an attempt to follow, but kind of held back. Well... I didn't want to be late for school, so I laughed nervously, shook my head, shrugged my shoulders, and took off for school. I related the scenario to the one in The Christmas Story when Farkus is beating up that boy, and Ralphy and his friends won't help because the bell rang.

I was worried about it though, I was worried that my inaction cost the rooster his life, that gross dog probably sauntered back and grabbed poor Mr. Rooster. I told my kids the entire story, acted it out, drew pictures, they laughed insanely. I asked them if they thought the rooster was okay, "No, he's dead," they reassured me. Sigh. Later, during word skills practice, I heard the rooster crow. My face lit up, and I yelled, "The rooster's okay! I heard him! Do you hear him? The rooster's alive!," then my kids started pounding their desks and chanting, "The rooster is alive! The rooster is alive!" Then Harrison pointed out that it could be another rooster that we could hear, and I got nervous again.

After class, when all of the teachers were punching out, I told the story again. Elizabeth tried to reassure me that the rooster was okay because, "Rooster's are really tough. I heard one time about cock fights, and they seem to be good fighters." It was hilarious because she whispered cock fights, like saying it was illegal, but in my head I was thinking, "Sure they can be tough, but he was up against a dog, a starving dog!" I hopped on my bike, and Andrea mounted her scooter, and I told her that I was going to go look for feathers, to which she repiled, "Feathers? Oh, is that the rooster's name?" What? No, that's not his name! I really was going to go see if there were feathers on the ground, not to collect them or anything ... how the heck would I know the rooster's name? Andrea laughed really hard when I pointed all of this out. We rode by, and the rooster was just chillin' in his regular spot. Good ol' fighty-back rooster.

Angel lost her tooth in class, these kids don't have an extensive library of English words, so she explained what happened through hand motions and sound effects. "I eh-eh-eh-eh-eh (she's wiggling her tooth), and then shoooooom (she makes a rainbow indicating her tooth flew out)." I felt bad because as I replay the dialogue that was going on while I was focusing on helping Kenneth write the word drench, I can remember Angel in the background saying, "My teeth fall out, my teeth fall out!" but I wasn't giving her any attention. So eventually I tuned in and realized what she was saying and we all had a good laugh. I grabbed the empy baggy that our snacks had been in, tossed her tooth in, and tied a knot. We had a discussion about when to use tooth and when to use teeth. Hope they retain it.

Breakthrough at the end of class: Kenneth puked in the garbage. You have no idea how excited I was, how excited our entire class was. Kenneth pukes a lot, he's puked three days this week. I had this hypothesis that he pukes after he's been crying, but yesterday he wasn't crying. He always pukes at the end of class, poor little bugger. He manages to puke all over himself, it's horrible, smelly, and super sad. I keep having these open discussions with my kids about puking, you don't have to come to Miss Amy to tell me you're about to puke, you don't have to raise your hand, you don't have to wait for permission to puke, save that precious time and run to the garbage, or the bathroom, whichever is the best option. As we're doing our closing duties yesterday, I watch as Kenneth saunters over to the garbage, holds his arms up and out, kind of forming the upper case M, and pukes hard core into the garbage. Harry yells, "Kenneth puke in the garbage! It's green!" Our entire class erupted, we were all so happy, he made it. His puke wasn't green, I don't know where Harry got that, but poor Kenneth, we were all telling him good job, way to go buddy, we were literally celebrating that he puked. I made a huge deal about it, I wanted to reinforce the behavior. I asked him if he felt better and he just shrugged his shoulders.

One of our most eventful days in KBRa.

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