Tuesday, July 26

a day for the books

Although this teaching thing has been far from easy, I have never, in the little over a month that I've been here, had a day like this. In first period, my fifth grade class, a girl projectile vomited in the middle of the vocabulary lesson for the day. I'm actually surprised something like this hasn't happened sooner. Of course this caused an eruption of noise and "ewwws" and after several minutes of this, the class was back on task.

Then, after lunch, I went to my first grade class. I don't know what these nuggets ate for lunch but they were out of control. I started politely and calmly, "Please open your books to page blah-blah-blah." No response. Absolute mayhem. Screaming. Running around. So I raised my voice a little, "Okay... PLEASE be quiet! Open your books and repeat after me." Not even the slightest sign of them paying attention. At this point, I'm getting a little frustrated so I yell, "STOP TALKINGGGGGG!!!!!!" AND STILL NOTHING. The room is in absolute chaos. You'd think it was recess. This went one for about 20 minutes, with me yelling and them not giving me the time of day. Finally, although I almost bursted out in tears and stomped away (almost, key word), I went and got a sister to help me. Of course they immediately listened and quieted down.
I think it's hard because I try to be there friend, playing with them, chatting with them outside of class... and then they get confused in the classroom when I try to be professional and stern. I guess it's just another lesson I'm going to have to learn: the happy medium between friend and superior. But wow, this day, and it's only 2:24 p.m., has been challenging.

And to all of my teacher friends, I commend you; you are truly amazing.

On another note, I have spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen the past few days. As I've mentioned before, the cook, Bakkiam, has become one of my besties here at the orphanage. Although she speaks only a few words of English, between a mix of charades, sign language and running around pointing at things, we seem to be able to communicate (plus I'm learning more words in Telagu and she's learning more in English). If I understood her correctly the other day, she's been feeling a little overwhelmed and overworked in the kitchen lately (which is completely understandable, cooking for 10 people 3-4 meals per day) and after having my "where else can I be helpful" chat with Lilly, we both decided the kitchen would be a good place to start.

So on Sunday, Bakkiam taught me how to make vegetable cutlets, aka veggie burgers. I tried my first one on Saturday and was immediately smitten and needed to know how to create these tasty treats for myself. It was quite the labor intensive process, but they came out fantastic. The ingredients include: banana flower, onion, garlic, chilis, parsley, green grain (which seems quinoa-esque to me), potato, salt and pepper.
veggie burgers
Although I'm not sure where I'll find a banana flower (first photo in the series above) back in the U.S., I'm most definitely going to try to recreate an American version of these.

Finished product: Indian veggie burger.

Yesterday, Sister Lilly informed me of some pizza crusts she had brought from her last trip to the big city. So Berna (one of the junior sisters, possibly my favorite) and I began the chopping process again, except this time it was tomatoes, green pepper, onion, garlic and parsley in order to make a "sauce" and then assembled the pizzas and cooked them for dinner. It was a fantastic reminder of home and a wonderful change from the constant curry and rice.
The oven, however, was not the best and some of the crusts' got a little too crispy. Still delicious, though. 

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