Welcome to my home

Welcome to my home

Friday, November 7, 2008

Trick or Treat Obamarama

It is no secret that Halloween is possibly my favorite holiday, and having been absent from the consumer driven markets and media of America for some time now, it sneaked up on me quite quietly. In fact, it was not until a few days before the actual holiday that I realized that it was almost Halloween. However, when I finally awoke from my stupor of celebratory neglect, I decided that this would be an excellent opportunity for my students in Armenia to learn a little bit about American culture.

The federal government here has banned any discussion (or mention) of Halloween within the confines of any school. According to them, Halloween is a holiday invented by the Americans as a day that pays tribute to the worship of Satan. I will not address the numerous points upon which this statement is incorrect. If I were to do so, my peace of mind would be permanently dislodged from its state of peace. So, instead of trying to take on an unfounded ideology within the confines of its limitations, I chose a different route. Unfortunately for the powers that be that design curriculum, their jurisdiction falls well short of my path. I am not paid. While this does provide many undesirable obstacles in everyday life, in this instance, it is a blessing. Because I am not paid, they have no power over what I do, so long as it does not interfere with the learning that goes on within the confines of school. Now, as many of you know, I have an English club once a week, outside of school hours. This club is my opportunity to work with children without fear of any interference. So, being the “Satan lover” that many officials would want you to believe that I am, naturally, this jumped out at me as the perfect time to talk about Halloween.

In my English clubs, we did horrific things like talk about trick-or-treating, and read a story about two little pumpkins who had trouble deciding on a costume (yeah, I penned that one myself…hello Caldecott award). It was terrible. But that’s not even the worst part. After club, I sent the kids home so that they could eat dinner and tell their parents about what a crazy American I am. And then, we reconvened in order to carve, get this, Jack-o-lanterns. It’s official, I am the most immoral person in the world because I have taught children about a holiday that involves carving crazy faces into oversized squash. What’s even worse is, I’m pretty sure that the children all had fun. OH NO!!!!!! Trick-or-treat.

Now for a housing update.

I’ve spent the past few days in contract negotiation for my apartment. These things have proved a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. Fortunately, I’m able to follow most of what goes on during the discussion. Currently, we are trying to work out the water situation. I’ll spell it out for you in brief. Right now, a water situation doesn’t exist. I want that to change (a.k.a. I want to not have to haul water from the well to my apartment on the 3rd floor, bucket by bucket). Negotiations on this subject seemed to be productive, but only time will tell if they work out. If any of you have ever moved in your life, you know how stressful and trying these things can be. Now picture that same situation in a language and culture you barely understand. But, as afore mentioned, things seem to be working so far. But, I’ll only be comfortable after the contract has been signed, changes enacted, and residence acquired. I was able to talk to the neighbors in the new apartment building, and they are really excited to donate furniture. This is awesome, because right now, the furniture in the apartment has an enumerative value of precisely zero. (Please note that this also includes any type of counter surface for food preparation.) I’m hopeful.

My host family has been remarkable throughout this whole experience. I had been dreading the day of conversation on this topic. But, eventually, I just bit the stick and decided to have the talk with them. They were visibly disappointed that I have decided to move, but I am convinced that it will be best for both parties if I am no longer in their way within the confines of the home. However, they have repeatedly told me that they expect me to come over and hang out, if for nothing else other than to talk with people. For this I am incredibly grateful. I think that things are going to work out.

In other news, the asinine president campaigns have come to an end, and we have a brand new president elect. I would say that that’s good, but unfortunately I have a sneaky suspicion that regardless of who was elected (McCain, Obama, Joe the plumber, you name it), their presidential tenure is doomed by the state in which they receive it. Unfortunately, the severity of the problems that face our country are too severe to change over night, and possibly even within four years, and Americans have a tendency to need an immediate response because our attention spans are so brief. Does anyone actually still play with Tickle Me Elmo or the Cabbage Patch Kids?

The reaction here to the election is fairly positive. The majority of the population seems to support Obama. The thing that gets me, is that now anytime they see a black politician or news reporter on television, they insist that the individual is related to Obama…

My reaction? The people called for change, and voted for change. But, unfortunately the stray dogs that roam the streets are still homeless. They are still kicked. They are still hungry. They are still cold and dying in the winters. And, odds are, that after Obama’s presidential tenure expires, they will still have the same problems.


Dan said...

My only question (aside from my dismay that you corrupted innocent children with your satan-loving ways) is whether the story that you wrote was in English or Armenian? Since it was an English club, did you write it in English and hope they got it, or are you skillful enough that you wrote a viable children's story in Armenian?

Ashley said...

As a follow-up to Dan's comment, did you include illustrations? Or would that lead to further horrifying images of disfigured squash? If you have the ability, please watch the 30 Rock episode from last Thursday. Some of the funniest sh*t I have seen. It only took me until the third season, but I am now obsessed with that show. In addition, I think I almost cried after Iowa beat Penn State yesterday. I am curious to hear about how the move goes-when is the official date? Miss you. And I just tried to call you, but some error message came on. Technology still hates me.

Dad said...

It's official, you are a cult leader,... great going Scott!. Washington Irving had nothing on you. It's too bad you didn't have them go door to door with little bags begging for candy (or dog-on-a-stick, or pot roast, or squid) just to see what the parents, much less the thought police, would have said. If you need a costume, we can send you Rex Grossman's uniform with the Bears, he certainly isn't doing it any justice, since they lost a pitiful performance today 21-14 to the Titan's. Send me the name AND phone number in the States of the people you want me to mail stuff to to carry back for you, plus the dates they will be here.

Talk to you later. Dad

Alli said...

Have to say, I'm jealous that you managed to find pumpkins enough for your English club to carve, and I couldn't find one measly pumpkin of carvable size here in Russia. Must be nice to live so far south.

Hope you're holding your own against those demon dogs you mentioned.

I, like Ashley, am looking forward to hearing more about the upcoming move. You'll have to keep us updated.

Life in Piter is going well. I've recently taken to distracting myself from refining my knowledge of Russian by studying Georgian, which is a whole other ballgame. I used to think Russian words and phrases like "Etot vzglyad" (5 consonants in a row) or "volkhv" (who would ever think to put l-kh-v together?) were unpronounceable, but then I got used to them. But Georgian has all kinds of fancy new consonant combinations to play with - including some sounds that I'm sure I've only ever made by accident while sneezing. Despite my lack of textbook or teacher, I'm hoping to learn a few phrases to impress the locals before heading to Georgia in December. How's your Armenian coming along?

mom said...

Elmo is still the #1 seller for Christmas x0,mom