Friday, October 31, 2003

Pumpkin Guts
Happy Halloween (and if you're Andrew, Happy Birthday)!

Interestingly, this Halloween has some similarities with last year's, in that I was once again teaching a bunch of Asian students about why people started wearing costumes. I didn't have to go into the history of jack-o-lanterns, though, because Amy did that with them in their Reading/Writing class in the morning. The classroom was very festive when I came in today. I was told that one of the pumpkins was carved to look like Jack, the bright guy who always sleeps, because it had three wrinkles carved into its forehead. He then modeled the look for me. I was amused.

Actually, I taught them about costumes yesterday. I even dressed up. Don't you wish you were in my ESL class? I was a vision in purple velvet. To be more precise, and possibly less scary, I was dressed in a vintage outfit I bought a few summers ago at the antique mall when we were helping my Grandma Ritchie move her booth from one side of the mall to the other. One of the other booths had this purple outfit hanging there for something like $6, and my mom insisted I had to try it on, purple being my color. It's a skirt and fitted jacket with turned-back cuffs, and it fit well, so I bought it. The frightening thing is that it was listed as the size it was probably 30-40 years ago when someone made it, and as I recall, the tag said something like 10 or 12. I currently wear a size 4. This says something unfortunate to me about the trends in commercial sizing of women's clothing in the US. But that is beside the point. Back to my costume. By combining the purple velvet outfit with a pencil through my bun and an 18-inch ruler, I became... the scary schoolteacher! Or so said one of my students. That is, by the way, the last time I teach that class in high heels.

Today, though, I taught them about the Day of the Dead in Mexico and among Mexican-American households. We're starting a unit about Hispanics in the US, to answer their question of why so many people in the US want to learn Spanish. To be thematic, I wore my Costa Rican embroidered vest, but after yesterday's outfit, I'm not sure they noticed. I couldn't really compete with Amy's devil horns and tail, and certainly not with Alison's rainbow wig, rainbow shoes with electric pink knee socks, and witch's hat. Interestingly, the Japanese students describe O-Bon as being very similar to el día de los muertos. I think the students were more interested in the activity where I had them watch the "Night on Bald Mountain" part of Fantasia and then describe the story to work on past tense. I think I should use more videos. Less work for me.

Disappointingly, our apartment complex is lacking in trick-or-treaters, so all the costumes I saw on people were on the waiters at the restaurant we went to tonight. The hostess was a pirate, our waitress was a bag of leaves, and two of the bartenders we could see from our booth were Oompa-Loompas, a la Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That was kind of weird, because they were both female, and some guys at the bar started hitting on them, which just seemed... wrong.

Of course, if we get no trick-or-treaters, I get to eat all the candy. Mmmmmm...

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