Saturday, June 18, 2005


Karen says:
In other countries I always develop huge cravings for American fast food too. And no, the burgers never taste right abroad, not even a little.

On the other hand, you are living in the land of fresh sushi, so I have limited sympathy.

Well since you are so quick to limit your sympathy, I feel obliged to inform you that every Wednesday I have to sing songs by the Carpenters, Michael Row the Boat Ashore, The Bear Song (that old campfire song where the kids repeat everything after the lead singer "The other day/THE OTHER DAY, I saw a bear/I SAW A BEAR etc etc), and You Are My Sunshine. On Fridays I have to sing Stand By Me with the special education kids. During Christmas time, I am forced to lead everyone in a round of carols which include George Michael's "Last Christmas" and Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas". These songs are enormously popular here. So far, I've managed to escape John Denver, though I've been asked to listen to performances of Country Roads on recorders (that was a sweet but weepy day, as the damned song reminded me of home so much).

I am also repeatedly forced to humble myself by demonstrating various other "American" things. Singing Old Lang Syne at New Year's for my classes, showing the difference between what a "jump" is and a "leap" (they were learning sayings and proverbs in English, for example "Look before you leap"). careful when you limit your sympathy for me. There is so much more even that I don't mention. Humiliation is a weekly occurrence here, so give me my damned Burger King already.

Actually, all of that stuff is sort of fun, but still...humiliating at first, as if I'm an animal in the circus forced to leap through rings.

My favorite time with the kids is when we just hang out during afternoon break in the courtyard, on the picnic tables, sort of aimlessly chatting about nothing in particular. Or playing baseball at recess with the boys when I'm teaching at an elementary school. Or gossiping in the hallways between classes, arm wrestling challengers, running track after school or working with the English speech team after school, pulling weeds with Chiaki during cleaning time. She's hilarious. I now wear a bandana on my head like all of them (teachers included) during cleaning time. Chiaki told me I should wear one. It's tradition. So I bought an American flag print handkerchief, which they think looks tres cool. I've never been so patriotic in my life as I am since becoming an expatriate.


Blogger Matthew Cheney said...

I've been buying videos of all this on eBay so I can blackmail you on your return...

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, you get to sing The Carpenters and George Michael too? Your life rules!

About not liking sushi: I believe this to be some kind of taste malfunction; if you can get that fixed, life will be even more mariah-riffic.

2:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to have dreams where I would go into a taco bell and order a burrito supreme, then open the wrapper and I would wake up.

sometimes tears were actually in my eyes....

4:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mister America!


2:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home