So, yesterday, I found some inspiration, as I said before, in the oddest place. As I was walking home, I saw the cutest Australian terrier carrying a pine cone in his mouth. He seemed like the happiest dog in the world, content with his find of his precious pine cone. I saw him carry it for five blocks until we parted ways. I'm sure he brought it home with him. His happiness in something as simple as a pine cone was really an inspiration for me. Weird, I know.
Life has been pretty steady. I promise one of these days, I will write a blog about my awesome travel adventures. Maybe I will write it this weekend, but a brief summary will have to do for now (I have a lot of ramblings and my a date with my aforementioned, complicated relationship tonight). I spent my winter holidays (am I really becoming so European that I can't even use the word vacation?) traveling around Switzerland, Denmark, Wales and England and it was pretty epic. I loved getting to see family and reuniting with some old friends and seeing some beautiful places. I will leave you with a photo to hold you over until I write my travel blog. This photo is the view from my Aunt Maria's house. I got to watch the snow fall as I ate a wonderful Christmas dinner - making it this California girl's first White Christmas.
My next ramble will be about one of my 3rd level students. In a tradition I started in a class to protect students privacy, I will give my student a literary name, Randolph Miller. (Tim Hayes, the boy who edited my 431 papers, wrote a comment next to each name of which book I stole the name from. Someone, feel free to do the same here. Tim, if you are reading this, I know you just started grad school, so, I chose an easy one...) Anyway, Randolph is one of the biggest little troublemakers I have ever met and, oddly enough, my favorite student. This is the same kid who shot the other kid in the eye with the slingshot that I talked about before. I have so many stories about him, the only way I think I can talk about them is to put them in a numbered list:
1) The stomach punch episode. Shortly before Christmas, I walked into my third grade class and saw that Randolph had my darling Rosalind Connage (okay, not so darling... I do choose my names for a reason) backed up into a corner and he was pretty much beating her to death. I went to pull him off of her and he punched me in the stomach. Later in that day, he hit me with a spit ball.... He was deeply apologetic afterwards, but, damn, 8-year-olds can punch harder than people give them credit for. The next day, he stood outside my 6th level class repeatedly saying "Hola" until I would acknowledge him, which drove the main instructor absolutely crazy.
2) His fort building. He builds forts on his desk. Out of his textbooks. One time he even glued them together. I thought he was building them to hide from the main instructor and I. Turns out he was building them because he wanted to read fun books in class. (Okay, fine, this might be why little Randolph is my favorite student. I'm biased...)
3) His lack of work. Randolph doesn't work. Ever. I have seen him complete one exercise in the entire time I've been working at the school and that was on Monday.
4) He's a bully. But a cute one! I mentioned the incident he had with hitting someone in the eye with a slingshot and the incident with Rosalind. A kid in another class (a kid I do not know, but is in the Scottish teacher's 3rd level class) was being terribly beaten up by Randolph. This kid's parents called and complained to the school principal. She pulled Randolph out of class and brought him to the other kid's class, where one of my fellow auxiliaries (the girl who relayed this story to me) was working. Apparently the principal called the student being bullied up and had him stand next to my Randolph. She then proceeded to ask the class and the bullied kid who was bigger: the scrawny Randolph or the boy being bullied. When the class agreed that the bullied kid was indeed bigger than scrawny Randolph, the principal looked at the boy and said something along the lines of "Next time he punches you, you just punch him right back. Obviously, you can take him." So, ya, that's how Spanish schools deal with bullies. Punch them right back. Or find someone who will, I guess. My Randolph isn't afraid to punch anybody, but he is small and scrawny. I know a lot of children in 3rd level that could take him.
5) He runs away. Okay, I first need to say this. They lock all of the doors so we can't get out at lunchtime and close all the gates. I once asked about it. I was told that they didn't want the students outside coming in and they had to close the back entrance that the teachers use because they were afraid of students running away. Recently, I found out that last year, Randolph went away. I found this out because the teacher let him use the restroom in class and five minutes later she was like "Oh, no, I'm not supposed to let him go to the bathroom by himself." She then sent people to go check on him. Next time she left me alone with the class, he snuck out while I was facing the board, which sent her into another panic. He was just wandering the halls that time. He has managed to sneak out on a few occasions.
So, those are my stories about Randolph.
Those are my rambles for the day, but I promise that blogs about travel and decision making will be posted in the near future.
Also, since my mom and Andrew are sitting there wondering what the hell I'm doing with my life, thinking "No, I hope she's not talking about....(fill in the blank)," and possibly cringing about my "complicated important relationship," I shall reveal it. The relationship I am referring to is with reading for fun. It is also my most important relationship. And you might not realize that we were having problems, but in the Fall of 2012, I took five. FIVE. upper division literature classes (plus an upper division GE and Rhetoric, was trying to make an ill-fated romantic relationship work, running an honors society, teaching three sections of English 30, and (utterly failing at) being treasurer of a sorority) that hindered my love of reading for fun for a while. But I am slowly starting to regain my obsessive love of literature back and letting it slowly consume my life once again.