May 3, 2011

Time to dust off the flip-flops

I spent the whole day in flip-flops. Not on purpose, and certainly not for the health of my feet; but because I like them. My toes are free to wiggle and wander as I walk through the grocery store and sit at my computer, day-dreaming about foreign places.

I began the day reading Amelia Bedelia with my Lincoln Literacy Council student. Through Amelia Bedelia's literal translations, my very advanced student has discovered a window to English idioms. During our lesson, I enjoyed practicing the pronunciation difference between "had" and "head"; and "salary" and "celery".

I put my flip-flops back on as I left her apartment. At the grocery store, I explained the concept of jasmine rice to the cashier. Hoisting into my cart the heavy sack of rice with the Vietnamese words gave me intense satisfaction--as if I had just proven my international-ness.

I kept my flip-flops on as I clicked through ESL videos on You Tube. My current mission to master the IPA has yielded a strong understanding of English vowel sounds thanks to a series of videos from Jennifer ESL on You Tube. I grow impatient with the recorded lectures of university professors, but I benefit from watching videos intended for ESL students. I think I've chosen the right career for now.

Finally, I found myself wandering around the internet searching for scholarships, fellowships and paying jobs in places where flip-flops are the acceptable footwear (i.e. Laos, Brunei, Mongolia?). When will my obsession end? Have I forgotten that living abroad can be really, really hard? What about sleeping in super hot rooms? Weekly bouts of diarrhea? Seriously. At some point, the reality has to sink in, or I have to get tough. One of those two things must happen or I will be committed to a mental institution.

Yes, I enjoy ESL and all things language and culture. Yes, I'm beginning an MA TESL this fall. One day I want to be a fabulous ESL teacher somewhere that really needs me. I'll pack flip-flops wherever it is.