Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Bribe Time

Playing a stupid, overly dramatic, emotional American girl is a lot easier if you ARE a stupid, overly dramatic, emotional American girl.

Friday morning was pretty exhausting for some reason, probably because I knew when I got up that my day wouldn’t actually end for another 19 hours. Regardless, this is my especially difficult day- four first grade classes in a row followed by a class of eighth graders that don’t seem to care much and a group of really challenging fifth graders. I had a very time-consuming lesson planned for the first grade classes, and was confident for the first time that I wouldn’t be filling time during the period, but wishing for more of it. It involved some cutting and pasting to create family vocabulary flashcards, and I thought I was a winner… until about 7:55 am when I found myself arguing with a six year old child. I was showing her exactly where in her book to cut, and she just kept repeating the word “NO” over and over again. Pretty soon I realized it is because she didn’t have scissors. No biggie, right… we’ll share. Well, that plan worked out until I realized that four of the thirty six children in the classroom had scissors. Do you have ANY idea how slowly thirty minutes can pass in a classroom packed with little bodies that understand about 23 English words at best?

On track for my next class (certain that I had seen these children with scissors) I arrive outside the classroom about two minutes early to find the classroom completely empty. Hmm, a little break, I suppose. This was perfectly okay until I got to my next class 45 minutes later, and guess what? They weren’t there either. This could have been about an hour at home that I instead spent lying on the floor in the teacher bathroom, but no big deal. I mean, why TELL the English teacher that you have a field trip on Friday?

I arrived home and packed quickly to head to Timi┼čoara, leaving my apartment and getting to the train station relatively early. I got on the train no problem, found my assigned seat, and settled in. About ten minutes later, a man walks up, pulls out his ticket, and… it looks exactly the same as mine, with one small difference. Mine said 02-NOV-2010, and his read 26-NOV-2010. Guess which one is correct? Having no idea why the ticket agent sold me a ticket for November 2nd AFTER that date, I took my stuff to the end of the car and just stood for a while. We started moving, and some very nice older men invited me to sit in the extra seat across from them. I waited nervously for a while, and asked a guy sitting next to me what I should do- he told me to get prepared to bribe the conductor along with my valid but useless ticket.

The older gentleman across the aisle from me reached for my ticket, and gave me a reassuring look. When the first conductor came, he just looked at the ticket and moved on, but I realized he hadn’t validated or punched it at all. So when the second conductor came I was a bit nervous as I handed him my ticket. He just stared at me for a while, my eyes swimming in tears, acting completely clueless (which wasn’t far from the truth). All of a sudden the man across the aisle stands up and just goes at this man, arguing like his life was dependent on it. The conductor punched my ticket and handed it back to me, and moved on. The man just smiled, patted me on the shoulder, and sat back down. Thanking him again and again, he just shrugged me off and fell asleep- or pretended to- about three minutes later. God bless the kindness of strangers, yeah?

1 comment:

  1. oh my word stephanie. seriously. thank God for kind people!! hang in there.