Funny stories, and an indefinitely sad one…

It has been a stressfull week at school, don’t know why. Had some great laughs tho over the week, along with tons of corrections and lots of work doing the books for our company.

With my two classes of fourth graders (16 year olds) I’m reading the history of the conspiracy of Catilina (63 BC) in Latin, and also this very famous speech by Cicero, in which he gets really furious and all worked up in the senate. I always try to make it as real as possible, with a booming voice, a face contorted in anger, and so on. Two of the guys were getting on my nerves, and I punished them by making them learn by heart the first 10 lines of the speech, to be delivered next day, with intonation and expression. They both did it, but… As one of them came up to the front, I made him stand behind my desk. One of the other students remarked: ‘Hey, Jef, with your red jacket, your skating trousers, your hat on, behind that desk, you look like an MC’. A sparkle appeared in the guy’s eye, and yes… It’s the first time ever that I heard that speech being delivered in a rap style, with human beatbox noises and lots of ‘yo’s and ‘man’s and all the appropriate moves. God I laughed myself to tears ! It was so silly and yet great.

Game on Thursday night was swell too. We didn’t do that much, but big fun was had by all. I think Lovecraft lies spinning in the grave :-p

Finally Faust has gone to the bank to see what he could afford as a loan. He’s planning on finally buying a small house of his own. He can’t afford much, but it should be feasible. Yesterday we started looking thru the papers and the sites for sth interesting, but they’re all a bit far off the station. Since he doesn’t have a car and works at impossible hours, it should be within walking distance. He’s a train chef, btw. Heh, we got bored after a few hours yesterday, and started a decent tickling fight ! Always good fun, hehe.

On Monday me and Faust had a date too: going into town, to the sales, to find a black overcoat for him and some stuff for me. In and out of every store, only to discover they had no coats, or not the right colour, or not the right size. With every store Faust grew a bit grumpier, was so funny ! I got myself some pyamas (was so cold the last couple of weeks when it was freezing outside that much) and we both bought a minimalistic glass wallclock. Bought a real nice pair of black pants too, don’t look too fat in them (heh, my weight you just can’t hide, but I can make it look less bad), and some books. When I came home, I found out they had forgotten one of those safety clips on the pijjies, and the clock had some major scratches on them. Grrr ! Headed back to those shops the next morning to turn in the clock and get another one and get the clip removed. Found two more pyamas, a very cool gray little sleevless vest (Bart sez I look hip :-p), a black pullover, a gray fleece for Bart. Alas, no black coat.

On a much sadder note: the Latin teacher whom I substituted for in September 2001, a 42-year old mom of three, of which the oldest one died at 15 from an aneurysm, is to be buried today. Her youngest son is one of my first-graders. It was brain cancer, and I’ve seen her deteriorate. God, it was awful, and so hard on her two boys: 14 and 12 (and her husband of course).
Jason took it pretty well, I think. It’s not like it was unexpected: she came to the Christmas breakfast in december, and she could hardly speak by then, was in a wheelchair, couldn’t eat by herself… And yet she had the courage to come.
When in September I saw Jason was in my class and I had him apart for a moment, I asked him how his mom was. He looked me in the eyes very openly, and said: ‘Terminal, miss’. My heart ached.
And later on, he once came to me after class and said, in a soft but very clear voice, very simply: ‘You know, miss, Frederik would have turned 16 today’, and he smiled this sad smile. It affected me more than he could ever imagine. He’s such a sweet smart kid, and yet he has to go thru all this. First his bro, now his mom.
Last week he came up to me and apologised for being a bit absent-minded in class: she had been admitted to hospital. And on Wednesday, he came to me: ‘Sorry miss, I didn’t study my vocabulary. Mom died on Monday’. Poor kid. As if I did expect him to study while he lost his mom. I so felt like hugging him, and it felt so out of place there and then, in that corridor, with the students passing by.

There is nothing much I can do. I’ll attend the funeral. And I’ll try to be there for him when he needs someone. I just hope he has better persons to turn to than his crazy Latin teacher, but in any case, I’ll be there.

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