September 19, 2008

My Biggest Fans

I’m more than halfway through my tour of the U.S. and things continue to go well - the odd lost bag and some confusion over one or two meeting places the only exceptions. But I’ve been a bit puzzled about how (or if) to write about my travels in this space because I’m not sure everyone is interested in the intimate details of my travel and because I’m not sure everyone I meet wants their pictures splashed across this blog.

But there is one day I definitely want to mention and that is my visit on Tuesday to a third-grade class at Pinewood Preparatory School in Summerville, South Carolina. Regular readers of this blog will know that these students last year were pen-pals with me and then started writing letters to my high-school English students. They also read this blog every Friday last year.

I was able to spend a full school day with them, my first day in third-grade since 1990 or so. I couldn’t believe how unrelenting it was to be a teacher (of sorts) in an elementary school classroom. There was just never a break, it seemed, except for recess and I had to play kickball then.

At the end of the day, all the third-grade classes gathered together and I spent about 45-minutes showing some pictures, primarily from Itipini but also a lot of shots of some of the animals I’ve seen. I even got to explain how ocean currents move counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere, which explains why there are penguins in South Africa because the water comes right up from Antarctica.

I also got to spend a day touring the Charleston area and have two observations. First, the ocean water was bathtub warm but still lovely to swim in. Second, I couldn’t believe people there could use expressions like “The War of Northern Aggression” without a hint of irony in their voice. Having finally overcome the culture shock of re-entering the U.S. from South Africa, I found myself dealing with culture shock of a whole other kind.

Our indoor picnic lunch.

Not every moment of class was this boring.

Some rapt third-graders.

Look at my blog - it's practically life-size! Imagine it being read off this screen every Friday.


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