20 March 2009

English Village consumes yet another day of my life

Alternative title: My first step toward becoming a Taiwanese soap opera star.

The Backstory
I don't know if you all remember, but there's this thing called English Village that is a big part of my job here in Kaohsiung. Two days a week, every week, I go to an elementary school other than my own Fu Xing (last semester it was Fu Dong, this semester it is Tai-Ping) and work the English Village. What does this mean? For over two hours I act as a "waitress" and repeat the same dialogue/activity eight times with a different group of fifth graders from Kaohsiung. Every ten minutes it's a new group that I've never seen before and will never see again. The amount of times I've said "menu" and "restaurant" since September is probably in the quadruple-digit-range, and I'm not at all exaggerating. I won't say it's not mindless, and sometimes my least favorite part of working here, but I acknowledge that it's a good experience for all of the fifth graders in Kaohsiung to get a chance to practice English and learn that speaking to foreigners isn't that scary.

Anyway, many schools throughout Kaohsiung also have their own English Village (though it's not yet part of the field trip circuit like Fu Dong and Tai-Ping). Fu Xing is lucky enough to have its own English Village convenience store and post office. Working at Fu Xing's English Village is far less painful, as I know many of the students and I don't have to do the same restaurant/menu/"I want blahblahblah" routine.

How this relates to my eventual fame and fortune
So someone, somewhere (read: probably the Kaohsiung Bureau of Education) decided to document the success of Kaohsiung's English Village program by making a film at each English Village, large and small. No one really knew what to do, though, so it has turned into a "let's show off our school and its best English students" video. Whatever. All I know is, I spent four hours this morning with a handful of our best fifth and sixth grade English students and a guy with a camera in all of our faces. Not something I expected to be doing this year, but as I've learned this year, when working in Taiwan, one must expect the unexpected.

I tried to minimize my actual on-camera time by giving the big parts to students, but I still did my part. Most of the day I just spent taking pictures and shaking my head in amusement and disbelief at the strange things that have happened since moving to Taiwan. Oh, culture!

The pictures you will all skip to instead of reading the above text
The pivotal Convenience Store scene:

The principal gets involved:

The recorder ensemble is featured, of course (sorry for the bad angle):

Fu Xing Decor?
And some weird World Games art created out of recyclable material. I'm unsure whether these were made for the video or whether kids putting up these art projects the day before the filming was unrelated.

A robot with all of the World Games sports on it:

The World Games mascots atop some empty bottles:

This one was actually pretty, made of cardboard and old CDs:

And this one wouldn't be nearly as creepy if it weren't wearing a sweater:

And that was how I spent my Friday. What did YOU do?

1 comment:

Shava said...

Hi! I just caught up on your blog--I've missed the last 2 posts! Good luck with your future career in Taiwanese soaps...