Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Week in Weird Innocents Abroad

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is really a large matter- it’s the difference between a lighting bug and the lightning.”  -Mark Twain

It is truly a vainglorious pursuit to attempt cataloging all the bizarre and perplexing moments that happens to one during a life abroad. I’ve learned through trial and error it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.  From the Taiwanese cobra that raised its diamond caped neck at me during morning coffee this week to the ROTC students assailing target practice outside my mountain cottage classroom with assault weapons in the afternoon.  It’s not that neither of us would be the wiser for my sharing, I just don’t think you'd believe me.
Rags to Riches:  For Rebekah’s birthday sleepover, I set out walking at 9 p.m. in 
search of Maple Syrup after foolishly promising pancakes for six starving 2nd graders the following morning.  After walking two hours into three different department stores and navigating the labyrinth of Chinese aisle signs with only a Google Translated screen to offer bewildered box boys and head-scratching check-out clerks, I returned home empty handed.  On my way I stumbled upon a city temple with a gaggle of dancing and drunken men practicing a bizarre ritual of carriage hoisting and wild ceremonial stomping.  They appeared down a fellow and motioned for me to join, which I happily did.  Little did I know one was a honey salesman, and so we dined on the yellow nectar at sunrise and all my little darlings were supremely satisfied.
Menstruation mishaps continue to be in vogue at school.  Some well meaning soul in the nurse’s station has taught the invaluable phrase, “Might you have sanitary napkins?” to the student population in English.  Apparently, word on the street is that our all-male staff is able to conjure Maxipads out of thin air.  To proliferate this myth to legendary status, I’ve begun stockpiling a wide assortment of feminine products for a potential worst case scenario zombie apocalypse.  My pad of choice is the Western Zodiac brand.  I realize the improbability, but I can barely keep them in stock.
This is Candy.  She hasn’t listened to a word I’ve said for eight months.  
Until I showed her a picture of  “Candace” the sister on Phineas and Ferb.  Now she's all ears.  Doppelganger coincidence?  I think not.  
Jesus Unicorn Desk Sticker
I wasn’t kidding about the assault weapons.  Actually, our school has a little of everything.
Rock Stars… yes, we’re practicing Frozen’s Let It Go for our Midsummer Night’s Dream performance.
This is Louis, he is doubling as Lysander.  I’m giving him a second chance due only to his promise to continue wearing these glasses.
Upstairs Armada. 
Yes, this is the dreaded Japanese Turtle Monster.  He’s apparently real.
It could always be worse.  Yes, I subbed in this classroom last week and yes, I stubbornly insisted in NOT partaking of the absent teacher’s lesson plans on bird phylum.  Instead, we swatted mosquitoes with electronic tennis rackets and smiled satisfactorily at the sizzling obliteration of each.
Then this happened…a student etched a likeness of Woody Allen for me.  Graciously... accepted?
And to top it all off, while walking home, I stumbled upon this new campus companion. What a rare treat it was to put on my headphones and venture on with my old traveling buddy Mark Twain in his Innocents Abroad and remember, it’s not the sainted destination, it’s some holy hogwash about the unbelievable journey itself.  Knight on.  Oh Swift Traveler.  Knight on!

The Innocents Abroad is a travel book by Mark Twain published in 1869 chronically a voyage across Europe to the Holy Land with other fellow Americans on board the Quaker City.  It is hilarious and baffling and irreverent to the core, to say it succinctly, what a  marvelous and indulgent debacle.

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