Posted by: Richard Marshall | November 9, 2009

Halloween at ila and other ghastly experiences…

It’s Monday afternoon and I’m back in the office after another exhausting weekend at ila. I’ve planned my lessons for this evening and simply can’t bear to turn my attention to next weekend’s lessons as I probably should be doing, so instead I’ll update this blog with has been rather neglected of late. Teaching seems to be going fine – some days go better than others, of course, but I’m more or less beginning to find it easier, sometimes even enjoy myself, and in my most optimistic moods even come close to believing that I might actually have taught someone something useful or valuable.  But let’s not get too carried away…

The normal routine of ila life, such as it is, was disrupted last week by halloween festivities.The older students were required to design on paper and then execute a carved pumpkin. Eighteen students around an A3 piece of paper was a pretty worthless exercise, but somehow one of my classes produced a good enough design to be rewarded with an actual pumpkin, which lurked in my class until my poor teaching assistant took the thing home an hacked a few bits off the outside. The great attraction of the weekend, though, was the haunted house – two classrooms filled with creepy stuffed monsters and wierd halloween skeletons etc. The lights were turned out and halloween noises blared from a CD player. Into this room my junior and senior classes were pushed howling and screaming, while more sweaty hands than I thought possible fastened themselves to my arms, trousers, shirt and tie. And just in case our own thousand children weren’t able to generate enough hysteria, kids from another branch came to visit, so the place was an absolute shambles. The juniors also had a costume competition, and I also made what I thought was a rather lame effort but which proved to be absloutely terrifying to the kids:

Juniors 3A

Juniors 3A

Juniors 3B

Juniors 3B

Seniors 2

Seniors 2

Seniors 3

I have two other classes during the week, an older teenager class and some adults. My adults are mostly a young lot and so that they could have the opportunity to speak some English in a social setting they arranged a party for the class which took place last night. We went to a seafood place which was in fact very nice. I’m becoming more and more reconciled to eating prawns with the shells still on. In fact the shell isn’t bad when crisped up on a braai. Snails and other wierd moluscs also hold fewer terrors for me – I’m actually starting to rather enjoy them them. The Vietnamese are fond of down-downs, but fortunately they put large blocks of ice in beer so there’s never much in a glass. (Yes, that’s right, ice in beer – gasp, Southern Africa. But in this climate it’s really pleasant, keeps you sober longer and makes hang-overs much less brutal). We then all set off for Nnice Karaoke, where to my horror I found myself singing “Hey Jude” in front of my class. They all absolutely love karaoke of course and sang endless cheesy Vietnamese songs and a few cheesy English ones (“I Can Show You the World”). The whole thing was just so bizarre – and of course I ended up really enjoying myself!


  1. Hehe! sounds fabulous! can’t see what that is on your face though… blood? or a handlebar moustache? Both quite scary i guess! how do you spell moustache… mustache… weird word!
    lots of love!!xoxo

  2. Hahahaha! I love this!! The little ones are adorable!

  3. frankly, i’m so glad that the pumpkin design of our S3 students was not good enough to get a real pumpkin. also thanks to whoever i have to be thankful that Halloween only happens once per year.

  4. Dick

    Great blog young man but what the hell is that on your face? Granny will be most impressed!!

    Ice in beer? Don’t they have fridges in Nam?

  5. By the way, that’s vampire teeth and blood on my face – not a handlebar moustache!!

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