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Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Art of Wooing Women

Wednesday I went to see Othello with two of my 5th year classes. Before the play started, I heard one of my students whistle at a girl walking by to find her seats. This started a conversation/ discourse with the boys and a few Women about whether or not women like when men whistle at them.
Unanimous answer from all the women teachers and girls that we do not like when men whistle. One teacher even went so far as to say 'she is not a dog and therefore does not respond to a whistle.'
Conversation was light hearted but this does come to mind when I am walking around and get the attention of Italian men. Now I am from Philadelphia and as in every City men howl and cat call to try to get a womens attention. A more finer childhood memory is when my mother and I were walking and a man rolled down his window and precedding to bark and howl. 'Bark'?! I do not respond to "Yo, Lemme Holla!" or "Can I grab you" or kisses blown my way. Although this morning I did smile when I heard "Complementi alla tua mama". Maybe these whistling boys need to learn a thing or two. Complements to the women that made me sounds like a pretty great way to draw a smile out of any passing women.

~These are just the Musings of a woman abroad,
   Buon Traveling.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fall | Winter, Tradate, Italia

I do not like the cold but do love everything that comes with it. Hot soup that warms your tummy, autumn colors and I especially am fond of the autumn leaves crunching underneath my shoes. Finding the forested area in Tradate has really been a treat. Today after school, I went for a run and found myself exploring all the different trails. I came home to a large bowl of Vegetable soup and a piece of fresh Vocaccia from the local bakery. Headed to Florence tommorow after my classes. Im sure it will be a cultural experience full of Art, History, Food and Wine. 
Happy Traveling.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life of a TEFL Conversation Teacher | Cake Boss

So luckily my job in Italy is not to teach students the basics of English Grammar but to stimulate conversations in English. This is a difficult task because students only want to share their opinions when they are interested in the topic. If they are not interested you will hear Crickets. 

So I have been in Italy for a little over a month. I have done lessons to get to know the students, assess their english, spoken about Philadelphia and Colloquial English/Slang. These lessons were very interesting and did get the students involved but I was having trouble creating conversation and getting them to ask questions.

This past week I started a new lesson on Cake Boss or Il Boss Delle Torte, as renamed on Italian TV. The students were excited about this lesson and were speaking a ton in class when I initially introduced it. The structure of the lesson was like this:

Have the students tell me about the Show... (2m)
Watch a short clip (3m) - Lexy's Cake for her Birthday. California Beaches/New York cake falls and Buddy and team problem solve.

Discuss Clip: (5m)

Who was the client? 
What kind of cake did they want? Description, Flavor (Gusto)?
Who are the characters in this clip?

Speak to them about the scenerios. Explain a little. Then Ask questions about the types of vocabulary they might need.  (write these on the board) (10m)
What types of questions does Buddy need to ask to get a good idea of the cake he should make?
What details do the Clients need to give Buddy for the perfect cake?
Some flavors of cake?
Some types of Fruit?
Ingrediants to make a cake?
Break students up into groups and give out scenarios to different groups (2m)
Group Work (20m) 
Break students into groups of 4-5
Hand out Scenarios and explain them to the students. Give them a length to follow and let them know they can either write a paragraph or a dialogue but it should be at least 6-8 sentences long.
  • Buddy sits with you (new Client) while you explain the perfect birthday cake for your Sweet Sixteen. 
  • Maurizio and you are delivering a cake but he slips on a banana peel and the cake crashes to the ground. What do you do?
  • Buddy sits with difficult Client who is not sure about what kind of cake he whats.  What would you do to get a good idea of the Client’s perfect cake?
  • Your getting Married next week! You need to give Buddy a very clear idea of the perfect cake for your ________________ themed wedding!
  • A Client comes into the bakery to see their cake. You forgot to finish it! What do you do?
  • It is your Mother’s 50th Birthday. She loves animals and _______________. Describe the perfect cake for her to Buddy.
  • Your best friend is moving to Vegas, Nevada to persue his dream of being a Professional Poker Player. Describe the perfect cake for his going away party.
Presentations (20m) 
Leave at least 20 minutes are the end of class for presentations. For some of the groups you have to ask questions at the end or ask the other students what they would have done with the scenario. 
So I would call this my first successful lesson because I had most students engaged and speaking in English. They all described their scenarios and gave thought out solutions or described the perfect cake for their situation. After a few of the presentations, others students asked questions or gave feed back. I love this show and cake so perfect match. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

So your going Abroad?! | 10 Tips and Tricks

So you're going abroad, leaving the comfort of your country for adventure or perhaps a new job and adventure. Whether your moving for an extended period or going on a small vacation, preparation is important so that you do not forget your cell phone charger and so you bring enough socks (or underwear). I am truly experienced with this and I have some valuable tidbits of information you might need when planning your trip or getting ready to embark on a new adventure. I am proud to say that I have lived in Peru working for Karikuy Tourism Company, traveled in South America, Lived in Southern Africa and currently reside in the quaint small city of Tradate, Italy.

1. Safety: Register with your country so they know you are Abroad.
"U.S. embassies and consulates assist nearly 200,000 Americans each year who are victims of crime, accident, or illness, or whose family and friends need to contact them in an emergency. When an emergency happens, or if natural disaster, terrorism, or civil unrest strikes during your foreign travel, the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate can be your source of assistance and information. By registering your trip, you help the embassy or consulate locate you when you might need them the most."

I am american so I did register online with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This was super easy and Free! You can give them your current address and phone number while abroad. I log each new trip and add more information as I explore this awesome earth.

2. Your Health comes first: Health Insurance is a must! I am here in Italy and have emergency health care. I was able to do some research and it was much more economical to get the insurance in Italy than pay for the American insurance when abroad. You can also check with your American health care carrier because they might cover any doctors visits or emergencies while abroad. Doing a little research on this before leaving for your trip is a must! No one ever plans for an emergency. Additionally: make sure you have all your prescriptions. I was able to get a four month prescription for my medicine.
Bandages should ALWAYS be Hello Kitty

3. Plan on getting sick... So I got the flu my first weekend in Italy. LUCKILY I brought Advil, Tylenol Cold and Flu, Decongestant, Bandages, ect. Best piece of advice is to put bandages in your wallet. We all know how it feels to have your shoe rubbing against the back of your heel. During a long day touring a city that can really make the day a little less enjoyable. Grab you bandages and stick them on wherever you feel the discomfort. You can also use adhesive moleskin but bandages are a fix on the go! 

4. Thoughts on Paper... Books! You love reading the Bible?Teaching english abroad? or maybe lots of free time and free thoughts running around your head? I journal, read the bible and teach english so it was really important for me to bring my bible and a mini dictionary (when Word Reference via my smart phone is not available). I live in Italy currently so my journal has a page of useful phrases in italian. This mini blog is to follow because I've been collecting phrases when I realize I do not know how to say something simple like 'headache' or 'I just drank expresso'. I have also been reading via the Kindle App on my phone but I also picked up a fun novel to read in Italian.

5. Comfy Wear: The worse feeling abroad is when you want to get comfortable. I promise you, you will miss that pair of yoga pants and those colorful wool socks your bought in Peru so BRING THEM! My must haves are warm comfy socks to walk around the freezing marble floors and comfy sweaters and scarfs for those overly chilly days abroad.
6. You Techie You! So it is 2012 and I do not go anywhere without Technology. I have to admit I am a bit more attached than others but we all have cell phones and computers so remembering to bring your chargers is a must! Some people talk about the importance of making a list but that does not work for me. I lay everything out with labels. "Electronics" is one of those labels and I just put everything small that I need in a ZipLock bag: Computer, Smart Phone, Camera, iPod, and cables. 
7. Internet | Google Maps: When I bought my GalaxyS from T-Mobile I made sure I was able to unlock it after a certain amount of time with the company. This was really important because I now use my american phone with Vodafone in Italy and I pay 3Euro every week for internet. Google maps is your best friend when traveling to a new city and finding your way to your hostel or a famous landmark. Maps work too and I use them frequently.
8. 'It's all about the Benjamins': As Sean Combs, formally known as Puff Daddy then Puffy then P Diddy, eloquently said "It's all about the Benjamins", especially when you forgot to let your bank know that you were going abroad to South Africa and you try to use your card and it is denied. Ive already learnt this lesson the hard way. Make sure you go to the bank and call your credit cards and tell them the exact dates you will be away and in what countries. I know from experience they will block any charges from your card if you are suppose to be in Philadelphia and charges are coming from South Africa. Smart move in the off chance you do "Wanna be ballers? Shot-callers?". Okay., enough with the P. Diddy lyrics.
9.  When in Rome?: Do as the romans do. Do some research before your trip. Embarking on your trip will have as much to do with learning a new culture as to seeing world famous sights. Three points to this:
(a.) More times than not, the people in the country you are visiting are more modest than Americans. I am guilty of short shorts, tube tops and long flowing hair but in some countries I would be really offending natives or potentially breaking the law. In Italy, if you are wearing shoulder bearing shirts or open toed shoes you are not able to visit many landmarks.
(b.) Dressing accordingly will also make you less of a target because unfortunately travelers are '$ signs' to the dishonest.
(c.) Looking for a justified excuse to shop? reference (a.) and (b.)
Don't be the 'Token American Traveler'; speak the language, dress like the locals, perhaps learn some local customs. The native people will always respect you more for this.
I found Elvis in Genova, Italia
10 Expect the UnExpected: Myself included with this one. We all romanticize upcoming adventures and have such vivid imaginations when thinking about all the possibilities. This goes hand in hand with my theory of Prom. You only think about the glorious adventure and all the yummy, ooey-gooey, wonderful things to come. Repeat after me: "It is ALL part of the adventure." Especially, when it rains all day when you finally reach Machu Pichu and you have no pictures because your camera drowned. Life is about ups and downs and this list is to help prepare for the downs: sickness, potential money problems and freezing cold weather.

Buon Viaggio! and Happy Packing.