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A New Year, A New Quarter.

Hello 2008!

After a wonderful week visiting friends in South Carolina and spending time with friends and family at home in North Carolina, I’ve been back in Seattle for about a week now. I spent my first West Coast-New Year’s Eve at D-CLAM, a house where several of my friends from Blue Sky live. (Named from the letters that start each of the girls’ names, D-CLAM reminds me of the Duplex. It’s physically a much nicer house, but it seems to be the place where people are always dropping by and hanging out).

School started back on Thursday and I’m already back to studying at coffeehouses. (Speaking of, I’m currently at University Zoka, a local cafe near my apartment). I’m looking forward to my courses this quarter. I’m taking Morphology (the study of the internal structure of words), Syntax (the study of the rules that govern the structure of sentences), and Teaching ESL Writing. So far, Syntax is the only class that’s met yet. I’ll admit that syntax can be dull, but my professor is very passionate and excited about it, which should help. Additionally, I remembered one of the things I love about my program here while we were introducing ourselves during class on Thursday. In addition to the basic things like where you’re from and are you an undergrad or grad student, our professor asked us all to list what languages we had studied. It was really fun to hear the different languages that my classmates were familiar with (in addition to the standard Spanish and French, almost a third of the class had some sort of familiarity with Ethiopian and various dialects, and other students had studied everything from Classical Greek and Latin to Russian, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic). I was surprised to realize that I’ve formally studied three languages now (Latin, Italian, and Arabic), in addition to all the Slovak I have learned through my friends.

I also started my new job as an English tutor for Microsoft employees and family members. My first student is a 27-year-old who just moved here from India. We met for the first time on Friday and I really enjoyed the brief meeting that we had. We’ll be meeting twice a week for the next ten weeks or so to work on pronunciation and conversation skills as well as idioms, slang, and business terminology. I just spent an hour preparing for tomorrow’s session, and I can tell already that this job will be very useful for me. Because I’m tutoring a student who is not taking English lessons outside of ours, the entire curriculum is up to me. I have complete control over which textbooks and resources we use, as well as what activities we do during the sessions. It’s a lot of responsibility (it’s much easier to tutor a student who just needs help on homework assigned by another teacher), but it should help familiarize me with many available ESL resources and also develop a collection of resources and activities.

Finally, I will only be working as a nanny for about two more weeks. After that I’ll need to find an additional job to complement the English tutoring. I’m not exactly sure where I’ll be working yet, but I have already started applying to a variety of different jobs- I’ll keep you posted!

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