Archive | September 2007

Familiar Strangers

“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name…”

There was this little sandwich place I used to frequent at my old workplace; hadn’t been there for some time. I was passing by the other day and thought I would pop in to have my lunch there. As I approached, the same old smile greeted me, I took my usually table, he brought my usually sandwich, cut just the way I like, with my usual drink, and a copy of the usual paper I read. All this without either one of us exchanging a single word.

I sat there, gazing at my ‘usual’ order for sometime. I hadn’t realized that I always ordered the same thing; I hadn’t realized I always read the paper while eating. I hadn’t realized that this ‘familiar stranger’ knew my lunch routine better than myself.

Dunno why the theme song to Cheers popped into my head at that moment…followed by a smile.

How many familiar strangers do I know? How many do you know?

Sign or no sign

Hahaha, even the signs are telling me to stop looking for signs.

My Horoscope for today:

September 05, 2007

After many new beginnings recently, you can expect a few terminations right now.

Are you waiting for a sign before moving on with the next phase of your life (or, on a smaller scale, some new project)? You’ve definitely got the energy to go for it right now, sign or no sign.

She smiles and says: The best way to be happy is….

I’m every ELT (English Language Teaching) publisher’s worse nightmare since I hardly ever stick to the book. I go off topic a lot in class. [Actually I go off topic when talking with people as well…see like right now…apparently I even do it while typing!!! Let’s see if I can get back on topic]

So in class whenever a student says one word, I take that word and build a whole conversation session around it.

Well a couple of days ago, a student mentioned that she loves watching the dolphins. I go

Me: What dolphins? There are dolphins in Kuwait?

The whole class all at once: “Yeeeeeeeeessssssss”

Girl: Teacher, teacher.

Me: Yes, student, student

Girl: You see more more dolphins near to issssssslands in Kuwait.”

A couple of minutes was spent on getting the exact home address of these dolphins; then I go:

Me: So watching the dolphins swim makes you happy, huh?

Her: More, more. It’s my nickname. My friends say me dolphin.

Me: Hmmmm. What else? What else makes you happy?

Now the question was address to the whole class. So what makes you happy. The list came:

  • Religion
  • Health
  • Our family
  • Our country
  • The government
  • Peace
  • Money
  • Food
  • Friends
  • Work

The next 15 minutes or so was spent trying to rank the factors above. Debates ranged from can’t people who live in a war zone (lack of peace) be happy? Can’t sick people be happy? Do rich countries have happier people than poor countries? Can you make yourself happy by changing the factors that don’t make you happy?

One particular girl was quite all this time. I could see she had something to say but wouldn’t. With her eyes I felt she was telling me, hey I know the secret to happiness and it’s none of the above. She just kept smiling at me.

Me: Come on tell us

Gurl 2: What?

Me: Your secret

Gurl 2: Which secret?

Me: The secret behind that smile

Gurl 2: Let me hear what they have to say first

Gurl 1 aka Dolphin: [Something in Arabic]

Me: Huh? Channel 2 [my way of asking them to speak English, sometimes I say switch to MBC 4]

Dolphin: I say to her to say to us she think what is more more important.

She smiles, I smile, she says:

Gurl 2: The best way to be happy is to [long pause] ……………………have a very bad memory.

The whole class is silent for a while….as if they are wiping some ‘unwanted’ memories from their lives. When they reemerged they all looked happier.

UPDATE: After posting this I googled ‘dolphins in Kuwait’ and saw that our own Intlxpt has a post about it.

Here’s a pic and another one here

And here’s a list of other mammals in Kuwait