Duty Discharged and a Planning Powerhouse

I’m not sure what it is about heatwaves, dear reader, but the last few days in Amsterdam have been ridiculous. I am not one for 30-plus-degree celsius temperatures. It is particularly inconvenient when you have to do things that require being outside. My Once and Future student Adriana from Colombia came to the Netherlands for about a month and a half to visit her sister Claudia, who you may remember was my student from the English Center. You might also remember that I owed her about 5 hours of lessons from our package. Back in April, she contacted me to say that she has got another job and wanted to finish up our lessons so that she could start this second job. I thought it would be more interesting and much more fun to actually meet while she was in Amsterdam and do the 5 hours in person. They were already paid for, so it didn’t really make too much of a difference. Of course, when you do that the expenses are a little higher than they are when you are online. She contacted me earlier in the week and we scheduled our 5 hours for Friday from 11 to 4 p.m. I met her at Centraal Station and of course, she wanted to see the red light district because everybody does when they’re in Amsterdam. It was, in truth rather underwhelming. I don’t find it particularly amazing looking at curtains over windows in the morning and even at night when the ladies are out it doesn’t do anything for me. Perhaps if I was male or liked girls it would be different, After wandering around for about an hour we went to lunch and then wandered around a bit more. How was this a lesson you ask? Aside from having Adriana spend 5 hours talking in English to me I also had her read interesting English language tourist facts and we had a discussion about them. This was particularly effective in Dam Square as the monument in the square is being renovated. On the Wooden Walls concealing the scaffolding were interesting snippets about the neighborhood through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Both of us found this quite interesting and I discovered that Adriana’s reading out loud skills are quite good. It’s good to know for when we pick up our lessons again. I was very gratified to learn that she does want to continue but we will have to see what that looks like because she is planning on coming back to the Netherlands permanently with her daughter. Our last leg of the tour was going to Our Lord in the Attic which is a secret church in the roof of three 17th-century houses in Amsterdam. I am not a religious person, dear reader. But this museum is worth it because it takes about an hour and a half to get through. There are very interesting pieces of information that you learn about the house and the alteration, which is what they call the Protestant Reformation in the Netherlands. You get a really good glimpse of what life was like if you had a little bit of money. But you also get a glimpse of what it was like to be Catholic and have money. When I first went there in 2017 with my cousins I was expecting a small little room hidden away in an attic. What I did not expect was a 200-person Cathedral with a pipe organ. The sheer mastery of engineering needed to build such a church in someone’s attic is what amazes me about this museum. Our day out was not without its (minor) difficulties because I lost Adriana for a bit. She was able to find me which was good because that house is a bit of a maze. The five hours passed in a blur, but climbing through the house is not for the faint of heart in 32 C temperatures.

Saturday was a particularly productive day. I sat at home and I planned the week. It might not sound like a lot but it was. I struggled a bit with trying to figure out a returning student named Isabelle, who I have later this evening. The plan is to make sure that nothing has changed from her previous intake and then do a small lesson to fill the rest of the time. It’s a reading lesson and so I sent her the article beforehand. I hope she reads it. if she doesn’t, we’ll read it together in class but then we have to rush and I do not like rushing. Yuka is set to finish her lesson package on the 14th of September so we have a little bit under a month. I am a little bit sad to see her go because she’s very sweet and she seems to like the lessons. I am not sure if she will continue as her husband’s company is paying for the lessons. It’s a little challenging with her because although there is a lot of material in English she is quite a low level and so I’ve had to modify my lessons. For example, we’ve been working on the conditional tense and I’ve had to keep it to very simple sentences. She seems to have a good understanding and our lessons have taken a bit of a rhythm. I also contacted Samar and she has asked that we continue when she is back in the Netherlands in September. Galini and I have also established a rhythm doing a critical reading lesson that combines both discussion and pronunciation. Last week, I contacted the Palestinian girls to find out if they wanted to continue and when, but have not heard anything from their father at the moment. I think it will be better if I contact him directly. ShinWei is currently on vacation in Taiwan but wants to continue with our lessons because he is not able to go outside anyway. Apparently, the situation with Covid in Taiwan is quite severe. To be honest, I am pretty sure it’s quite severe here in the Netherlands with everybody engaging in lots of shinanigans but no one is actually reporting those numbers. I also planned my lessons for George and Jerry. They are the easiest because I just follow a book and supplement when I need to. Odhran for Greek was a bit of a challenge as he really needs help with Grammar so I’ve been looking for many resources online and while I have found some, this continues to be difficult for a half an hour a week. The plan this week is to reinforce the verb to be. With the whole week planned, I had nothing to do for the weekend. It was too hot to create and so I spent it reading and watching TV. But I’m quite happy with my ability to ignore the heat and plan the week. I feel that that is an accomplishment.

That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.

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