Chinglish at Chinese Walmartka

hmm, rolling pin is such an in appropriate name! Movable stick is so much better. but wait, aren’t most sticks movable? (this pic was used in a previously posted blog, but I couldn’t help to included it!)

The largest local store in my town is a Chinese mart. I will call it Walmartka as many products or words we know here in Serbia have been slightly tweaked. Barbie is Barbieka, English is Englesky and Chinese is Kinjesky.

Chinese products don’t often tweak the words but I think they may translate Chinese to English without the use of grammar. Or as best they can. China is a big country with lots of people. I can’t speak for all of them. But I can “admire” the attempts at my native tongue. ūüėČ

Monster High knock offs. So many things wrong with this picture, I will let you sort it out. My favorite part is the little orange and black sign in the middle that says, “The best gift for your children.” Hmm, doubt it!

This Serbian¬†Walmartka is offering goods that are mostly poor quality. It isn’t the same as in the U.S. The goods we get from China are great quality. In fact the great majority of our goods are from China.

In spite of the fact that the Chinese or Kinjesky stores here don’t have the best goods, they have the largest selection at lower cost.¬†There is little choice but to buy such products for most. The real deal ¬†tech goods or kids name brand toys in more quality boutiques will make your jaw drop or your head tilt like a confused dog.

Miley back when she was sweet. circa 2008 Yep, band new in the package and waiting for you at your local Walmartka!

I confess, I do shop at the Chinese stores. When I enter the other stores, I am always put off by the aloof sales people.

In the Chinese store, lots of Serbian workers are milling around and always offer to help. I work on my Serbian, check on the goods and sometimes get lucky finding something of quality!

For instance, after going home to the US and buying new measuring cups because I had a crack in the large one I used in Serbia, I came back to find just what I needed for months in my local store.

No, it wasn’t there before I left! ūüė¶

The Hi pad was my absolute fav of this trip. I can’t help thinking it should have pot leaves on the front. Since it is a child’s toy that would be inappropriate. ¬†Still, I can’t help but imagine a stoner trying to figure out this mock IPad.

When I came home, I thought I would check some boxes left over from the birthday. They didn’t disappoint!

So nice they said it twice! I just want to correct that. “Turn the power switch for light and sound!” ooh aah!

I saved the best for last.

wait for it…

Naughty child looks like an adult…? Available to fly and jump while playing. Feel comfortable, happy and balanceable. Fly? really? I must try this when I want to be happy!

I can tell you, Munchkin is very happy with her toys. They are really great gifts. My fun with the language has no correlation with how much joy they bring her.

My use of the word Chinglish is not a slam on the Chinese. I know my Serblish is worth many more laughs and I am grateful for those who make the effort to understand me. I hope that some locals have had a good laugh at my Serbian attempts. Laughter is good for the soul.

Dobar dan y’all!

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Serblish little munchkin~isms

Last week I was seriously down for the count. I didn’t do a dern thing. Not even my T25. I was just busted and broken down by a virus. ¬†Monday I got back to work. I use the term “work” loosely. ūüėČ

The physical training has been reinstated as well as watching and listening to Serbian cartoons. You are fortunate I do not share the pics of T25 wrist sweat or zoo smell after. Thank God for running water for showers post workout!

Indoor plumbing is also such a blessing with a little one who loves to color and paint. This said paint may be on more than paper and must be washed off!

Peeshee or writing/coloring is one of her favorite past times! The table clothe is a little worse for the wear…

Munchkin is becoming proficient in both languages, New words are popping up all the time. Tonight, I had to ask for a translation from the muz. She leaves out some necessary syllables that make understanding her baby Srpski. Of course, Baba is totally confused with her English, I have to translate all the time.

Lately she has a fascination with “open” and “close”. In Serbian that is “otvori” and “zatvori”. For a little one, that is “tvori” and “tvori”. I am focusing on English for this one. We know which she means when she says “pen” and “kwoz”!

Climbing up on mommy’s craft/work desk is unavoidable. A roadblock much be produced soon or my shelves will be empty.

Today, she climbed up into her personal seat all by herself. That is just a little scary. Must remember to keep the chair further, but she could probably move it herself.

Tantrums are awesome, and her favorite things to throw. Markers may go flying in the process of flipping out. Surely she will fly forward landing face down fake crying and I just ignore her. Saw enough of this with the brother and sister 30 years ago. I thought it was dumb then. I have the same opinion now.

Daddy is down a computer lately, as she has claimed it for her personal use. Pingu, Pepa Prase/Pig, and Despicable Minions are her favorite things to watch.

Cabin fever is killing us all, and we are grateful for the thaw. Today we went out for a swing. Promptly she fell hands first in the mud made from the melted snow. We made a B-line it for the closest public restroom in Dom Kultura where we could wash off and drip dry. There were no paper towels or toilet paper. This is the norm in Serbia. I just haven’t acclimated to bring tissues everywhere with me yet. I will in time I am sure. or not. I am flexible.

Before bed we jump and play on the new floor resting mattress. It is always time for learning new words. cha`pe is the Munchkinism for charap’e or sock. She has been carrying some florescent spotted socks of mine all over the house and saying cha’pe over and over.

Eating a glues stick is such a great idea. Mean Mom made me stop. Only this quick shot under the table made me stop freaking out about my choice of snack being taken!

Last night, Ku Dul was the new fun word. Cuddling or maza in Serbian is a laughter filled fun thing to do with Mommy and Daddy on the bed. Lots of Kisses and running around and even more jumping followed by Ku Dul! Good Times!

It would be even better if Mommy and Daddy could Ku Dul with out baby sometimes. But you can’t have it all!

Dobar Dan Y’all!

 

3 weeks in~ TEFL

It has been a strange but fun first three weeks. I had a friend make arrangements for me to teach an English class at the local library. I am doing it for free. And really, no one should have to pay for my unguided attempts. I am learning just as much if not more from this experience.

Just this the past week, I found a free online TEFL training course that has given me direction on techniques, lesson planning and so much more. I really needed the help. and it is boosting my confidence.

The biggest challenge is the class itself. The kids are great. But school schedules are vastly different here. There are morning classes and afternoon classes. Kids schedules rotate every week. The first week some kids only go in the AM and another group goes in the afternoon. Then the next week the first group goes in the morning and the other group follows in the afternoon.

This was something I (sorta) knew about, but didn’t plan for because I got lost in translation. (It happens a lot!)

The first week I had 20 kids from three separate schools. All of them were the same age, but some were not at the level specified by the librarians when they set things up with the school.  No translation was needed listening to her phone call, chastising who ever sent the kids who were a year behind in their English studies.

What I thought would be review songs turned out to be all new. The basket of nerves I was caused me to speak too fast. I never thought you could have stage fright as a teacher, but did!

At the end of that class, when I asked if anyone had anything they wanted to study, on kid wrote glagols. In the Srpski tongue glagols are not monsters, they are Verbs. Ya learn something new everyday, right?

I got the biggest rush when I came home that night.  I finally had something to focus on in Serbia. Purpose began to form. I was on top of the world!

The next week, I had eight new students who had the afternoon school shift the week before. There were four returning girls. I had planned a lesson and games for the ones that had been there before, so I mixed it up with the songs from the previous week and the verb lesson and worksheet for the that week. It was a decent lesson, but the presentation was a bit scattered. I forgot my makeshift whiteboard. Again, I was a nervous wreck even though I was thrilled to be there.

I still got a major high from teaching the class.

This week, after studying online, I had a better lesson planned for the kids from the first class. I had the verb worksheets, songs, and games all set up. I was much more prepared. At five o’clock two girls showed up, and a few minutes later 2 more. We chatted (good practical English practice) and waited a little, but started the class with four girls just before five fifteen. I followed my plan and then some of them told me they had never studied verbs before. Another curve ball! So I give them some basics on verbs and vowels so they understand a bit of how a sentence works. I have them write practice sentences and then we pick out the verbs. They all did great! Later they told me that was the first time they wrote sentences.

One more girl shows up after we have  almost completed that. There is just about a quarter of an hour left of class. We write more sentences and finish up with a game.

I know I am not a stellar teacher, but the change each week is throwing me way off-balance. I have seen just a few¬†a ton of the mistakes I have made, but I am analyzing each weeks class over and over looking for things I could have done better. I really want to be a good teacher, but I don’t know what they know or don’t know, so I am lost.

The language barrier is the most nerve-racking to me. I get frustrated that I don’t know if they understand. Or I can’t understand them. Thank God for the little English prodigy in my class who translates everything, one of the amazing Fab Four!¬†My greatest concern is turning some kids off to English, or confusing their other English class studies.

These are my thoughts on why I have lost the bulk of my students:

Many don’t understand me, they are slow to understand like I am with Serbian. And, I spoke way to fast in the beginning.

A few may have simply forgotten, but I am sure some just don’t want to come to ANOTHER class. Kids don’t really want to study. It isn’t that fun.

I think many may have been afraid to return after hearing the harsh call the librarian gave to the person who sent them all. Or maybe it was my song with Mr.Tallman A.K.A. the middle finger?

I think a lot of kids may have been interested to see a foreigner. This is a small town and I am the only non-Serb I know here. Curiosity could have been a contributing factor to my first large class.

I know that since this is a free class, parents are not making their kids come, I don’t even know if parents are aware of this class. The wonderful librarians set this all up. I just show up and teach. Since it is free, they aren’t losing any money not showing up.

A few of my mistakes:

Speaking too fast.

Not knowing what they already know.

Not giving new vocab words each week.

I should have a proper introduction routine for each class. I will do that next time.

My next class will be tailored to the 4 girls who come every week. I know they are eager to learn. I don’t mind having only four girls. It makes it easier to give each one English language practice with feedback. Small groups are best for learning, so maybe this is a blessing in disguise?¬†

I have started a question answer bit with them for my niece who is the same age back in the States. They send her questions and she will give the answers and ask questions in return.

I am wondering what to expect next week. I can’t help but think of the Forest Gump line, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get!”

Comments welcome!! Actually, I am kinda begging for them. ¬†Thanks Y’all!

Entering the TEFL world (Please Help!)

I have been living in Serbia now for 9 months. It takes time to get your Sea legs when you get on a moving ship. I got on a moving ship with a moving baby. My identity has changed two-fold. I am not just an expat, but also an expat mum now. For the first few months it was as if the rug was swiftly removed and I was flailing to find footing.

Gratefully now, I am recovering. I think I landed on my backside, but I will soon be standing tall. I am finding my self and who I will become! I am entering the wold of TEFL or Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

I plan to start with and English club this fall at the Library. Meeting once a week with the first week getting a feel for who may be interested. It is a small town and I am not sure what I am in for, but I am optimistic! I believe children and teens will be my main students. But I would love to work with adults as well.

Eventually, I would love to make a living at this. I know that I love kids, I love teaching, and I have what no other English teachers have in my town, English as my Native tongue. This does not make me cocky, but confident I have something new to offer. I know I have lots to learn from teachers native to this land.

Any advice is welcome. Advice on teaching, books, and degrees. I haven’t gotten a TEFL degree yet. I am unsure if I will need one, but I am looking into them.

I would love to hear from other TEFLers on books that have been helpful. Thanks in advance!!