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Friday, September 21, 2007

Brazo de Mercedes saved the day

"When is your birthday?" I asked Kevin, my student.

"My birthday is February 28. " He replied.

"Teacher, how about you? When is your birthday?" I was dumbfounded. I didn't know if I had to confess that day was my birthday. I stuttered.

We were doing the question and answer marathon in the ESL book we were studying. As a teacher I realized that sharing your answer with your students makes the conversation more spontaneous. Too many times, I observe teachers giving so much hard time to their students by simply asking them questions, hear them talk, often times force them to. They tend to monopolize the asking of the questions and leave the burden of thinking how to construct good and grammatically correct sentences to their students. Some students find this unfair but some teachers seem to be insensitive.

I realized that some students who are really hard up with the subject somehow need a pattern or a guide to begin with. So I came up with what I call as the question and marathon portion of our lessons. Everytime we come across discussion questions, I make sure that I also share my answers with my students and vice-versa. Koreans would call it "sem-sem" -quid pro quo. It's like you do it, then I do it. (It sounds childish, doesn't it?) But that's one part of teaching ESL I might as well impart.

"What a coincidence?" I thought to myself. If I knew I would be forced to let others know of my birthday, I would have chosen another topic for that day. However, we really had to stick to the class program and schedule.

"Well," I felt some tears roll down my eyes and I was starting to get dramatic. Good thing my student's cam was disabled and he couldn't see me.

"Actually Kevin, today is my birthday." I said awkwardly.

"Happy Birthday Teacher." He blurted out.

I just told him how I am not used to celebrating my birthday, that I had to prioritize work and it so happened I was in financial crisis so there was no celebration.

After my class, just before leaving my station, Teacher Harry, another fellow teacher of mine came to my station. He handed me a small notebook.

"Happy Birthday, sir!" he said. I was red in the face that I remember telling him once about my birthday but I kept quiet when it arrived.

"You know exactly what I need, the only small notebook where I keep records of my tens of accounts with blogging directories and other online services looks worn out and only has a few pages left." I thought with a grin.

Teacher Harry bought my alibi. I think my persuasive skill worked.

After smoking a stick of cigarette, I went back to my station and began with my next class. While busily discussing some lesson with my student, I heard the main door swung open and was shut in milliseconds. Had I not been quick and caught a glimpse of my boyfriend, I would have thought some robbers broke into the office and ransacked my boss' golf clubs and a couple of pairs of branded shoes left beside my room. It pays that I always keep the door to my station open so I know who comes in and goes out of the workplace.(LOL)

All the teachers were already at their stations that time and I wasn't expecting anybody to drop by and care to give me something for my birthday or what. Remember? I kept it as secret as possible.

My boyfriend immediately went to my bedroom at the back of my station. It was unusual for him to come on Thursdays. He might have forgotten his M-W-F schedule, I supposed.

Right after my class, he came to my station and even before I could say a word, he handed me a lunchbox made of polystyrene (styrofoam) and a can of Pepsi.

"What's this?" I inquired.

"That is yours," he said with a smile. He closed the door at my station, gave me hug and whispered, "Happy Birthday, Hon.?"

"What?" I was really surprised. I opened the pack and I saw a big chunk of cake. I never knew it was Brazo de Mercedes until he told me. It's really embarrassing but that was the first time my palate ever collided with such a taste of cake. I really don't have a sweet tooth but that cake definitely changed my perception of cakes.

I figured that he bought a whole piece of cake, sliced them in several chunks, put them individually in those polystyrene containers and KAPOW! All ready to be served. I had the privilige to distribute them to all the teachers around. A can of Pepsi for each of them was a bonus and it perfectly matched the presentation of the delicacy. It was kinda humiliating that most of them never knew of my birthday and here came my boyfriend to ruin the plan. But to be honest, that was one of the happiest moments in my life.

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JeanGrey said...

hey! belated happy birthday! ;) hmmm wala akong mabibigay na gift... but I'll just pray for you po.. :D long life, good health and goodluck sa career! and sana more blessings to come pa.. ;)

PS: and of course masayang lovelife to always keep you inspired diba.. ;)

morinn said...

OOhhh this was so sweet of your boyfriend! :P

You did finally have a great birthday! I'm so happy for you! But I want a piece of Brazo de Mercedes too! So lucky you linked the recipe! I'll try that on saturday! Hope I don't burn the cake! :P



thanks for the thought and the wishes, your commenting here is already a priceless gift, thanks a lot^^


morinn, it was indeed a great one, i hope you can make that brazo de mercedes, enjoy and have fun on saturday...^^