Thursday was another unique day for me, as instead of heading to school with either of the present Frank-Jessen children, I was instead going with Nina to spend the day with her class of children with learning disabilities. When we first arrived, I was taken to the staff room, where I proceeded to shake the hand of everybody (15+ people) in the room (apparently they are big on handshakes).
Next I was taken to the room where I met all the children, who were mostly around my age (15 - 17). Nina thought it would be good to let them ask me some questions, despite the varying levels of English they spoke. They all had heaps of questions about my life and my family back home (Hi guys!) One boy actually asked if Australia was still a prison colony, to which I replied "yeah, I'm out for the week on good behaviour".
I did then explain the actual status of Australia, and other things, such as the numerous animals that are capable of killing us, such as redback spiders, platypuses and all the snakes. The first lesson was supposed to be maths, however, they deliberately drew out the discussion to avoid the subject (These kids are more like my class than you'd think). Next we had Danish, something I really couldn't help with, so I instead drew, for the first time in several weeks (a new record for me).
As with every artwork of mine, I liked them when I first drew them, and the longer I looked at it, the more I hated it.
Anyway, next was lunch, which I ate in the Staff room with Nina, while the children playing outside ignore the steady rain that was drizzling down on them (it was more than a little strange. I asked one why they were going out in the rain and his response was "Who cares if it's raining? We want to play"). When class went back in, we did some more danish and history, and some of them asked me to help. With the assistance of google translate, we managed to get some of the work done.
After the day had ended, I was taken to a classroom to meet two children that I had been asked to babysit while their mother was in a staff meeting. Let me just make this clear- they were four and five and a half and spoke *very* limited English. Like, maybe 20 all up, including yes, no and some of the colours. This was apparently a task Nina believed me capable of undertaking, so I decided I would give it my best shot; after all, I do have a lot of experience with kids (how hard could it be?) Harder than you'd think, evidently.
Things were off to a flying start as I discovered some Christmas themed colouring-in pages and some textas, pencils and the odd crayon. The little girl (5 and a half, with the most English words up her sleeve) took this as an opportunity to teach me the Danish names for the colours by pointing to a texta and saying it in English and then again in Danish. While I already knew most of these, it turns out that I have been butchering the pronunciation in my head this whole time, so the lesson turned out quite helpful. At this point, however, we had been sitting in kind of awkward silence for just a tad too long, and that was when I cracked and turned to my second genius plan to entertain them.
I cheated. Laptop at the ready, I quickly pulled up "Banana's in Pajamas" that had been dubbed in Danish (the old school version with grown men in banana suits (Hi B2, sir!) , not the new animated blasphemy; I have some integrity). This successfully captured their attention for the duration of the 7 minute episode, after which I used google translate (don't judge me, you try communicating with infants in a language you barely know) to tell them that this show had been my favourite when I was their ages. When I asked what they wanted to watch next, I didn't need a translator to get the message. Teletubbies is teletubbies wherever you go, apparently.
I'll be frank. I haven't watched this show in *many* years. Add a foreign dub and you get the strangest, hardest to follow kids show of all time. It was strange. That said, I did learn that "Flag" in Danish is pronounced "flay".(Don't be fooled by this language, the word is spelt the exact same but the pronunciation is completely different.) So that's cool, I guess...
After we switched to Chuggington, things started getting weird. All of a sudden, two women came into this classroom where I was trying my darndest to entertain two kiddies, and just set up shop. What were they doing, I hear you ask? Apparently one of these ladies needed a haircut, so they chose this room, out of the hundred or so others, to make this dream a reality.
It was professional too. One lady was primed with one of those hair dresser's aprons, a small comb and a pair of scissor (that admittedly appeared to be from a sewing kit). After a few minutes of this awkward contrast, it would seem the staff meeting had finished, and the delightful noises emanating from my laptop, combined with the frequent snipping sounds proved to much for the entirety of the staff, who all felt the need to enter this rapidly shrinking classroom and have a good-old (loud) chinwag.
Let you remind you of the absurdity of this scene. There I am, slowly losing my battle to keep two non-English speaking children entertained with a (to be honest, pretty uneventful) episode Chuggington from my laptop, with a random hair dressing stall in one corner and the entire teaching staff in the other. At this point, the noise from the herd of teachers, the hair entrepreneurs, oh and did I mention? The loud noises of construction going on outside the open door, meant that Chuggington did not stand a chance. Nina entered as well, and told me that we had to go, but thus far, the kids mother had not made a reappearance and I was more than a bit reluctant to just leave them with the crowd of teachers. It was a bit frazzling. Just then, the mum resurfaced and I said my goodbyes, to them and the strangest babysitting job I have ever had the privilege of taking. The constant rain throughout the day meant that the car had a small lake surrounding it when we reached it, however, being the brave and resourceful scout I am, I managed to only partially saturate my shoe in the process of leaping into the car.
When we arrived home, I helped make dinner and then did some packing for My and Mathilde's trip to Copenhagen that would be commencing the next afternoon.
That, however, is a story for another day.
I'll try and clear my backlog of blogs tomorrow, until then, be kind, everyone <3