“I wish I were thin!”

June 3, 2010

Last night Sr. Wantabee was teaching ESL to level 3 beginners. The class is composition. The unit was on change.

The first week we wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper about a change we would like to see take place. The students were quite clever comparing the traffic in their former traffic to traffic here. The streets of America are almost as nice as the streets of Saigon! Why not park in the malls and then have rapid transit to the city center to unclog parking? Nice essays.

Last week we wrote about changes in housing, the differences between the homes in our former country and our homes now. Things were “too” tiny or not “spacious enough” as we compared.

Last night, though, we tackled the past tense used in a present “wish” statement. Sr. Wantabee wondered what goes on in American thinking that a wish automatically throws the conversation into the past tense. A wish in the present necessitates an action in the past which makes the present wish conceivable. She could be thin now if she had dieted properly then. Wishful thinking in the present draws thoughts from the past which make a dream for the future. I cannot say “I wish I will be thin.” I must say, “I wish I were thin.” “Hoping” can be followed by the future tense but “wishing” is followed by the past. It says something about how we see reality.

“I’m gonna win a Golden Globe”

March 13, 2010

Late Friday evening Sr. Wantabee dragged herself to the car to retrieve her daughter and friend who were out babysitting on the other side of town. As the excited girls climbed in the car, they rejected their bee-bop radio station and requested the classical station. They began chatting about the value of classical music, how scary it is in the middle of the night when it is on and some erie music comes on. Sr. Wantabee’s daughter turned to her and said, “Mom, I’m gonna get a Golden Globe!” In all honesty Sr. Wantabee wondered how much of the conversation with a freshman in high school, close to midnight, was exhaustion from a long week at school.

“Mom, I’m gonna win a Golden Globe!” she reiterated. “I have it all planned. I learned to play the flute in 4th grade, and now I’m working on piano. Next year I’ve signed up for cello and they are going to put me in beginner band while I learn. I will only need to master a brass and then I can write a symphony. Can’t you just hear it? (ummmm, no) It’s going to be beautiful. I can hear it Mom. I can hear it. It makes me cry (by now she is in tears and Sister Wantabee is sure exhaustion is speaking). It’s going to be beautiful and in the middle there is going to be a dramatic pause and everyone will hold their breath and then the cello will come crashing in and build to a crescendo. It will be so beautiful. Brother #2 will write the movie and I will do the music in the background. Brother #1 will handle all the finances. Mom, do you remember how we watched The Ghost and the Darkness and when the lion chased the guy up the tree, I always had to close my eyes cause the music was so scary. Yesterday in my social studies class we were watching a movie about…but the music in the background was soooo beautiful that I started crying. All the kids in the class looked at me. I told them to just ignore me doing my thing but I knew Brother #4 would have cried too. It was so beautiful. I’m going to write a music too. I can see me walking on the stage, accepting the award in a gorgeous dress. It will be so wonderful. I’m going to get a Golden Globe!”

Sister Wantabee’s daughter could see, feel, and hear that whole experience. She knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she will some day get a Golden Globe award and around that reality, she is building her life, and developing a talent.

Sister Wantabee asked herself, “What dream do I build my life around?”