Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Checkers and Tic-Tac-Toe

Today was quite an entertaining day. We did not have a lot of guys come home on "early bus" so I thought it was a great opportunity to get some one-on-one time with some of the guys. I found one wandering around the dorm looking bored, so I grabbed him (quite literally) and sat him down to play some cards. After going through a few different card games, I quickly found out we did not know any of the same card games. So, seeing our checkers board close by, I snagged it and said, "we're going to play checkers." The look of complete and utter confusion I received was priceless. To my amazement, he had never heard of checkers, let alone had no clue how to play. So we sat down and I taught him how to play checkers. I really wanted him to do well, and wanted him to have fun playing, but he didn't fully pick up on the strategy and fell prey to a few of my traps. There was one moment where I was teaching him a rule, and in order to adhere to the rule, I ended up jumping five of his guys in a row! I felt pretty bad, but thankfully he started laughing and enjoyed playing nonetheless.
After beating him twice in checkers, I thought I would try to boost his ego a little by playing some tic-tac-toe. That game is harmless, and takes little to no thought. Therefore I figured it would be a good game to play. After my suggestion to switch to tic-tac-toe, I once again received the same look of complete and utter confusion.
I was baffled. I couldn't believe he did not know how to play checkers OR tic-tac-toe!
After going through the rules we played a few games of tic-tac-toe, and I may have made a few 'mistakes' that allowed for me to be on the losing end.

I walked away smiling for having been part of a very unique experience for our student. I am honored and feel special for having been able to teach him how to play these two games. I am still a little baffled that the games of checkers and tic-tac-toe were foreign to him. But when you grow up in three different countries, in three different continents, all by the time you are 15, I guess it is understandable.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Flu prevention week

I apologize it has been a while since I have put up an update on my blog. My last blog highlighted the many events that have taken place, keeping us all very busy. Since my last blog I have also been on more planes/trains than I have fingers, so it was difficult to sit down and type something up. Hopefully this will get you caught up to speed.

Here at BFA we are finishing our period of isolation. What exactly does that mean? Well...last week for a few days we had many kids absent from school with the flu. When I say "many" I mean we had at least one-third of our dorm students and more home-students out of school. There were a few dorms that had over 50% of their students home sick. Therefore the administration felt it best for us to initiate Flu Prevention Week. The biggest act taken was to cancel school yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday). Thus all the dorm students have been in the dorm unable to go anywhere for the past four days. If a student recorded a temperature of 37.5 or higher (roughly equivalent to 100 degrees F.) they were sent to their room for at least 24 hours and were to have minimal contact with any other students.
Honestly, looking at a four-day weekend, with students around 24 hours a day, at first seemed exhausting and painful. It was definitely exhausting, but it turned out to be quite a bit of fun as well. I must say a generic "thank you" to all of the dorm subs who came up throughout the weekend to offer our dorm staff a little break. People came up to help cook/bake, they entertained the guys, and some came up and gave me the opportunity to go for a run, which I greatly appreciated. So a special thank you to all those who came up and served in the dorms this weekend.
The weekend enabled the students to relax, sleep in, and hang out. We tried to have enough things going on in the dorm to prevent them from going crazy, but also give them enough breathing room and enough time to relax.
Friday and Saturday was the night for the high school play, which also happened to be the start of our Flu Prevention Week. There were rumors the play would be canceled as a result of the illnesses. However, everyone involved came to a compromise, and the show went on...but everyone in the audience had to wear a mask!


It turned out to be quite an entertaining twist to the play, and something that will not be forgotten for a lot of these students. I cannot imagine what it was like for the actors to look out an audience of people wearing masks. Despite the added distraction the high school play was a huge hit, and very well done.
Tomorrow the students will go back to school, hopefully rested, and definitely feeling better physically. They will find excitement knowing basketball tryouts start tomorrow, and Thursday we are celebrating Thanksgiving in the dorm!
I know...I know... the American Thanksgiving is still a week away. But here at BFA we do things on a different schedule. Because we have so many students from so many different countries, we try to compromise and make everyone happy. I am sure it will be a long day in the kitchen cooking a Thanksgiving meal for 30+ people, but it will be well worth it when we sit down for some delicious food. We had somebody tape some NFL games from this past Sunday and we will watch those Thursday night (We have the Packers game, and the Colts game. Both were brilliant games, with phenomenal results!)

Thank you for all you do.

Tommy