Awkward Moments


Life is a foreign language:  all men mispronounce it. 

~Christopher Morley

I have decided to accept the fact that my life is simply a compilation of awkward moments. I hope to offer you a glimpse into my life in Rwanda and for your amusement and entertainment I invite you to laugh and marvel at the ridiculous situations I have found myself in during the past few weeks!

• Stepping on my own skirt going down the stairs at school and trying to casually pull it back up while still walking past classrooms full of children laughing at me (yes I had shorts on underneath and yes I think the s3 students lost what little respect they had for me)

• Accidentally telling the kids that the letter “A” was a consonant after a long day of teaching and then being called out on it by a student

• Watching the other teachers engage in a heated debate concerning one teacher’s statement that I looked slimmer in “trousers” (also know as jeans)- the break was over before a decisive conclusion could be reached but do not fret, I am sure the topic will be picked up again at the next meeting

• One of my oldest boys in my class trying to feed me a candy heart on Valentine’s Day

• Buying mass quantities of the wrong kind of banana (the kind you can only cook) at the market and then trying to eat one at dinner in front of the nuns- I have never heard them laugh so hard

• Climbing onto a motorcycle for the first time surrounded by 60 primary school kids (bad timing to leave just as the morning shift of primary school finishes)

• One of the male teachers (who is married) asking me what the greatest benefit of marriage is- when I said, “You tell me” he replied, “Suzanna, one day when you are not so innocent I will tell you the hidden surprise of marriage that is so great”- dreading this awkward conversation!

• Kids begging me for “Chris Brown” music, me explaining I don’t have any Chris Brown so I put on something similar until I realize it has extreme profanity in it- shining moment as a teacher- at least it was too fast for them to understand

• One of the nuns telling me that if I don’t eat enough I will “fall over and go down on him”- I think this was an attempt at saying I will faint on the nun next to me (since there is no he/she in Kinyarwanda they use he/she as interchangeable words) but the way it came out was a bit bizarre

Awkward or funny words/phrases that students have asked me to explain this week:


• G-unit

• Copulation

•  666

• Hang over

• Gangster

• Toys-R-Us

• Gold digger

This happened the first day but it is by far the most awkward moment of my teaching career:

• Interrogating a girl for her name, thinking she is refusing to speak like some of the other students before her, when a few minutes later another student informs me that she is deaf and doesn’t speak… thanks for the heads up guys!

Teaching is going well and today I taught my kids a song that my mom used to sing to me every night before bed (and occasionally over the phone on really bad days in college):

I see the moon and the moon sees me

The moon sees somebody I’d like to see

So God bless the moon

And God bless me

And God bless the somebody I’d like to see

They really enjoy singing (especially about God) so we practiced it over and over again (seriously- almost 30 times in a row) and then went on a small school tour preforming for the headmistress and dean of discipline. It is moments like this that make up for the moments when I have to physically restrain myself from throwing my chalk at them.

I am racing against time to get this posted since the electricity is out and I only have another 20 minutes or so before my computer dies… so I think that is all for now. Sending lots of love to everyone back home!

Friends from the primary school


One response »

  1. These awkward moments have given me so much joy today—thanks for sharing!! So funny. My ribs hurt from laughing so hard. 🙂

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