Things That Make Me Feel 5 Again

19 04 2011

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a Wednesday ritual after school. I live about a block away from a Baskin Robbins, which is delicious and dangerous, because they have Rainbow Sherbet. Or, if you’re me and my family, “Sherbert.”


Momentary childhood flashback time! I lived in Pendleton and Mom worked for Gramma at “Lynne’s Poodle Palace” in Hermiston. (Billy, this is where all the jokes come from.) We would drive there every day to work, and I would play with all the animals and generally love life. On the way home, in our awesome, slightly sparkly Chevy truck, we would occasionally stop at the little cafe place that served ice cream. Mom and I would rumble up to the Wheatland Dairy’s drive through window and get a couple sugar cones with our favorite flavor scooped right on top.

Our favorite employee was an older guy. He knew what was up. There was a tight corner on the overpass, and he squished each scoop down so that if you were barreling around that corner at 60 or so, that delicious gob of colorful goodness stayed put.

We developed a tangible hatred for the younger woman that worked there. She was dainty and frail in her work, and in the ice cream business, that just doesn’t cut it. Her scoops would sit lightly on top of the cone, as if she wanted it to fall off. It was like a company selling equipment that will only last a short while and then crap out. (cough cough Dell cough cough) It’s good for business, but terrible for the consumer.

I remember one time Mom and I got sherbert and were heading home, across the overpass. The dumb chick served us, and I was 5 year old oblivious Dani, enjoying my after work treat. (Don’t worry, no child labor laws were broken!) It was hot out, I was happy, and we headed home… Right towards the monster corner on the overpass.

If you’ve ever met my mom, you know she likes to go fast. Cars, trucks, whatever. That dreadful day was no different. We went sailing around that corner like always, and it was like watching a glass fall from a high cabinet and shattering: it all happens in slow motion and you’re helpless. My happy scoop of rainbow goodness became a mucky mess on the floor of the Chevy, changing from my treat to Patsy’s treat in an instant.  Ultimate feeling of bummed. Maybe that’s why I always felt bad for the big guy on Lilo and Stitch!


Back to the future, err, recent past, and I’m getting some delicious rainbow sherbert from BR’s down the block. An older Ajumma and her family work there. They’re really friendly, and the youngest girl always tries to show her mom/grandma? how to say things in English to me. Last Wednesday, I walked in and got my usual. It was nice out, so I paid and decided to walk down the street to the park by my house to enjoy the warm weather and my reward for not strangling the Ke$ha-esque boy, U~Ganda in class.

As I was walking out the door, a delivery motorcycle zoomed past, bumping my bag and sending me flying. Again, slow-motion helplessness kicked in, as my bag hit the ground and I saw the beautiful colors go flying right onto the doorstep of Baskin Robbins.

Really?!? Awww...

Ultimate bummer. I felt completely defeated by that stupid motorcycle delivery guy. I picked up my bag, completely bummed, and started to clean up the ice cream off my pant leg with the napkins I got for my cone. Just as I was throwing the whole mess in the trash, the old Ajumma walked up with a new cone, patted my shoulder and asked, “Are you okay?” I said that I was fine, and I was so shocked by the fact that she actually asked me something in English that I didn’t realize that she was offering me a fresh scoop of wonder. “Here, for you.”


I tried to pay for it, but she just wasn’t having it. I thanked her again and went to the park. I’m pretty sure that second cone tasted way better than the first. Minus the motorbike jerk faces, I LOVE MY NEIGHBORHOOD!

English Names Just Aren’t for Everybody

4 04 2011

During my first couple weeks at school, I tried my best to learn students’ real names, in Korean. Well, I’m obviously not the best at the language, and during my main getting situated time, I kind of gave up, but not really. I asked the kids if they wanted to choose English names, and the overall reaction was positive. I found a website that had 100 names for boys and 100 names for girls, and let the kids pick off the list or choose their own. Some kids got REALLY creative, others didn’t want to choose a name, so they just kept their own.

One student was really offended by me asking if he wanted an English name for our class. We meet just once a week, so I didn’t think it would be a big deal. Well, not exactly. Apparently I needed to brush up on my Korean history prior to offering names to students. The student who didn’t like the idea is great, one of my best students. After class he asked if he could talk to me about it. He told me that his grandparents were all forced to take Japanese names when they were young and in school, during the occupation. I had no clue about this. None at all. He said that he wanted to honor his family and always use his real, Korean name. I respected that and was sure to mention to the rest of my students that they didn’t have to take a name, it was just for fun.

Seriousness aside, there are some AWESOME kids in my school. One of my 8th grade classes has three boys, sitting in a row. They are collectively known as “Pepperoni Pizza.” Individually, there’s Pepe, Ronny, and Pizza. (Yeah, we couldn’t avoid that last one.) Class 2-6 has boys named Chocolate Milk, Strawberry Milk and Coffee Milk. Their choice, not mine. There’s a girl named Ryan and a boy named Sophie, and there’s the one younger student who is so androgynous that I still can’t tell picked the one name on both lists: Alex. I have 3 Baracks, 2 Lincolns, the names of a dozen K-pop bands, and I don’t even know how many girls named Amy.

There are a few students that tend to sit together that have awesome names as well. Angie and Emily sit together (as well as an Emily and Tyler in 9th grade), Hannah and Elizabeth sit together (close enough), Branden and Thomas (COUSINS!), and one of my favorite duos, BEN and JERRY sit together. I mentioned it on the first day, and they really didn’t get it. Sadly, B&J’s doesn’t exist here, only Haggen Daas. After everybody chose their names, I discovered two things: They must deep down love my Severns/Ray/Ehrenfelt family and my other family, the Brodericks, and food.

Yesterday, for my after school program, I was given an attendance sheet. It was all in Hangul (Korean). Nearly 6 weeks in and I was able to read most of the names well enough. I get by… (with a little help from my friends!)

Have a good day!

**Edit: There are 5 Jeremy kids in the 9th grade, and I’m pretty sure every 8th grade class has one, too.

Also, there are 4 boys who chose the name Donald. One is one of my after-school program kids, so he’s basically one of my favorites… And the others? Well, they’re on my list. Not the good one, either.

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