Saturday, June 1, 2013

Giant Playground Problem

So what is it this time? A fight? A runner? A stolen toy? No... Beetles!


Giant beetles, at that. Not something I can remember having to deal with in the UK during 25 years of patrolling. But here...
Manuel scampers towards me as I exit the building, donning my hat and sunglasses.
'Meester Dee, Meester Dee! Look thees!' 
It would be nice to think he's trying to say 'These,' but I know for a fact he's still saying, 'This', even though he has four beetles (giant beetles) scrambling over his palm.
'Very nice,' I say. 'Beetles.'
'Escarabajos,' he says. The children often do this. I give them the English, they give me the Spanish in return. They know I'm learning. I think it's good that they see that teacher doesn't know everything and can learn stuff from them.
I always like to chew over any new Spanish word I hear. Escarabajo? I know 'cara' means face and 'bajo' means down, so does escarabajo mean face-down? Neat. 
Neat, maybe. But wrong. I'm reliably informed that escarabajo comes from the latin, scarabaeus. Shame. 
Some kids once found a grasshopper in the playground. Quite a big one. I told them it was a grasshopper and they looked distinctly unimpressed.
'Saltamontes,' Marta told me proudly. 'Saltar', to jump, 'montes', mountains. Yes, bit more impressive than grasshopper, I have to agree.
I saw one once, in Guatamala, which looked big enough to jump a (medium-sized) mountain. Here it is...


Looking at it again, it's probably a locust. Or maybe a pterodactyl. Glad one of this size hasn't hopped into the playground. That might cause a bit of a stir, as it ate a couple of children before we teachers could fend it off with broom-handles and fire-extinguishers.

No, there's never a dull day in a Spanish playground.


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