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Friday, December 20: Day 242 – Game Day

My knees have been cracking a lot and I am trying to stretch them out every day. However, I ordered a leg massage, and she came to my room. She found sore muscles that I didn’t even know were sore. Too bad I have to walk to English class now. Here is a young father babysitting while he mends nets.

On the way, we ate lunch and they had Christmas songs playing. Watch Rob. Oh, What Fun I Had!

It is interesting that they celebrate Christmas with songs, trees, Santas, presents, etc., but don’t know about the Biblical meaning of Christmas. Isn’t that becoming more of a reality in America? Maybe we should ask in our circle of friends if they want to know!! Go…tell it on a mountain!

When we asked about talking about Christmas in class, we were told to keep Christ out of it. That would be like talking about Buddhism without talking about Buddha. Impossible!!!

We pass by the same people every day. One man asked me to eat his BBQ chicken. I said tomorrow. It was hot so they gave me a banana leaf plate.

Today is game day at English class. This is where foreign English speakers bring games that reinforce language acquisition and punctuation. The students are very smart. This is a poster of THEIR letters…and I can’t read any of them!!

I am bringing the game Rhythm. In Rythym everyone sits in a circle with chairs numbered one to the number of players. For example, ten players. I wrote the numbers on Post-it notes and taped the notes to the backs of the chairs. (We went earlier to the supermarket to ask for Scotch tape. It was a long process. Think how you would try to explain to someone who doesn’t speak English about tape??)

Here is how the game is played. We start with a rhythm of hitting one’s thighs for count #1, then clap hands for count #2, then snap the fingers on the right hand for count #3, then snap the fingers on the left hand for count #4. Repeat over and over to keep the rhythm going.

The person in Chair #1 starts everyone until all have the rhythm. This person needs to have a grasp of the game in order to start.

Then when everyone has the rhythm together, the leader says 1 on the right hand snap and any other number on the left hand snap. That sends the rhythm to that person. For example, 1-3. Then #3 would say 3-7. Then #7 would say 7-2. Etc. If you say the wrong number or are off of the rhythm or, in this case, pronounce five as fi, you have to go to the last chair at the end of the line and everyone from the out person’s chair moves up a number.

For example, if 3 gets out, he goes to Chair #10, and the player in Chair #4 becomes Chair #3, Chair #5 becomes Chair #4, etc. Everyone has a new number!

Hopefully, I explained this well enough that you might be able to play it at your family gatherings over the holidays.

For practice and to hear their voice and gain confidence, the leader can go around the circle like this:

Leader (#1): 1-2

Chair#2: 2-1

Leader (#1): 1-3

Chair#3: 3-1

Leader (#1): 1-4

Chair #4: 4-1

And so forth until everyone has had a chance to respond. No one gets out during this practice and often the leader will repeat what each chair is supposed to say with the beat.

Anyway, there was much laughter and learning. Everyone learns to say numbers in order when they learn a new language. The rhythm serves as a distraction, the numbers are random, pronunciation becomes more difficult, and remembering your number is an added challenge. The best part for the players is when the leader gets out (me) and EVERYBODY moves.

In the past, when we had recited a long list of words, we would end with congratulatory applause. However, monks are not allowed to clap as it is man applauding man. Instead we wiggle our fingers to the sky. I totally forgot that when I planned this game. After much discussion, they decided that they could hit their thighs and snap their fingers so we modified the game for two thigh slaps and two finger snaps.

As a rule, the monks speak the best English. I guess they have lots of time for practice.

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