After you read my blog, you mentioned that it seemed like Nate and I were the only students in the TEFL program. It’s not that I didn’t want to introduce YOU to my family and friends (via blogging), I just didn’t want to write about anyone without their permission. Now that I have the green light, this blog post is for you, my friend!…
I sat by him at our first class meeting. Fair-skinned, stand-out red hair, baby-faced, yet able to grow a whole beard and definitely an accent. Nate thought he was Australian, just in passing. I wasn’t sure what to make of him or any of the other students at the table. All I knew is that all six of us had the same idea: to learn how to teach our native language. And we all decided to learn in the little town of Zorritos, Peru. Five of the six students were from California (one from Santa Cruz, two from San Jose and two from San Diego). And then there was George. The lone Englishman from Peterborough, United Kingdom. He had a seemingly serious personality for all of 30 minutes (max). The rest is pure comedy. He had us laughing in class every day. He definitely made our wonderful instructor Beth earn her money for this course. With his witty comments, vast knowledge of grammar and jokes that would even make Nate blush, George was unlike any other. Or was he?
It took me two weeks to realize that George was very similar to my brother Patrick. And not only similar, but he could push my buttons just like him! After only two weeks, that’s some serious skill. The love we all had for George became very apparent when he missed two days of class. Those two days were the quietest, least-eventful days of the whole course. Probably the most peaceful teaching days for Beth, but we missed George!
On our first day of class, Beth asked each one of us to share our names and something special about ourselves. I dread these moments. I always feel like I’m the only one who can’t think of a good answer and on top of that, I’m probably going to mess up saying my very own name. Beth started with George’s side of the class, which meant I had more time to think of an answer. But first, giving my full attention to George, I heard him say in his brilliant English accent, “My name is George Docherty aaaand…I don’t think there’s anything special about me.”
I burst out laughing. Not laughing AT him, but the fact that of course there’s something special about him! And he’s not leading on to it. I really thought he was making a joke. But now that I know George and how humble he is, he was being serious…for that moment. Yet in that moment, we all know for sure that you were very mistaken, George. There are many special things about you 🙂
After our last full day in Zorritos: swimming, sunbathing, reflecting, having an impromptu going away party thrown by our fantastic landlords Louise, Maria-Renee and their nephew Jose (copious amounts of Crystal beer!!!), a Super Bowl shindig, and packing somewhere in there, Nate and I headed out of town early the next morning (a week ago today actually!). We had time to stop by Casa Kresala where George and the rest of our classmates were staying, to say one last adios. It was 7:45 am and George answered the door for us–with bed head and boxers–the highest compliment of new friendship, as though we were close family or long time friends. “George in all his glory” as Nate likes to say!
We kept our good-byes short and sweet, so those who did wake up, could go back to bed soon after we left. Still giggling about George’s display, Nate and I hopped back in the taxi. We waved and whispered more farewells as the taxi driver put it in reverse. But making a quiet exit out of the neighborhood just wasn’t in the cards. Think about a van or “short bus” backing up. It makes that loud beeping noise. Well, as we backed up out of the neighborhood, down the long stretch of road (about 30 seconds, but seemed like forever), the taxi driver had a soulful, upbeat Brazilian song connected to his reverse gear for everyone to hear. It was like we were in our very own parade. And we couldn’t get out if we wanted to (I wanted to!). But all I could do was laugh and wave.
To George and our fellow Californians, our paths shall cross again! Thank you for a memorable month in Zorritos! Adios, Peru!