Hot Dog Delight

Archive for the ‘Feel Good’ Category

This week is round 2 of The Lion King.  I’m showing the rest of the film to all of my classes, and there are new observations to be made.

For those of you who may have forgotten, here’s a quick recap of things that happen after Mufasa’s death.  Simba runs away.  Scar tells the hyenas to kill him, but they don’t succeed.  Simba escapes, but everyone at Pride Rock thinks he’s dead.  Simba befriends Timon, the meerkat, and Pumba, the warthog.  They teach him the carefree lifestyle of Hakuna Matata.  Remember, it means no worries…for the rest of your days.  But life gets more complicated when Nala reenters the picture, and tries to get him to go back to Pride Rock.  They have all suffered since Scar has become king.  Simba and Nala have a little musical number, where they feel the love tonight, but reality hits when Simba must face what he’s been running away from.  In the end, with Nala, Rafiki, Timon and Pumba’s help, he reclaims his rightful place as king by defeating the evil Scar and his pack of hyenas.  The Circle of Life is restored to its original glory and all is right in the world.

The Lion King is a pretty amazing movie.  And in 2-D animation too!  Released in June of 1994, it is the highest grossing 2-D animated film of all time in the United States, grossing over $783 million that year alone.  It also ranks #27 on the list of highest grossing films worldwide.  The Lion King is timeless.  Even though I will have watched the movie in its entirety close to 20 times by the end of this week, I still love it.  It’s funny, charming, warm, deep, and meaningful.  It’s without a doubt my favorite Disney animated movie, and I’m glad of all the movies out there, I decided to show my kids this one.

My students love Timon and Pumba.  They were highly amused during Hakuna Matata, and they burst out in uncontrollable laughter when Timon and Pumba act as bait by doing a hula so that Simba and Nala can get past the hyenas at the end of the movie.  Check out the scene below:

It’s funnier this time around, and for some reason, because my kids like it so much, it’s made me really appreciate that scene too.  One boy, a little boy less than 4 feet tall with thick framed glasses also kept shouting “Hakuna Matata” at random parts of the movie, just because he liked hearing it out loud.  He shouted it during the battle between Simba and Scar and he also shouted it when Simba and Nala’s baby is being introduced to the kingdom.  It was precious, even though other students were clearly annoyed at his outbursts.

When Simba and Nala are frolicking in the jungle during Can You Feel The Love Tonight, my students had a number of noteworthy reactions.  Given that there were no real people on the screen and we were dealing with lions, animated lions at that, it was quite funny that my 7th graders squealed, giggled, laughed, moaned or emitted other strange  sounds.  Children would turn to their neighbors or friends and give each other embarrassed looks.  The best part was when Nala licked Simba’s face, and the two proceeded to nuzzle each other.  Awkward noises were at a peak.  One class had the most peculiar reaction.  Students erupted in applause at such moments during the movie and would yell certain names.  Apparently there was a budding romance between 2 of my students in that class, and their classmates were giving them both a hard time.  I had to ask a student to explain it to me at the end of class.  She told me that they were joking around and calling one of the boys Simba, and the other girl Nala.  I asked if they were really going out, and she said that the class suspected it, but nothing was confirmed.

I was surprised that 7th graders would already be dating!  They all seemed so immature, much more immature in terms of social relationships with the opposite sex than 7th graders back in the states.  It’s also against school rules to date each other, which is why there are tons of underground and secret relationships, especially among high school students.  I just thought, if my kids are squealing and moaning over lions showing affection toward each other, how could they be ready for a real relationship?  Things definitely move at a much slower pace here in China and boys and girls, for the most part, start dating at a much later age than in the states.

Anyhow, I can’t wait for Valentine’s Day so I can teach about love and romance and get even more awkward and embarrassed reactions out of my kids!  In the meantime, I’ve definitely gotten my fair share of the love tonight.

There are times when foreign English teachers have to judge English competitions here.  It’s part of our job description.  We recently had one at my school.  It was the Finals Competition for 7th graders, 8th graders, and high school students.  The competition lasted about 2.5 hours.  There were 3 rounds, and in each round we had to eliminate 1-2 participants per grade based on our scoring.  There were 3 judges:  me and 2 other foreign English teachers at my school.

The most memorable participant was this little boy in the 8th grade.  I wish I had a camera that night so that I could have recorded it and shared it with all of you.  It was absolutely precious.  I had tears in my eyes because it was so funny, but I had to stifle my laughs since he took the whole thing so seriously.  During the talent portion of the completion, he reenacted a scene from Titanic.  Most students memorized speeches, read passages, or sang a song.  He reenacted the scene from Titanic when Jack and Rose are on the ship, and they are pretending to fly.  That’s right.  He played both roles.  He was Jack and Rose.

He would physically switch sides whenever he was switching roles.  Throughout his act, My Heart Will Go On was playing in the background.  Then when he was done with his act, he started singing, belting out the lyrics right alongside Celine.  It was by far the most entertaining part of the evening.  His pronunciation wasn’t very good, and he wasn’t a very good singer.  Sadly he was eliminated early on, but he definitely made a lasting impression!  If we could have picked a winner based on creativity, it would have been him.  Some of these students are kind of amazing and I heart them.

Last week my 7th graders had midterms on Monday and Tuesday.  Because I wanted to give my students a break from work, but mostly because I also wanted to give myself a break from teaching, I brought in a movie to show them.  I didn’t want to teach anything new since I wasn’t teaching the classes I usually see on Monday and Tuesday (7 classes), and I didn’t want to alter my weekly lesson plan schedule.  The only kid-appropriate DVD with Chinese subtitles I have in my apartment is The Lion King.

So I watched the first 40 minutes of The Lion King 13 times.  13 times.  I saw the movie with all of its musical numbers in the first 40 minutes 13 times.  I watched The Circle of Life, I Just Can’t Wait to be King, Be Prepared, and the death of Mufasa 13 times in 3 days.  It was pretty exhausting, and even though I wanted to do other things during class time, like review my Chinese or read a book, for some reason, I couldn’t look away.  I still had to watch the movie.  It was too compelling, all 13 times.

It started to hurt my brain after a while, or it could have been all the colors making my eyes tired.  Regardless, it’s still a great movie.  And if I had to watch any movie 13 times, I’m glad it was The Lion King.  It brought back memories of when I was young, when times were simpler.  I owned the movie on a bootleg VHS (in great quality) and watched it every day, after school and on the weekends, for a month.  I remember I would cry every time Mufasa died.  As an adult watching it with my students, I even teared the first few times I put it on.

My students enjoyed it, some more than others.  I could see their little faces light up with amusement or their eyes and mouth widen with suspense or awe.  In all my classes, the kids laughed and gasped in all the same places.  Some even cried when Mufasa died.  I have to say, my kids were the quietest they have ever been while watching the movie.  Some kids were so shocked and happy that I was actually showing them a movie, they erupted in applause and glee at the start of class and told me I was their favorite teacher, that Oral English was their favorite subject.  One student even told me she loved me.  She said, “Wahh (the Chinese equivalent of Wow), Teacher, I love you!”  I couldn’t help but smile at that one.

No matter how much time has elapsed, no matter the language, some things are just classics and have the power to affect people in the same way.  The Lion King is timeless.  It’s an oldie, but it is a goody, and I’m glad to have shared some movie magic with my students.

I attended the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States.  I didn’t have tickets, but I had a prime viewing spot in front of one of the various jumbotrons to the left of the Washington Monument.  I spent the weekend in D.C. with some friends from college, and it was a great weekend.  I will remember it for as long as I live — partly because it was so cold (and it was the first time in my life I wore 7 layers on top, 3 layers on bottom, two hats, two pairs of gloves, and 3 socks — all at the same time), but mostly because I was surrounded by a couple million other people, all there for one reason, all united in support of one person.  It was incredible.

Crowds of people filled the streets and the metro stations all weekend long, especially from the day of the free concert on Sunday at Lincoln Memorial until after the swearing in ceremony on Tuesday.  Traveling in the crowds made me feel like I was back in college.  Walking the streets with my friends reminded me of the last day of classes at Cornell, when everyone was headed to the slope for Slope Day festivities.  Excitement was definitely in the air!  Below are some highlights from my weekend.

On our way to the concert at Lincoln Memorial -- it was metro station madness!

On our way to the concert at Lincoln Memorial -- it was metro station madness!

Coming out of the metro station

Coming out of the metro station

Walking to the Lincoln Memorial

Walking to the Lincoln Memorial

Me, miles away from the Lincoln Memorial

Me, miles away from the Lincoln Memorial -- we got there a bit late

But still amongst a crowd eagerly staring at the jumbotron, trying to catch a glimpse of Beyonce, etc.

But still amongst a crowd eagerly staring at the jumbotron, trying to catch a glimpse of Beyonce, etc.

People even climbed up trees to get a look (I think they were more interested in seeing the massive crowds more-so than the jumbotron)

People even climbed up trees to get a look (I think they were more interested in seeing the massive crowds more-so than the jumbotron)

It's Beyonce!

It's Beyonce!

And at that time, President Elect Barack Obama!

And at that time, President Elect Barack Obama!

It was a beautiful morning on the day of the inauguration...

Fast forward to Tuesday, January 20, 2009: It was a beautiful morning on the day of the inauguration -- a view of the Washington Monument from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

We started out at the Lincoln Memorial at 8AM...

We started out at the Lincoln Memorial at 8AM...

We took a short break before continuing on...

We took a short break before continuing on...

We walked past the line of port-a-pottys...

Past the line of port-a-pottys...

And found a lovely spot in front of one of the jumbotrons!

And found a lovely spot in front of one of the jumbotrons -- to the left of the Washingotn Monument!

We waited for the next 3 hours in the cold...

We waited for the next 3 hours in the cold...

But somehow kept ourselves entertained.

But somehow kept ourselves entertained.

By this point, I can't feel my face anymore...

By this point, I can't feel my face anymore...

Close-up on the hat...Yes, I am wearing it proudly!

Close-up on the hat...Yes, I am wearing it proudly!

But then the moment finally came, when we welcomed our new President!

But then the moment finally came, when we welcomed our new President!

The crowds began to disperse.

Before we knew it, the crowds began to disperse.

And before I knew it, it was the end of a lovely weekend! Thanks to all those who made it very special!

And before I knew it, it was the end of a lovely weekend! Thanks to all those who made it very special!

01192009124_

The End.

The End.