TH-Ank U

I have to say that, Hau Kole, I am tired. I have been cramming, CRAMMING my brain full of Tetun. It’s exhausting.

This morning I walked down to the clinic and saw some amazing work going on (I’ll post more about this later). However while I was sitting quietly in the corner, Anders–the guy that I am working with–goes

‘Michelle, how about an English class today at 4pm?’

“Wait, 4pm today? I don’t know any Tetun. I need to know Tetun in order to speak English’

‘You’ll be fine’

What insued was me looking through my Lonely Planet phrasebook cranking out words that I though would be of interest to teach while I am here. I spent about two hours writing, translating, and speaking..correcting my speech, then speaking over again. These are my ‘cheat sheets’ or perhaps ‘lesson plans’.


Those are what I could scribble out in the two hours that I was sitting there watching Anders try and fix the printer. Then I here

‘Yes, It’s fixed. The printer is finally fixed’

‘That’s awesome Anders!’

‘Michelle, you don’t understand I’ve been wanting to get this laser printer networked for about six months, and now it is’ (arms pumping in the air)

‘That’s awesome, you tech nerd’

I went back up and ate lunch and I honestly was exhausted. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I am at 3,000 meters, that I might have a little residual cold, the cramming of tetun or the fact that I finally am unwinding..but put me down for a nap please.

This is my post-nap look.


I think the one thing that I love about this photois that I don’t give a rats arse about the way I look. It’s nice. It’s refreshing.

I then took a seat at this little table and Cipry (sip-ree) came over:

Carrying a little notepad and pen. ‘Me-sel, can you teacha me en-gless?’

‘Yes, of course I can’. I start to panic a little, cause Anders was sleeping and any time I get stuck with Tetun and my Lonely Plant Phrasebook fails me, I freak out and walk away. However, I knew that I had spent about tow hours translating a whole bunch of stuff so that perhaps I could use it. Finally I could, well at least try.

‘Sun’ I said pointing to the blinding spot in the sky. I then drew a picture and wrote out S-U-N

‘Loron’ Cipry says back

‘Lor-own’ I say..hoping that I didn’t butcher it. Then she writes down Loron underneath my english.

This is the beginning of a very informal and fantastic English-Tetun clas where we both grew from it. About 1 hour into explain the difference between eye and eyes (matan–use for both in Teetan), hand(s), foot/feet, is/are. I was tired.

I then went into the little kitchen area where Anders and I tried to teach Cipry and another girl how to sound out the ‘Th’ sound of Three and Thank You. It’s very hard.


(Cipry, Me, other girl–I forgot her name and so did Anders–he’s hopeless with names and I am hopeles with Tetun..not a good combo)

‘Anders, I don’t know if I can do much in 13 days up here. It’s hard because I want to do something, but I feel like time is of the essense’

‘Don’t worry about teaching them tons of new words, focus more on teaching the correct pronunciation’.

‘Ok, I can do that.’

After tons of examples of how to get the ‘Th’ sound..Thank You sounds like ‘Tank you’…we succeeded. Then we moved on to explaining scrambled eggs and hard boiled eggs.

‘Sc-rAm-bold eggs’ I kept repeating. Trying to get my best nasally ‘A’ sound that I could.

Laughter insued.

My highlight..getting Thank You from someone who has never said it properly and seeing the hesitation erase as confidence is born.


I had to add this in here

‘Anders, it’s so funny, cause I as hungry about two hours ago, but now I am not’ (this is interesting because I have eaten far less then I normally would, but have TOTALLY obessed less about food as well. It’s been awesome..I’ll write more about this later)


‘It’s because I farted’ says Anders with a chuckle

6 thoughts on “TH-Ank U

  1. Reluctant Blogger says:

    Hey you’re there. It sounds like it is going to be fab.

    I learnt great French from being with small children- well, it was sometimes rather strange French but we learnt together (them English, me French) and I never had any fear of speaking and getting things wrong because they didn’t either.

    Can’t wait to hear more of your adventures.

  2. Sarah says:

    Your new blog post is way more exciting than mine. Glad to hear you’re having fun. I forgot about fresh coconuts. It’s the most refreshing thing in the world.

    Keep teaching. All you really have to do is speak English. The kids catch on quick.

  3. Rosetta Venell says:

    Michelle: How fantastic is this! Wow for an Oregon farm girl to be in Timor learning Tetum and teaching English. Enloy! Love GramV

  4. EBW says:

    Wow ! thats so so great.

    looks like you having an amazing time!

    your writtings are so fantastic.

    you best becoming a real nurse soon….

    x EBW

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s