Saturday, October 23, 2010

My First Saudi Field Trip

"Does anybody want to go to the art exhibit this afternoon?" my supervisor asked as she entered the English cluster. I like art. I'd like to go to an exhibit.

"What do you mean 'go to the art exhibit'?" I asked with hesitation.

The art club was using its club time to visit an art exhibit at the Holiday Inn a few minutes away from the school. They needed some extra chaperones to go as "crowd control."

Sounded easy enough. Anyone who has worked with me in Nashville knows that I've chaperoned my fair share of field trips. And as a bonus, I wasn't in charge of this one, just "crowd controlling."

So clubs time rolls around and I'm waiting at the gate for the girls to arrive. The teachers who are in charge of the henna club and art club are waiting as well. I figure since it's their clubs that are going, they are in charge. I then find out that the drama club and photoshop club are going with us as well. As the girls pour down the hallway toward us, the clubs supervisor is among them, swamped with girls all speaking loudly at the same time. She looks slightly panicked. As she stops in front of me, she announces with a thick Arabic accent, "Drama ees wif Meesus Ayful!"

I'm thinking to myself, "This Ms. Ayful lady better show up soon. We're loading the buses."

The din of the girls declaring that they do have permission to go on this trip is almost deafening. More drama club girls have arrived and they need to know which teacher to check in with.

"Drama ees wif Meesus Ayful!" declares the clubs supervisor again. The girls look around in confusion, and I join them in craning my neck looking for the tardy "Meesus Ayful."

Apparently some girls ask "Who?" in Arabic and the clubs supervisor--who is losing her patience very quickly-- declares again, "MEESUS AYFUL! DRAMA EES WIF MEESUS AYFUL!" and she points directly at me.

"ME?!" I ask, also pointing squarely at my chest!

"Yes. Meesus Ayful."

Apparently "Echols" sounds like "Ayful" to my Arabic colleagues, and she hasn't taken the time to clarify. She's got a field trip to not go on. She's leaving that to Meesus Ayful.

h'oh boy.

That was the beginning of the longest 55 minute field trip I have ever gone on in my life.

Vicariously yours,

p.s. My favorite quote from this field trip: "Teacherteacher! Can we take pictures?"

"Sure, I guess."

"Oh, but teacher we don't have cameras."

"...well I guess that solves that problem, doesn't it!?"


  1. Love the PS. They can take mental pictures.

  2. Hahahahahaha, that post script is awesome.

  3. l love u meeses ayful-i'm enjoying your blog so much-all my buds at work now know about amber and tyler. by the way, tell the mister he did good w/ his blog...he said all the rite things!