It has been a bit slow as of late. Actually, it has been a great deal slow this entire month due to the lack of classes. My days are filled with doing projects of my own accord, and helping myself to as much learning as I can while the first and second-years are preparing for the next exam. None so far have needed any help on ICT which is a bit disappointing but then again, the ICT exam has yet to be administered. Maybe they are saving up their questions for the night before.
This means that I typically find my mornings and afternoons free. I have chosen to do a few things with that time that are as follows (but in no particular order): reading books, reading even more books, drawing, learning another language, reading, and then some light reading. Oh to be sure I took some time to make a lesson plan or two for when the students come back to classes in March, but that will be a ways off before I make use of that.
On the book front, I have finished off two books that required a bit of time to get through and a third that was done in just three days. Two books by Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker and The Selfish Gene. I liked the second one better than the first, but both had many illuminating points. I might have made a half-decent biologist in another lifetime, but for now I get to comfortably be an armchair one and enjoy light trips into and out of the field. The Selfish Gene was probably my first understanding of life through only the principle of, “What's in it for the gene.” A very fine illustration of why nature is so very brilliant in its complexity and nuances. The third book that was pretty quick was Freakonomics which just came over courtesy of my good friends David, Kara, and little Eva (thank you so much for the care package!). That book was pretty good, though short. I could have used about four or five more chapters of odd data and confounding analysis. I seem to recall there was a follow-up book to it, but that will have to wait for some other time.
So lots of reading. However, when I am not reading and the laptop is nearby I have been spending some time learning a new language – not Ewe though. Sadly, there is no software or language course that I can find online that will help me learn the native language spoken here in my region; I need to find a tutor who can work with my brain to figure out the sounds and the grammar. No, I wanted to learn Turkish to make sure I don't sound like a tourist when I visit Istanbul after completing my service here. I hope my friend agrees to take me there of course so as to help me buy decent shish-kabobs. So far I have a small vocabulary saved up, but not much grammar and sentence fluency. More practice to come and Rosetta Stone is great if you can get your hands on it.
Lastly, drawing. That will be another post maybe in February when I get the scan ready for posting here, but I have been taking my time a few nights a week trying to refine my skills and proportion and rendering. While it might look nice, I know where I have plenty of work to do to get better. I keep reading of a friend's progress on his web log and it gives me some motivation to see what I can do to improve my own craft.
Beyond that, the month of January had been extremely cool in the nighttime hours. Blissfully cool you might say. I think in the past seven days the temperature has ticked decidedly upward, such that my wool blanket is no longer needed and I am a touch worried that by March I will be sleeping in the computer lab with the air-conditioner running. It is getting warm and the humidity is slowly coming back. It seems like I am finding out what Ghana is really like.