My professor refers to the group of my classmates and me as a "cohort". Regardless of any images of Baby Bowser and evil henchmen you may get in your head when someone uses the term "cohort", that is what we are called. We have recently verbified the word and now spend time together "cohorting".
Most people have yet to even arrive to begin school, but my cohorts and I just wrote the final exam for our first course this afternoon. This morning, one classmate hosted a study party in her apartment.
The study party was temporarily derailed when Miao Yu tried to teach us how to say her name properly. I had already tried to learn once, but she informed me that I had mistakenly called her a fish instead, so we were due for another lesson.
"Miao Yu," she said.
"Miao Yu," we all repeated.
"The tone goes Yu," she said with a hand motion to demonstrate.
"Yuuu? Yu?" we said, voices swooping in different directions.
She laughed. "Miao Yu. Yu, Yu, Yu," she modeled.
"Yu. Yu yuyuyuyuyuy," we tried again.
"Yu. Your tongue like this." She showed us with her hands what her tongue was doing. It seems we may have gotten the tone but still weren't getting the vowel.
"Ew?" we said, twisting our tongues. "Eu? Ooo? Uuew. YOU! Ieu? Yuie. Yuh. Yeu. Yui?"
"Yu," she said, making a fish face to exaggerate the correct positioning of the mouth.
"YU!" we all replied with fish faces. "Yuuuu. YUH!"
"Sort of," said Miao Yu.
We all sighed.
"When you learn Mandarin, the teacher will tell you how to say it," said Miao Yu.
So we all gave up and started studying.
"Hey, wait," I said. "You're auditing this course, aren't you Miao Yu?"
"Yes," she replied.
"So, are you actually taking the exam with us, or are you studying just for fun?"
"I take the exam," she said. "For fun."
And that, dear readers, is how TESOL cohorts spend time getting to know each other.
As an additional treat, I composed this after midnight because I couldn't sleep:
To the Guy Upstairs:
Are your feet made of lead?
I can hear you from bed
As you romp, clomp and stomp
Above my poor head.
I am not impressed
As you may have guessed.
Please go to bed
So we can all rest.
“You have that look on your face that says 'hold me to your ear; you'll hear the ocean.'” Londo Mollari from Babylon 5