Youkoso and … Me? A Thief?

Today the Japanese Embassy came by the school. ‘To see you?’ someone asked me.


Unfortunately not. But never mind.


Actually it’s quite a mystery why they came. The school got an email a few days ago informing them that staff from the Embassy would be turning up and that was indeed the case. 45 minutes early (impressive even for the Japanese, incredible for the Egyptians!) a swish car pulled smoothly into the school, and the single Japanese staff member was whisked around the school, her head buried in a notebook, seemingly not saying anything the whole time.


I had been asked if I could use my Japanese semi-skills to teach the children to say something that would help persuade the Embassy to dole out donations (as that is the presumed motivation behind the visit).


Literally seconds before the ambassador came to hear the kids say something, I was still frantically running down the line of kids (who were annoyed to have been pulled out of their sports class) trying to make sure they said something comprehensible. The staff member stood in front of them expectedly, I crossed my fingers and …


‘1, 2, 3!’


‘St. Andrew’s e youkoso!’ they all shouted. (Welcome to St. Andrew’s).


Not particularly flashy, but about as much as could be done with a high chance of success in the time available. Luckily the staff member understood and even clapped briefly, the most expressive she had been the whole time.


The weirdest things happen at this school.


Something else that happened today either makes one of the young students in my class a satirical genius, or she did something completely coincidentally amazing.


Just as she was instructed to start copying off the board in her copy book, she instead grabbed a tiny scrap of paper, intent on writing something on it. I tried to get it off her without success, and watched her scribble something quickly, wondering what was so important that she had to write on such a small piece of paper.


Having scribbled successfully, she resisted more when I tried to get it off her, and then finally I managed to snatch it away. I looked at what she had written – ‘Thief’! As in ME?


Either this was an ingenious paradoxically ironic joke – the note is accurate in calling me a ‘thief’ only BECAUSE she wrote the note prescribing me a thief – or it was just a complete coincidence. I actually want to believe the former however much I doubt it’s the case …