Middle Earth Conversation

I may have gotten asked out on a date.  I’m not sure.

For the past several months, I’ve been planning a conversation club.  Remember, that’s a themed open lesson for any member of the public who wants to come.  Our school puts them on near the end of every month.  Each conversation club is the responsibility of two teachers who partner to plan and organise the hour-and-a-half-long session.  We all take on one conversation club for the school year but I’ve been involved in two because I was helping someone out who got bailed on by her partner back in January.  This one for April was all mine and my partner’s.

I started thinking about what to do for this conversation club literally months ago.  I’m not kidding; I started thinking about it all the way back in November.  I don’t like to do things at a standard that’s less than excellent so I wanted to ensure that the participants not only  got a chance to practice their English speaking skills but also had a good time in a fun environment.  The original theme of this convo club was supposed to be Easter so I had the idea of doing some type of scavenger hunt.  My partner and I kicked around that idea, both liking it but seeing several stumbling blocks.  Additionally, by the time our convo club rolled around, Easter would have been long over so it wouldn’t be a topical theme anymore.

After several weeks of marinating on it, we settled on the definite idea of putting on a quest, then my partner got a brainwave and suggested that we make it somehow Lord of the Rings themed.  Well, seeing as that’s my favourite book and movie of all time (bar none, never to be usurped, don’t even try because I’m not having it), it took absolutely no convincing to get me on board with that idea.  We ran hard and fast with it so we’ve spent the past few weeks developing the idea, developing the necessary material and getting everything organised.  We were planning and hoping for twenty-five to thirty people to attend and I was excited.

Around came last Saturday evening and it was go-time.  And only twelve people showed up.  We had to make a few quick adjustments to our plan but we still made it work.  We started with a re-telling the story of The Fellowship Of The Ring, in a fun way (I won’t get all English teacher nerdy on you and bore you with the details of how we did that).  Then we divided our participants into groups, naming each team after a Middle Earth people group – Hobbits, Ents, Dwarves, that sort of thing – and off they went.  They had a stop to make at seven different destinations which we had named after places in Middle Earth – The Shire, Mount Doom, Rivendell, et cetera.  Each team began their quest with a clue that they had to solve in order to know which destination they should go to first.  When they got to that destination, they had to complete a task.  When they successfully completed their task, they received a clue to their next destination, which they had to solve.  Then they went there, completed a task, and so on.  Every destination was a place in Middle Earth and every task was based on the story we had re-told earlier.  The first team to arrive back at the starting point was the winner.

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Some of our materials for the conversation club

We dressed up in costumes (we wore the Elf dresses that were still lying around from Geek Fest back in August) and had appropriate Lord Of The Rings music playing at every destination.  For example, we had happy it’s-Bilbo’s-eleventy-first-birthday-party Shire music playing in The Shire, we had ominous there-are-Orcs-around-every-corner Mordor music playing in Mordor, and so on.  Our participants enjoyed it all.  Afterwards, we practically had to kick them out the door because they seemed to want to hang out for the evening or something.  Usually after a conversation club is over, we don’t have to wait more than ten minutes for people to leave but this time around, thirty minutes after we were done, we had to start looking for diplomatic ways to send them off, with our thanks for coming, of course.

Anyway, after we got them on their way, my partner and I and the other five teachers who had helped us run the evening’s activities piled into a cab and got the second part of our evening started.  We went to a new Georgian restaurant and had (a really late) supper, chatted, and played three hilariously gut-busting rounds of the Russian game Mafia (I’ll teach you next time I see you).  It was at this point that the process of me possibly getting asked out on a date started.

A local teacher messaged me, saying that one of the participants who had come to the convo club, who used to be her student, wanted to be friends with me.  I’ve interacted with him before at school so I knew who she was talking about and he seemed like a nice enough man from what I could see.  But I mean, as friendly as I am, after The Big Purge of 2015 I’m still not looking to take on a bunch of new friends.

By the time she messaged me, it was going on midnight on Saturday night, after a long and tiring week and I was in the VIP room of a nice restaurant sipping Italian wine and having fun with the friends I already have, so I told her we could talk about it the next day.  She brought it up again the next day but I was still tired and I put her off again.  On Monday at school she cornered me and made her case and I finally told her that it was fine for her to give him my WhatsApp number.

I spent a few minutes thinking about it all on Monday evening.  You guys know by now that I’m not looking to casually date anyone.  I’m waiting for my husband and that’s the only man I’m interested in.  Additionally, I know what kind of man I want.  So, while I try not to overthink things, I also try to analyse a situation to see what I can glean from it because I don’t have time to waste heading down the wrong road, romantically speaking; been there, done that, not doing it again.  In this case, I quickly came to the realisation that I didn’t think the man for me would send a message through a third party to ask for my number.  He would step to me and get it himself.  This guy is shy, and I understand that makes it difficult for him to out himself out there, but knowing who I am, I’m pretty sure a shy guy isn’t what I need. By the time I finished thinking about it all, he was firmly friend-zoned.

On Monday night he messaged me.  We chatted back and forth for a little bit and he asked me if I like Russian theatre.  I said I’d never been but I saw where he was going with that line of questioning so tried to steer the conversation in another direction.  But he must have decided to just jump in anyway because he asked me if I wanted to go to the theatre on Saturday night.  I told him that I already had plans for Saturday but maybe we could do it another time.

Honestly, guys, I work on Saturdays and my last working evening of the week is sacred to me.  As a borderline introvert, I usually spend that time recovering from being around people all week.  My idea of fun isn’t spending my recovery time awkwardly hanging out with someone new while trying to understand what’s happening in a language which I’m still trying to grasp.  My idea of a fun time on my last working night of the week is to curl up with a good book or movie and block out the entire world.  And that was exactly the plan I had.

Anyway, so he asked me to the Russian theatre and I declined with a rain check.  Our connector had sold the idea of him getting my number as a chance for him to practice his English with someone who is nice and friendly and a chance for me to practice my Russian.  This is why I’m still not sure if he liked me and was asking me out on a date, or if he was just trying to create an opportunity for us to hang out and practice our language skills.  And even that right there tells me a lot about whether or not I’d want to date him.

In any case, I’ll keep you posted.  Come what may of the possible dating situation, I enjoyed our conversation club and with its end came a little less work pressure, and that’s enough reason for celebration.

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NASB)

And that includes dating and resting from long, busy weeks of unending work!

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