I cannot say with absolute certainty that the kitchen (dining area/kitchenette) of an ESL school is any different than the equivalent room in any other office space. There are lots of objects that are common to both. I am sure that cutlery disappears with equal frequency. However, I have the gut feeling that it is different.
The ESL eating area is not packed with nicely co-ordinated, store bought, dishes and plates. Even calling it a ragtag collection of dishes, cups, and disappearing utensils doesn’t seem to measure up. If I were to characterize it, I would call it a dumping ground for non-offensive kitsch from all over the world. Often students bring us souvenirs, or departing teacher’s leave things behind that they acquired from students, or in their travels.
Today, as I was cleaning up my coffee cup I spotted the cup above in the drain rack and decided to take a look. I was a little confused by the message and I hope you can clear it up for me.
You see, I had two conflicting thoughts about the cup’s message. Does it mean:
- Hey USA! Go out and discover the world around you. Go see that there is beauty beyond your boarders and ideas beyond your thinking.
- The world is in the USA.
- Something completely different but unclear to me.
I am a big believer in travel and exploration. There is a great big world of ideas out there that we need to see and experience. So, I am hoping it is the first idea that it is trying to get across.
I polled all the teachers I could and more than 90% thought it was the second one.
I have no idea, but I need to mull it over. I would be happy to receive your input.
The other funny thing is that the back of the cup is written in Spanish and conveys a completely different idea–something like, we travel to change not our place but our ideas.
That’s a pretty cool thought.