The Master Plan
On Thursday, with my 14-year-old student, we spent her 45-minute class plotting how she would prank her mom and sister relentlessly on Saturday, April 1, April Fool’s Day. As a side note April 1 is just a normal day here – the closes there is to April Fool’s Day is actually on December 28, El Día de los Inocentes (The Day of the Inocentes – or Santos Inocentes. On that day the traditions vary but in the city of Barcelona most people I’ve asked haven’t even been certain of the date, wavering somewhere around the 28th, so it doesn’t seem to be too celebrated here.)
I wasn’t sure how she would go for this lesson; being a teenager you never know how she’s going to react. While making a face like she just sucked on a lemon, she often says, “I don’t like, I don’t like.” If just once she remembered to include “it” I don’t think I’d be as bothered by those negative reactions.
Meanwhile her 12-year-old sister is a complete contrast, bubbling with excitement over any activity that I suggest. A couple of weeks ago we watched some videos of my nieces and nephews talking about their daily routines. In Isaac’s video he mentioned that his favorite dinners are pizza and mac & cheese.
Mac & cheese isn’t something that people eat in Spain but they do sell the Kraft delight at the small American specialty grocery store. So I picked up a box of it and last week the 12-year-old and I prepared it (she has her lesson first since she gets home a half hour earlier from school at 5:30 PM and her sister gets home at 6:00).
We started by making a list of the materials and the ingredients she would need and she drew pictures too, like a saucepan and a spoon. Once that neon yellow powdered goodness had smothered those elbow noodles just right, it was time to dig in. I tried to keep my expectations low since this is not something eat here, but the 12-year-old ecstatically gobbled it up as if she hadn’t eaten in days. We brought a small sample of it to her sister’s room. And I’m pretty sure before the first noodle touched her lips, she had already uttered “I don’t like, I don’t like.”
But back to yesterday and my overwhelming surprise and delight to not immediately hear those dreaded words from the teenager… but instead we shared devious smiles as we leaned in, lowered our voices and got to work on “The Master Plan” for April Fool’s Day. I had pulled together a ton of ideas from multiple websites and I wrote down the ones she was most interested in doing to her mom and sister.
She learned new words and expressions like:
- “freeze” – Freeze the cup with the toothbrush in it with a little water at the bottom of the cup. In the morning take it out of the freezer and put it back just before your sister tries to brush her teeth.
- “switch” – Switch the bags of cereal to different cereal boxes and see how long it takes them to notice.
- “frying pans” – Move things around in the kitchen. Put the frying pans in the fridge and cups where the bowls normally go, etc.
- “upside down” – Tu
rn picture frames, figures, calendars, etc. in living room upside down.
- “backwards” – Put your clothes on backwards and act completely normal.
And there was one that she just couldn’t wait to do – so she distracted her mom, got a hold of her iPhone, brought it back to the table and we switched the language to English. Her mom speaks English pretty well so it wouldn’t be too big of a deal but I’m pretty sure my student was planning on trying to play it cool, and act as if she had no idea how it was changed from Spanish.
At the end of class we folded up the paper and she snuck it back to her room. I told her to take pictures and videos of her mom and sister’s reactions.
I can’t wait for our next class. And I still can’t believe I get paid for this.