In the Spotlight

The jungle heat emanating from the newly installed radiators of the old Soviet building’s major league heating system threatened to activate my armpits’ sweat glands and noticeably dampen my blue dress shirt. That or nerves. It didn’t really matter which it was. Sweat is sweat. I rolled up my sleeves…the last line of defense for a man who has already removed his jacket, and perhaps a nice figure of speech for what would be an hour speaking in front of the room.

As the dancing shades did their best to contain the rare Polish sunshine while cold blasts of air penetrated the room, I was being introduced as Mr. It sounded a bit strange. Then again, an American in Poland talking about Armenia is kind of strange. What a strange road that I took to come to this place, this moment. I looked out on the room of faces and wondered if they’d understand me.

Twenty four slides, 1 awkward swallow (I always manage at least one), and countless words later I was finished. The braver students asked me some questions, which were great. Success.

It felt nice to share something with them. As any RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) probably understands, the opportunity to talk about your second country is a thing to be coveted. I was also impressed with their English. They seemed to understand most of what I said. I think it’s easy to take for granted when someone else has learned a language, especially yours. If you sit back and think about how those students had to work for every word they know, the respect sets in.

All in all it went really well. I’m glad I did it!

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4 Responses to “In the Spotlight”

  1. Wayne Burt Says:

    Your on your way to being Professor Kevin Crookshank. How you got away with only twenty four slides, I’ll never know.

  2. icenugget Says:

    How many slides was your presentation Wayne?

  3. Wayne Burt Says:

    About 80 with the Lions Club. They were interested in the eye clinic I helped to organize. Over 200 with my church. But that is an unusual amount. They were extremely interested in what I did for those two years as they had been getting regular updates from me. The pictures made it all the more real. That presentation lasted well over 1 1/2 hours and I didn’t show some of the video I had planned to do. Instead of talking about each picture, the pictures were put in groups such as Host families, Center, YMCA, odd things (like the cow’s head hanging in front of the butcher shop, old fashion washing machine etc) and I just told them what they would be seeing before the pictures briefly passed by. I paused before each grouping for questions. I really enjoyed both presentations I did as I knew the audience wanted to be there as opposed to what I suspect a classroom setting might be. I know I would show many less if I decide to brave a classroom.

  4. icenugget Says:

    I like the idea of showing pictures and then pausing for questions. And your groupings sound nice too. For me the most time consuming part was choosing the photos to put on the slides. It’s kind of like cleaning out an old drawer or closet, i.e., you spend way too much time reminiscing and not enough time working. I was lucky in that my audience also wanted to be there. For them I was something unusual and an interesting break from their weekly routine.

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