Dreaming of Africa

I just spoke on the phone with the man that is going to help me go to Africa.  Even as I write these words my heart is still pounding from the excitement and I cannot quite believe this is really happening.  Through nothing less than divine providence a series of events has fallen into place that will allow me to teach English in Tanzania next summer.  Did I mention how excited I am?!?!

About a month ago my grandmother attended a talk given by a professor who leads trips to Zanzibar, Tanzania.  Knowing of my obsession with Africa, she made sure to ask him for a business card.  Knowing little of this man, other than the fact that he could perhaps help me achieve my dreams, I emailed him and eagerly awaited a response.  As soon as he explained that there might be an opportunity to teach English, I was hooked.  After a few days of phone tag I have finally spoken to him and know the concrete steps to get me where I want to go.

He asked me the question which has been plagueing me lately.  Why Africa?  I stumbled over the words to describe the longing I felt and yet again, failed.  The writer within me is going to have to drag those words out of my heart and mind though, even if they come kicking and screaming.  One of the hoops I must leap through on this journey is to write a letter of intent, of sorts, as to why I want to embark on this endeavor.   My motives will be laid bare for the world to see and I hope they are up to the scrutiny of questioning eyes.

Ode to a Spell Checker

Here’s some proof of my theory that spell check is responsible for the detoriation of correct spelling in our society.  I found this poem online.  Although it doesn’t make much sense and there is incorrect usage galore, spell check said every word was spelled right, making it okay.

Ode to a Spell Checker

I have a spelling checker
I disk covered four my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot see.
Eye ran this poem threw it.
Your sure real glad two no.
Its very polished in its weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.

checker is a blessing.
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when aye rime.

Each frays comes posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The checker pours o’er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.

Bee fore wee rote with checkers
Hour spelling was inn deck line,
Butt now when wee dew have a laps,
Wee are not maid too wine.

And now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
There are know faults in awl this peace,
Of nun eye am a wear.

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.

That’s why eye brake in two averse
Caws Eye dew want too please.
Sow glad eye yam that aye did bye
This soft wear four pea seas.

–Author Unknown

Motel of Misspellings

Yesterday morning I sat down to enjoy breakfast at the hotel I stayed at for the weekend. When I grabbed the syrup for my waffle the perfect peace was shattered.  Behind the regular syrup that I picked up was a container of sugar free syrup that the hotel staff was considerate enough to put out for their residents with health concerns.  This well meaning display was destroyed by the atrocious spelling that told me it was sugEr free syrup.  I was flabbergasted; absolutely and completely speechless.

After the syrup nearly gave me a heart attack, I decided to risk taking a peek at the other various condiments on the table.  I thought there was no way they could mess up salt and pepper.  I was very, very wrong.  To my horror what I thought to be pepper turned out to be pApper.  Declaring that I could no longer stay in the presence of such obvious spelling errors, I abruptly left the room.  Only because I am a dedicated blogger did I return to the scene to take a picture of these atrocities.

I couldn’t help but think that this was a frightening sign of where our society is heading.  The attention paid to the importance of correct spelling and grammar is going downhill fast.  This hotel is only a snapshot of what is happening all over our country.  I blame spell check.  There is no longer a need to know how to spell.  That handy little tool in Word will tell you with a helpful red line that you have made a mistake and help you fix it.  With America’s overwhelming use of computers, the few times we do handwrite things we stumble over spellings and commit simple errors.

I suppose the average person really does not care too much about spelling and grammar.  I believe it is a comment on a company though, such as this hotel, if there are misspellings in its public signs and labels.  For me, it says that the company is sloppy or just too cheap to hire a proofreader.

As I left this motel of misspellings I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of its name:  The Quality Inn.  The hotel itself was perfectly fine, but the quality of its spelling was, well, not of such high quality.