From my balcony of the rental, the bright disk named sun slowly lower itself down behind the exhausts of catalytic converters, and through more layers of atmosphere causing it to turn a variety of warm blushing shades.
Never had such a view all to my own. The retiring sun skips off rooftops and outlines hotels and is in no particular rush as it departs, but still it moves almost imperceptibly scurrying itself away to a sunrise somewhere else. Each night the clouds smudge and glow and create a new piece of creation artwork.
In this place that gives me the contrary experience of feeling perspiration slowly making its way down my back on a daily basis without having to do any strenuous labor, making my face shine like a glazed donut and frizzing my hair so that I even more resemble a muppet, counting the best moments and letting the others go is simply part of what is required to complete the task at hand.
The task at hand is 26 people aged six to nine: their education and their childhood. Just wanting it to be good isn’t enough. Just being patient isn’t enough. Just caring a lot isn’t enough. There is more involved.
Instead of counting the days till going home, daily survival requires active appreciation of the things I actually really do like here.
- People in traffic stop in order to let cross traffic cross. Just because.
- Strangers greet each other as a matter of culture and courtesy.
- Even the smallest most humble amount of use of the home language here brings genuine smiles.
- Party busses with buckets of candy just laying around for children (from the 9 year old).
- People adopt street dogs, spay them, foster them and contribute to try to make things better for these poor canines.
- People visit donkey sanctuaries, ostrich farms and sell you chicken nuggets that don’t actually exist.
- The kids are SOOOOO excited to do ceramics.
- People actually hang out with new people here–and they have parties. Coming from the PNW, I found (along with many other visitors) that it was common to receive a warm welcome and to be held at arms length. This always confused me, but I learned that many folk have their ways–ones which are protective and private because of how ready others are to judge and gossip. Unfortunate.
- It is not unusual to hang out in the bedroom (where the only air conditioner is) all day long. There is such a thing as too much sun every day.
Finally, I am going to have to actually step up my game. Figuring out how to humbly step out in confidence to do what I know how to do, regardless of the support of my immediate peers. Because moving to a new country, teaching a different curriculum/method in a new students with different community specifics, resettling with a dependent to care for in a new school– that’s peanuts (apparently). I’d just be happy to find some beach chairs, but no, the call is to be different. It is the opportunity and the challenge I may have wanted and felt ready for, but now the rubber hits the road.
I will be trying to get above the bummers and live into the good things.
Wish me luck!