Monday, December 31, 2007

12-31-07

I am back in Cambodia. A lot has changed. Cambodia seems different and I am not exactly sure why. I have my hunches.
Yesterday, Sunday, I left my parents at Bangkok international airport. They went to catch their flight to the United States and mine back to Phnom Penh. I walked away thinking, “Why am I doing this again?” Leaving them doesn’t get any easier. The only thing that changes is the airport and country in which I do it.
Still, I got to spend about 10 days with the two most influential people in my life. I look up to them so much and always will. It cost them a lot to fly half-way around the world to see me, but I think they knew how important it was.
The first four days I showed them my life in Cambodia. It was fun to say, “See, I told ya so!” Then they whisked me away to Thailand for the next week. Thailand is beautiful. We spent 4 days on Koh Chang island at a really nice resort. We sat by the pool, we swam in the ocean, we sat around and just talked, we rode elephants, we just were.
We spent the next 3 days in Bangkok which is a little different. Much more city-like similar to Phnom Penh yet still different. See Bangkok is “organized” chaos, there is some order there. Phnom Penh really can get out of control. The city basically shuts down at 6:30pm because everyone is scared to go outside and should be. It isn’t safe. Cambodia just is not an easy place to live. (Mental note: Keep track of how many times I say that in one day.) In Bangkok we saw a lot of Buddhas and wats, or temples. We saw whatever people told us to see. Mom was armed with her Lonely Planet guidebook to Thailand, so we always had a general idea of where we were. Mom knows the streets of Bangkok really well now! We went to some great restaurants, we walked around, we visited markets, we even found a Barnes and Noble-ish bookstore that I dragged them to, twice! On Sabbath we went to the Bangkok Adventist hospital church, went to potluck, and did some more sight seeing.
We probably missed the most important places to see and I was a horrible tour guide in Cambodia, but it didn’t matter. All I wanted to do was soak them up. I didn’t care what we were doing. We could’ve been locked up in a closet together for 10 days and I honestly, honestly would’ve been thrilled! No really.
During our time together we talked about my students, the traffic, the pollution, the culture. We chatted about people and events back home, they even made me a video of home complete with messages from my church family in Colorado! Aren’t they great? My Dad even recorded two weeks worth of Oprah episodes and brought them to me! (Mental note: Write that letter to Oprah.) Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. They brought me all kinds of things from home, it was a marvelous Christmas. Even a family friend of ours made me her infamous “Corky bars” she gives out every Christmas. They are these gooey chocolate, nutty, marshmallow, things that they froze and transported all the way to Cambodia. I feel horribly spoiled, yet, I am totally ok with it. Don’t worry, I shared.
Basically my parents visit was: comfort. Comfort that I am still the same girl that left home a few months ago. Comfort that this is temporary and this will not last forever. Comfort that I have total support and coming home would not bring an end to the world. But comfort that while this is hard, I am strong and maybe I can do this. I want the same confidence they have in me. I want to be proud of me too.
So alas, I am back “home”. (Mental note: One of my English students used the word “alas” in her paper. She definitely cheated. Another one used, “quintessentially”. I don’t even know what that means!) I got back yesterday morning and moved in with the Scotts yesterday afternoon. School starts Wednesday.
As cliché as it may sound, well, it is New Years Eve, I am making some big changes next year. I have to. I need to prove that I can get healthy once and for all. I need to take better care of myself. I need to spend more time with the God I came here to serve. I need to better love my students, because if I don’t love them, what’s the point? Yes, big changes I say! I am on my way.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

12-24-07

It is Monday, December 24, 2007, Christmas eve apparently. I am on Koh Chang island in Thailand with my parents. It isn't all sinking in.
My mom and dad flew into Phnom Penh last Tuesday, December 18th and obviously we’ve been pretty darn busy because I haven’t written or checked email in a week.
I was nervous about them coming: “What will they think? How will they react? Will they think I have been over exaggerating about the last 4 months of my life?” Either way, I stood at the airport last Tuesday waiting to pick them up. I shuffled back and forth. I stood on my tippy toes. I kept thinking I saw them, but was wrong over and over again, until two very familiar faces emerged. I had told them someone would be there holding a card with their name on it, I just didn’t tell them it would be me.
They were surprised. I thought I would be unable to hold myself together and just start balling, but I didn’t. We hugged and just sorta stared at each other awhile, it was very surreal.
The next 4-5 days were spent in Phnom Penh. Tuesday we just unloaded and talked. I took them down by the riverside and for their first meal in Cambodia, I insisted we get some Mexican food. I usually can’t afford this restuarant at a possible $5 a plate, so it was their treat! We took a tuk-tuk, which is a trailer with seats pulled by a motor bike. They were shocked by the chaotic traffic. They were overwhelmed with the dust and pollution. They were surprised and disgusted by all the trash. They were saddened by all the poverty. Maybe I’m not so crazy afterall.
Wednesday I woke up in fear that yesterday had been a dream. So I went over to the Scotts, where they were staying, to make sure they were still there. Sure enough, it was real. I sent them out touring for the day. They visited the Vietnamese school where I tutor on weekends. They saw the Killing Fields where thousands of Cambodians were murdered during the Khmer Rouge. They went to Toul Sleng a.k.a. the genocide museum. They saw the Royal Palace and the National Museum. They were busy! Their taxi brought them back to me at the school where I had to stay and teach. I took them to the market where I buy my groceries. It is outdoors and crazy and smelly and probably not so sanitary. There is raw meat with flies, and squirming fish waiting to be beheaded. I just go for fruit and veggies, but it was fun to see their reactions. That night they met some of the people I work with and the families who live on the mission compound. They were exhausted and falling asleep at 7:30pm, so I sent them to bed.
Thursday they spent the day with me at CAS. Of course, everyone loved my parents. We went to worship, they watched me teach, and then my dad taught my bible class and did quite well. My students loved him. They got to meet all of the students I had been talking about and experience the chaos that is a typical day at school. It is hot and sticky, I teach in thatch huts, the dust flies, the children scream, there is a construction site next door; they got the picture. After school we went into town to run some errands. I needed to buy some things for our Christmas party at school the next day. We took the Scotts out to dinner at a place called Khmer Surin. It is an upscale restaurant with good Asian food. By upscale I mean it is clean, good food, and may cost $3 a plate! They liked it.
Friday was the last day of school before break. So there are no real classes just chaos and Christmas parties. My dad challenged my 8th graders to a race. So he led them in some stretches, they got warmed up and about 10 of my boys tried to beat my dad. They failed of course! At 54 years old, my dad is still one of the fastest runners I have ever seen. I am pretty fast and have never been able to beat him. We went back to the classroom and played games, danced the Macarena, and basically tried to maintain some kind of order. My mom helped, but it was basically hopeless. They were just too antsy for break. My parents bought them donuts and they were so excited. At 11:30 am we had the Christmas program. Each class got up and sang a song, then it ended with my drama class performing the Christmas play. It went well. I was so glad it was over. We had to translate it all into Khmer, so I rarely had any idea what was going on, but apparently I directed! It went well. A few animals tipped over in the wind, Mary didn’t want to look silly holding a doll, so she put it on the floor, the wisemen added their own lines, still it is over. Whew!
Friday afternoon I took my parents to the Russian market. This is a huge market with about anything you need: name brand clothing, jewelry, postcards, souvenirs, food, and shoes. They found a few interesting things. I’m glad we went. After this we met the Mission College group I hang out with for supper. The M.C. group is Dina, Cheangley, Angie, Sokcha, J.C. and sometimes others. Either way, they are young, kind, and I believe I can call them friends. We went to City Cats, a hip Khmer restaurant with way too many choices complete with bubble tea or drinks with black tapioca balls in the bottom. We had a good time.
Sabbath, Dad and I went for a walk. He looked exhausted understandably. Traveling is so tiring. My Mom has been sick and he had been up most of the night with excruciating kidney stones. We took it slow. He was doing ok so I took them to the services that usually fill my day: young adult Sabbath school, Khmer church, English Sabbath school, then potluck. They got to see the spiritual atmosphere here: no familiar praise songs, no small groups, not much community, not always in a language I understand, and not the spiritual uplifting I need. We went to potluck and left at 3ish for the airport. On the way we stopped at a pharmacy for some painkillers in case the flight aggravated Dad’s kidney stones. He did ok. We flew the 1 hour flight to Bangkok and landed. It was weird to see a modern airport. It was weird to not be stared at. It was weird to drive on the left side of the road. It was weird to drive on a highway going 70mph and have people stay in their lanes! I saw a Starbucks. I saw a McDonalds. I’m not craving those foods; it is just strange to see familiar places.
We landed in Bangkok about 6pm. We made it to our hotel at 7:30ish, only to find they didn’t have our reservations, didn’t have extra rooms, and were not really willing to help us find another. We put our lives in the hands of our Thai speaking taxi driver and he found us another hotel. We transferred some money to bat and plopped into bed.
Sunday we were up early to catch out bus here to Koh Chang island, a 5-6 hour trip. This resort is beautiful, peaceful, clean, and spacious. There is room to breathe! The beach is outside our door, the pool is nice, and the weather is great.
We will be here in Koh Chang for the next 2 days, then back to Bangkok to do some sight seeing there. It is strange but good too have my parents here. It is encouraging to see Cambdoia through their eyes. It is more than encouraging and it gives me strength for the next 6 months. This is already really long, so I will hopefully write more later. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

12-15-07

My parents arrive in 2 days: Sunday, Monday, parents! Christmas break starts in 5 days. I will be going to Thailand with my parents in 6 days. I will be returning from Bangkok and moving out of my apartment in 14 days.
Yeah, that last part is the most recent news from my end. You know the Scotts a.k.a. Godsends? I asked them if I could move in with them. The teeny SM apartment just isn’t working. I am excited for many things. I am excited to get my prayer time back. I am excited to walk into a room a shut the door behind me. I am excited to live in a home environment. I am just plain excited!
It has been 4 months since my plane first landed in Cambodia. Oh, how much has changed. As I went for my walk this morning I listened to “Painting Pictures of Egypt” a song by Sara Groves. A few of the lyrics go like this: “I don’t want to leave here, I don’t want to stay. The places I long for the most are the places that I’ve been. It’s not about losing faith, it’s not about trust. It’s all about comfortable. I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt and leaving out what it lacks. The future feels so hard and I want to go back. But the places that used to fit me, cannot hold the things I’ve learned. Those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned. I was dying for some freedom, but now I hesitate to go. I’ve been caught between the promise and the things I know.”
The fabulous thing about music is that no matter what the artist meant by what they wrote, no one can tell me how I heard it was wrong. So this is how I heard it. I have both loved and hated Cambodia on any given day, I still long for home, often. But is home really what I need? If I went home today, would I be satisfied or am I “painting” it out to be something it isn’t? Anything seems better than this. So I have a hard time truly living here. But would I really fit in back home after the last four life-changing months? Things are different on both ends. I am here now. I promised God this year of my life, yet I am having a really hard time handing it over.
Today during a 2 hour Khmer/English sermon! I stumbled upon one of my favorite texts I hadn’t read in a while. Micah 7:7-11, “But me, I’m not giving up. I’m sticking around to see what God will do. I’m waiting for God to make things right. I’m counting on God to listen to me. Don’t enemy, crow over me. I’m down, but I’m not out. I’m sitting in the dark right now, but God is my light. But it won’t last forever. He’s on my side and is going to get me out of this. He’ll turn on the lights and show me his ways. I’ll see the whole picture and how right he is.”
I’m not ignorant to the fact that I will probably appreciate this experience years from now. I may forget just how much it hurt and even advise someone to be a student missionary themselves! Still the fact remains, how do I get through tomorrow?
Reading my journal from several months ago, I came here to really get to know God. Turns out there are distractions in the States and distractions in Cambodia, they are just different distractions. As I walked into Sabbath school this morning, I thought to myself, “When was the last time I actually talked to God?” Sadly, just sitting there today, made me sad when I realized I haven’t been leaning on God like I should.
I also read parts of Matthew 5. Verse 3 and 4 says, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” These words jumped out at me: “end of your rope”, “lost”, and “embraced”. Yes, I feel I have been living the last 4 months at the “end of my rope”. Yes, I feel like I have “lost” what is most dear to me: my relationships, my family, my sense of self, perspective, peace, etc, etc! But do I feel “embraced”? No. Will I only see how God has worked this year once it is all over? Am I ungrateful and oblivious to how much God has already been working in my life?
God has brought me this far hasn’t he? God has a spotless track record. He hasn’t let me down yet. Where do I get the nerve to doubt? God brought me through 7 different surgeries, all taking place in high school. I had a benign tumor growing in my ear canal. I am mostly deaf in my left ear. Honestly, at one point I thought I was going to die. I’ve never experienced such agonizing pain. God carried me and my family through the death of our beloved cousin Jake, a firefighter. He was a single father and left behind a bouncy red-headed, little girl with a beautiful heart. Eating disorders are the most deadly of all mental illnesses. I’m still alive. I’m still alive.
Tomorrow is coming whether I like it or not. I’m doing the best I can. I’m living the best I can for where I am at. I am not promising perfection because God doesn’t require it anyway. Whew! I am trying darnit! I’m still here aren’t I? I feel weak and unable and confused. But the next time I blog, will probably be when my parents are sitting next to me. I can’t keep up. I’m just along for the ride.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

12-10-07

Eight days until my parents arrive.

It is Monday, December 10th. I am not at school because it is International Human Rights Day in Cambodia. There are so many darn holidays, the people don't even know what they are for!

This weekend was...pleasant. Friday, I went shopping with 3 of my 11th grade girls: Kagna, Leeta, and Navy. They took me to Olympic market, an indoor Cambodian center. We rode their motos and stayed an hour or so. Apparently in Cambodia, if you bargain the price down, then try it on, you have to buy it. I found this out when I asked for a shirt to be $8 instead of $16 (which they would never charge a Cambodian), then tried it on. I didn't like it and put it back. They grabbe my arm and held out their hand. Good thing my students could translate. They just said, "Oh sorry, we thought you knew."

Friday night the school held a Bible bowl, but much cooler than the stuffy Pathfinder version. Four of us teachers put together teams. We had dinger bell thingys and categories like Jeopardy. It was fun and my team kicked butt. In other words, we won.

Sabbath was pretty typical: slow. Went to 4 different services throughout the day, but we had potluck too. I spent part of the afternoon at with the Mission college group. We went to Dina and Cheangley's apartment. It is small, no furniture, no refridgerator, no A/C, but cozy and always a good time. Dina made...Buch Pu po? Bucha Bucha Pech? Buphor Pu Po? Ahh, I can't remember. It was something Malaysian with coconut milk, tapioca, sticky rice, and sweet potato. Good, either way. None of them have ever had rice puddding, so I am making that some other time. We just get together and talk, play guitar, and tell funny stories about our students. Saturday night I went to LyChard's birthday. LyChard is a first grader at CAS who lives across the street. My roommates spoil him terribly, but he is funny and invited us to his party. He is now 7 and ended the party with frosting smeared all over his face. Later I called home and talked to my parents. Then went over to the Scotts where game night was just finishing.

Sunday, my roommates wanted to go get massages. Their are several places run by NGO's who help Cambodians find jobs. Some people are blind, but they have been trained so they can have a profession. It felt good, but today I feel like I got beat up to be honest. I think she bruised me. But I haven't yet learned the Khmer words for "Ouch" or "Please don't kill me!". So I gritted my way through. I ran some errands on my way home. Then, I went to the Adventist Vietnamese school where I volunteered to tutor. The priniple, Chan, is a friendly, efficient, and dedicated Vietnamese man who started the school out of his own house. He lives there and has allowed some orphans to live with him. It is a small, run-down building that houses 130 students each day. Most are street children who are attending for free, but are being either sponsored or paid for by Chan. He has 5 teachers. He feeds the children breakfast, lunch and dinner. He is teaching them to sew, so that they can sell the items to make money. He leaves each morning at 5am to pick up his students who live too far away. He checks their fingernails for dirt each morning and expects only disciplined, hard working students to enter his school. It costs anywhere from $2-$15 a month, per child. This includes transportation, food, and education. I showed up to teach 7 girls who desperately want to learn English. They are sweet, attentive, and eager to learn. They had desks, I basically taught on the side of the street. He gave me a tour before I left and really appreciated my help. The girls don't have school on Sundays but were so anxious to have someone to speak English with them that they came anyway.
I got back and went and played volleyball at CAS. The dorm kids get so bored there, so they like when we come. I ended up watching a movie with Angie, a Misison College teacher, to end the day.

Pleasant. Yes, pleasant.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

12-6-07

My parents will be here in 13 days. I wish I felt ready for them to come. I wish I could show them some great life I have made for myself. I wish I could have them meet tons of new friends. I wish I could show them what a fabulous teacher I am. I wish I felt stable. I wish I could show them that I am doing alright and that they don’t need to worry. I wish, I wish, I wish.
What is… is. I am still, Heather. My struggles remain. Reality isn’t going to change just because my parents are coming into town. I suppose I had just hoped that by this point I would be all settled in and adjusted, and I would truly be living the “student missionary experience”, whatever that means. I guess that saying I am an SM with an eating disorder just sounds like such an oxymoron to me.
Sometimes I get emails from Heather Mekelburg, a really sweet girl from Union, who is working at Maxwell Academy in Africa. She went with her best friend Kylie Schnell. They send pictures of their safari adventures, she tells stories about how much they love their jobs, and they have great staff that takes such good care of them. I am painfully jealous. Maxwell Academy was first choice when I decided to be an SM. But for some reason it didn’t work out. And well, Cambodia is very different.
On Monday, I talked with my eating disorder counselor, Teresa, on the phone. We’ve only spoken twice since I have been here. But she helps me get my head back on straight. Before I left, my parents and I made a deal: if at any point Teresa said I needed to come home, I would. I promised to be completely honest with Teresa.
Well, after telling Teresa about a really awful last two weeks related to ED, she said, “Heather, what are you willing to sacrifice, just to stay in Cambodia? Is this really worth it?” Fighting this all alone is really wearing on me. But some days I feel like my pride is the only thing keeping me here. I think to myself, “I can’t go home. I will be the SM who came home early, the SM who failed.”
I told Teresa about how the last two weeks had been so difficult for me. She helped me understand that, I have been giving and giving since I got here. I have been desperately trying to reach out to people, hoping to make friends. I have been giving so much energy to my students every day. I have been volunteering my butt off trying to get involved. I have been counseling my roommates about all of their problems. But I rarely get anything back. That is why I still feel so lonely. I feel a painful void because I don’t have very many meaningful relationships here. I have been trying to use food to fill that void, so I have binged every night for the last two weeks. Binging is painful and not something I really like writing about.
My weapon of choice is food. Other people may choose alcohol, drugs, self-mutilation, shopping, gambling, or pornography. We all struggle with something. But each day leaves me feeling hopeless, pathetic, disgusting, out-of-control, and more lonely than I did before. I have very little left to give to others when I am so selfishly concerned with myself. This is just what the devil wants and I feel like he is winning.
Yesterday I told someone that I came to Cambodia all alone. They very quickly and optimistically responded, “Well, no you didn’t. You came with God! Put your chin up” Well, thank you for that! I wanted to smack him and I probably would have if he wasn’t bigger than me. Still, a very kind, visiting pastor named, Carl Ashlock, reminded me last week: when God was creating at the beginning of time, everything was good. The sun was good. The ocean was good. The animals were good. You know the first thing that wasn’t good? God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
Even I can see that because of my loneliness I have been forced to rely more on God. But many mornings I wake up and say, “God, enough is enough. I just can’t do this anymore.” And still somehow, He carries, yes, "carries”, me through one more day.
Teresa told me to make a list of what I had hoped to accomplish in Cambodia and another list of what I have accomplished in Cambodia. The lists were quite different. I have so much to do here. I have so much I came here to do and haven’t been doing. The devil is working so hard to distract me really living out this year that I promised to God.
I don’t write these blogs because it is fun for me. Writing most of my blogs is painful and I wonder deep down if I have lost some peoples respect as a result. My friend Sandy got me thinking about what God meant when he said in the Ten Commandments, “Do not lie.” Did He really mean that when someone asks, “How are you?” to only report on the pretty parts of life? Could that same Commandment be read, “Be completely honest”. I’m not saying God wants us to mope around spilling our guts to everyone we meet. But as far as I have experienced, I have very little to lose by being transparent with people. I won't lie about my situation here; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Why can’t we all just admit we are human and get on with it?
I am anxious to see my parents, to hug them, to poke them and make sure they are real. I can’t wait to talk with them. I want to show them how I live and prove that I am not over exaggerating. I want their input, their suggestions, and their point-of-view. Thirteen days in counting.

Monday, December 3, 2007

12-4-07

I’m not sure where I got the impression after 1 month here, that I had Cambodia all figured out. I learn something new every single day and I will continue to do so until the day I leave. That is where the “constantly overwhelmed” feeling comes from. I can’t put Cambodia in a nice little box and describe it eloquently for you so it all makes sense. I am always overloaded by the stimuli that surrounds me each day. I can’t keep up. But writing about it helps me sort out my thoughts. So here I go.

Last week I sat on Fay’s couch and cried. I was frustrated with my classes, I was frustrated with my living situation, I was still feeling lonely, I was tired of battling this eating disorder, and I needed a shoulder to cry on. I do not take the Scotts for granted. I am fully aware that if they were not here, I wouldn’t be either. They have almost single handedly carried me to this point. I talked, she listened. Then she said, “Heather, why did you come here?”. I gave several reasons like, wanting a change of scenery from the college life, and wanting to be an SM ever since I was a little girl. I told her I wanted to do something that mattered and experience a new and different way of life. I told her I came here to teach. That was after all my job description: “Wanted: 19+ year old English teacher in Cambodia”.
When I told her that I believed my purpose in coming here was to teach, she said, “Do you even enjoy teaching?” Good question. Some days I really don’t like teaching at all. Some days I dread it. This really got me thinking. If my purpose in coming here was to teach and I don’t even like it, what am I doing here? What do I dread so much about teaching? I started thinking about the specific reasons that make me wake up so often and think, “What in the world am I doing in Cambodia?”
I thought about my 7th graders. They are a chaotic group of kids. Most of them are really good and sweet and smart. But I spend so much time chasing around the “bad” kids and Rotana with ADD, that I don’t enjoy my time with them. The classroom can get so crazy that last week they left me in tears. I tried not to let them see, because that would mean they had won. I walk out on most days feeling like I have failed as a teacher and Jesus would never treat those kids the way I just did.
I thought about my 8th graders. I spend so much time enforcing my “No Khmer” rule that I’m not even getting to know them. The girls are afraid of me, the boys probably think I am miserable and they may dread class as much as I do. Sometimes I will just glance at a student and they will say very defensively, “I was speaking English!” I hate feeling like I am little more than a guilty conscience to them.
I thought about my 10th and 11th graders. They are only a few years younger than I am and they know it. Some of them speak very good English and correct my grammar, often. One particular student named David, somewhat challenges me in class and I’ve been wrong before. All in all, my high school students are intimidating and I feel like a fraud every time I stand before them.
So this can’t be good. After I realized the specific reasons I dread teaching, I knew if nothing changed, I would definitely not survive all year with them. So in turn, I thought of a few ways to change my attitude and so far, things are so much better.
In 7th grade I have started laughing at the ridiculous things that Ratana does. Like the other day, he just stood up in the middle of class and yelled, “I feel so good!” I definitely didn’t encourage him to continue, but I kindly asked if he would sit down and we could continue. The girls in that class are so sweet and I have been being intentional about praising them for being such good students.
In 8th grade I somewhat gave up on my strict standards. Before if someone was blatantly speaking English I would say, in my best annoyed voice, “Puthereak, English, please!” Now I give them fair warning and if they keep it up, they dance the Macarena for all of us after class or sing. If that doesn’t work I chase them around and pinch them. I have started eating lunch with the girls at their desks and getting to know them one on one. We gossip, we talk about the boys, and we learn more about each other every day.
The high schoolers have been my biggest adjustment. How do you instantly stop feeling intimidated by 64 eyeballs staring you down each day? I had a talk with Fay and the principle about the intimidation factor. Sharon basically told me that my age should not matter. I have important things to tell them and they need to listen. I need to approach them with the same confidence and authority that I do with the younger kids. Once I started believing that I had something important to tell them and there is no way all of my students are going to love me anyway, the days became easier. Yesterday in class David corrected me on my past participle use of the word “run”. Heck, I didn’t know what a past participle was until I read about it last week! He kept asking me more questions and I told him I would be happy to help him after class. So he came later and asked away. I admitted that I didn’t know the answer to all of his questions but I would be happy to look for the answer with him together.

I am far from super-teacher. I don’t just breeze through the days. I haven’t discovered the magic solution of teaching. But the days are a bit less hectic and a little more peaceful. There is more purpose and less hopelessness. This is good.