February 11, 2010

I'm only human after all...

My soul is still smoldering from yesterday's news. I spent the night awake, listening to Ben Folds, letting tears and sweat soak my pillow. I also watched helplessly as my roommate battled that latest stomach bug to plague the house. Five of our remaining 12 in the house were too sick to teach. I suspect the sub-standard hygiene practices have something to do with it. The heat has been unrelenting the past week, and many of us are feeling the crunch of the last few days in the semester. By the way, a cholera epidemic has been declared in Cambodia (Yikes!). That mostly applies to the provinces, I think. I hope. I don't think we have cholera at the house, but if you ever played the Oregon Trail computer game, you well know that cholera can delay your trip several days!

Bless them, my classes this morning were patient with my broken-hearted Valentine's Day vocabulary lesson. I handed out word searches and candy—a winning combination. My second class even wrote some Valentine poems with rhymes. I was a proud mother hen. My little writers.

I grabbed breakfast at a swanky new cafe atop 7 Mart in the Russian Market. The three old guys at CWF were lovely dining company. Eggs on toast and a big coffee for $3. It's hard to beat. I bleached the bathroom and took care of Fiona for the rest of the morning. A short swim, and back to the school.

For the afternoon class I've been covering the past few days, there is usually just one student, and she's really keen to discuss social issues. Tonight I planned a discussion of the proposed burqa ban in France. The CWF director, however, had other plans. He combined several of the sick teachers' classes into mine, creating a giant group of students from diverse levels. I called upon every ounce of quick thinking to produce some semblance of a lesson for these diligent students. We discussed the most effective learning techniques for foreign languages. It wasn't half bad, and the students even asked me if they could visit my class tomorrow because I had so much energy. I also get the feeling that my English is much easier for them to understand compared to the Oz and Kiwi accents some teachers have.

On the bike ride home from school, I felt very satisfied. The stray dogs and children seemed happier, the ruts in the road smoother, and the traffic more manageable. My outflow of raw emotion yesterday brought me back into my body. I had felt so disconnected since I arrived, but I feel more like myself now than I have the whole trip. There are certain moments when time stands still, and it seems to be our chance to catch up to ourselves, to remember how to appreciate what we have at this moment. I've lost a dear friend. My heart is broken, but I'm able to be human for the first time in a while.