"Should I save or savor the world?"
This makes it hard to plan the day.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I survived the 22 proof perils of terrible Chinese wine (it tasted the way I imagine fermented envelope glue would) and the Tibetan drinking games associated with it (never thought I would play drinking games with wine), and I am able to unstick my tongue from the residual grape-slime to say hello and welcome to my readers, new and familiar.
Big thanks to Jennifer Moore and her popular blog, Pink Heels (http://pink-heels.blogspot.com) for featuring my blog and project! I encourage you to visit her online and find a wealth of pertinent, current information for women, from arts and entertainment to spotlights on up-and-coming entrepreneurs who have something to say. You can also follow Jennifer on Twitter @pinkheels.
We recently had the pleasure of hosting two visitors, Lynne and Julie, both of whom live in China but are natives of the US and Australia, respectively. Lynne and Julie were visiting as potential financial donors to the home and came bearing material gifts in the form of a well-stocked backpack for each girl, containing new shoes, hygiene products, hair products, and academic supplies. Obviously it was like Losar (Tibetan New Year.. akin to Christmas) a million times over as the girls anxiously lined up awaiting their pack.
I was assigned the job of writing down each girls name and age, as well as corresponding a number for their mugshot with the new treasures proudly displayed. It was a test of my teaching to ask each girl "what is your name" and "how old are you" and hear them respond in clear tones, "my name is Rintsin Dorma" and "I am 9 years old." I was a proud momma.
It was a delight to meet Lynne and Julie, and they left me with a share of their Easter chocolate in the form of delectable Cadbury Eggs, a roll of toilet paper (prized above the chocolate), and plans for me to visit them when I return to Tibet in a year.
I am pleased to say that Lynne (via Julie's NGO) will be donating a substantial amount of money that should cover a year of expenses for 40 girls, and she is also committing herself to fundraising for the home and maintaining a sustainable relationship in the years to come.
Julie Colquhoun is the co-founder and director of the NGO, Captivating International, which is based in her homeland of Australia. It's a wonderful organization that caters to the health and well-being of children everywhere. Read more online: www.captivating.org
Lynne and Julia's presence, while resulting in financial support, highlights the remaining need for materials and volunteers. The library is key; it will stimulate not only the intellectual development of the girls here at the home, but also the greater community since it will be open to other students. Books, computers, educational material, finishing products-- if you or anyone you know would be interested in committing themselves to the completion of a part or whole, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
We also need a nurse! This is a tremendous opportunity for a volunteer to stay for a summer month in Tibet to educate the girls about basic sanitation, healthy eating, appropriate medical treatment for minor issues, puberty, sex and their impact on each other's health through the decisions they make every day. This is not a hardship post and will have immediate results that will ultimately lead to a healthier community and world. Please contact me for more details or with a recommendation of a nurse who might be a good candidate: email@example.com
I fight dirt like I'm on my own episode of Cops. If I had flashing red lights, a megaphone and handcuffs, I'd use them.
I'm like a recovering addict with anxiety attacks while my body responds to its deteriorating state of cleanliness; I frantically twist a q-tip around my auditory canal as the only controllable element to my hygiene regimen. That's how bad it is. I'm reduced to buffing my ear drums like the alcoholic who steals sips of the forgotten Absolut in the freezer while the rest of my body is lapses into.. well, I'll spare you the details.
At least I can say that I will arrive home without a speck of earwax. I'm satisfied; it's one of my pet peeves to casually glance at my neighbor and be visually assaulted by the sweaty candle growing in their ear. Sick.
It's that caterpillar fungus time of year again! Every spring, the 6 week window of mid-April to mid-June is filled with nomads kicking off the summer travel season by picking the valuable Cordyceps-infested caterpillar. Cordyceps is a fungus that grows in the Sichuan and Qinghai Provinces, as well as throughout the Himalayan region, and when the spores infest the caterpillar that lives at that altitude, the result is a dead caterpillar attached to the fungus which is seemingly growing out of its head. The caterpillar fungus, or Yartsa Gunbu, is highly medicinal and is even used to protect lab mice from radiation.
Wikipedia says it better: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetable_caterpillar
We lost our cook and her husband to the picking-season, and now have our stunt double from one of the 600 cousins people seem to procure from thin air. No one knows her name, and the girls just call her "annee," meaning "aunt."
I have received encouragement from various people to post bios of the girls, and I am happy to oblige. Expect several more from week to week; I can't get them all, but will write about some of the stand out performers here.
Mumid Tsomo is 13 years old, and comes from the Sichuan Province where she was number four in a herdsman family with 5 children. Mumid Tsomo was not allowed to attend school due to adherence to local custom and belief that education is not beneficial for women, and because all available funds were going to the care of her mother who had breast cancer and the father who had an unusual stomach illness.
Mumid herself also suffers from chronic bone pain in her legs that has remained undiagnosed. Because of Mumid's condition she could not work and was an economic burden to her family. In 2005, her family willingly gave her away to SGH.
Mumid Tsomo is one of my favorite girls here; she is as sharp as a tack, she is clearly the best English student, and is one of the monitors in charge of the other girls' grades and scholastic performance. She has a low, raspy voice and pretty smile, and a laid-back personality that has a calming influence on some of the more excitable girls here.
I will miss Mumid Tsomo's zest for learning, and obvious intelligence. I cannot wait to see how far she goes with her education, and I know that she will have many opportunities presented to her through SGH.
As Saint-Exupery's Little Prince so aptly said, "It is a question of discipline."
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I had a dream two nights ago that involved me waking up in the middle of the night, wandering outside, hijacking Dokgun's car, and navigating the bumpy streets of Darlag, desperate to find a Walmart so I could buy popcorn. It was so vivid that I swear I could almost smell the musty plastic of American's favorite corporation (at least it's better than AIG) and I woke up wondering if any of it was true. I'm pretty sure that popcorn will be my first American purchase once I've stepped foot in JFK in a month. After I use a real sit-down toilet.
We are well-past the halfway mark of my stay in Tibet, and time has flown. If time is tangible, then I'm blaming the wind for how quickly these weeks and days have gone. Since it is not tangible, then I blame the wonderful and unique personalities of the people here who have given time wings.
A big thanks to Lynn Hasselberger and I Count For my Earth, an organization dedicated to inspiring dialogue between kids and families about their environmental impact. Lynn has generously agreed to donate 10% of purchases from her website (http://www.myearth360.com) to the home here in Tibet if the buyer enters code "Geneva" at check out.
Lynn's website has fantastic, earth-friendly home products and you can serve two great causes at the same time by shopping there! You can also follow Lynn on Twitter @icount4myearth.
I was sitting outside on the steps last week, enjoying the sun and the company of the girls at lunchtime, when I heard the most pathetic yelping and whining coming from the direction of the front gate. It was the sound of a puppy, and I looked around to see if anyone else was worried by how miserable this invisible little dog sounded. No one moved. I started in the direction of the gate, worried that I might find a puppy in pain, or maybe an angry older dog, but instead I rounded the side of the house to see several adult Tibetans standing and staring at a dirty bundle of fur who was tied on a 2 foot string to a heavy piece of debris. The puppy was tugging and pulling on his rope, trying desperately to escape the choke-hold of the ratty string while under the apathetic stares of his onlookers.
I went over and offered him my hand before loosening the string embedded in the puppy flesh around his neck, and he calmed down, finally sitting down next to me while I chatted the little guy up. Meanwhile, the Tibetans watching gave me the most incredulous looks, akin to the response I would expect in America if I walked up to a raccoon and asked if he wanted to be friends. Whatever, the puppy and I get along so it's a match made in heaven as far as I'm concerned.
On Sunday, April 26, we hiked a nearby mountain to erect new prayer flags. This was quite an event for me and the girls to participate in, because the Tibetan culture never allows women to approach, much less erect, the prayer flags on the mountains. Because Dockpo's family owns this particular mountain (a gift to his father from a nomad family), Dockpo is able to bring the girls up the mountain as well. It was a beautiful, meaningful, and exhausting day. There are two full albums of pictures on Facebook and I encourage you to check them out!
The climb itself was fine; I am fully recovered from my illness, so I felt almost no effects of the altitude and was able to enjoy the ever-increasing view of Darlag, the mountains, and the Yellow River in the next valley as we drew closer and closer to the sky. Once at the summit, we enjoyed periods of intense, perfect sunlight, followed by harsh storm clouds and heavy hail. Rinse and repeat.
When the wind became so intense several hours later that the smaller girls were finding it hard to remain standing, I took them back down the mountain, supporting Niemkah Dorma, one of the girls who was feeling the altitude and had fallen, hitting her head on a rock. We'll finish the prayer flags next week, and I cannot wait to go back up.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
It's time to answer the question: How do Americans and Tibetans differ? I've been wanting to create a list of similarities and differences for a while, but knew I needed to quietly contemplate and observe before jumping into this assignment. I think it became habit for people to walk into Shangbo's kitchen and see me randomly staring at the wall or a face, vaguely smiling while sketching characters into my Laurel Birch "Mediterranean Cats" notebook.
Dr. Maya Angelou wrote a poem, "Human Family", that is a perfect prologue to this post.
I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.
Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.
The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.
I've sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I've seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.
I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I've not seen any two
who really were the same.
Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.
We love and lose in China,
we weep on England's moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.
We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we're the same.
I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
1.) Americans and Tibetans share the same ease and social skills that allow both people groups to laugh at themselves and at each other easily. There is rarely an awkward moment (ok, except when I mutilate words) and I have become something of a stand-up comedian because I enjoy imitating different characters who pass through the red gates of SGH... or maybe I'm the oblivious butt of the joke. Who knows. Who cares.
2.) Americans have this insatiable appetite for 24 hour noise, whether it's compulsory station-hopping in the car, verbal pauses during conversation, leaving the TV on while doing laundry, and most importantly, never allowing the "awkward pause" in casual conversation. We can't even let a speaker or musician pause for dramatic effect; if the music or words stop, we hasten to fill the void with applause, while the performer does a false-start and waits for the clap-happy crowd to shut up. Tibetans, conversely, are perfectly comfortable sitting in silence, listening to each other chew and swallow dinner (my pet peeve) while I squirm with the addictive need to volunteer some sort of relief to the silence. As the months have passed I've grown more at ease with the silence, and am appreciative of it; f you think about it, talking is an effort, while silence is natural.
3.) It is rare to see an American or Tibetan without a cellphone plugged into an ear, arm, or dangling from some other part of their body, and if it is not visible, then we are familiar with the cellphone grope in which the participant is patting down his jacket and pockets in attempt to find that elusive piece of technology (and despite this common problem, we continue to buy the latest models that become smaller and smaller with each production.) In a land where technology is slim to none, the Tibetans are cell-savvy, and since cellphone companies just started producing cellphones that have Tibetan script (rather than the former Mandarin), texting is in. Even the monks have a phone stashed away somewhere in the folds of earthy-red material swathing their bodies and they'll pull it out to feverishly respond to a text, thumbs moving over the keys at a pace to rival middle-school American girls.
4.) Some people have blamed the recession in America on credit card debt, and I think all would agree that Americans have (at best) a slight issue with credit. A huge cultural difference: Tibetans don't use credit cards, they pay in RMB at the time of purchase. I asked Shangbo, "Well then how do you buy stuff online?" And she responded that people don't trust virtual purchases, and so it's not a problem. There are definitely economic benefits to using credit wisely, but in this culture, the absence of credit abuse can only be an asset.
5.) Both Tibetans and Americans are individualistic and expressive in appearance and manner. Whether that is displayed through bright jewelry, ornate hair designs, colorful and unique clothing, or the expressive use of hands and motion to supplement conversation, these people groups have a zest for life that is evident in how they live it.
6.) Tibetan men are much more physically affectionate with one another than straight American men could ever be. They hold hands at meals, sit very close to each other, will leave a hand resting on another man's knee, etc. It didn't throw me off; I could tell that this type of physical affection was the norm, but I did ask Dockpo how prevalent homosexuality is in the Tibetan culture, to which he responded, "We don't even have that word in our language." I don't know if the comfort with male physical affection exists because homosexuality does not, or if it's strictly a cultural characteristic.
I hope you've forgiven my wanna-be anthropological meanderings; I'll do my best to redeem myself in another post.
It's like the Provence Mistral, except multi-directional and much shorter in duration. The internet is the first to go; I can almost hear the wind streaming through my connection, halting busy electrons in their path. The lights tease on and off while I involuntarily count how many times they flicker, a knee-jerk reaction from growing up in Maine.
Sometimes I have a weird paranoia that the leaded glass window pane in my room is going to explode inwards with the force of the wind, knock me on the head, and I'll awake from my sepia-toned dream into a techni-colored world of munchkins and Glinda-the-good-witches.
As per the diligent work we put in on learning the "Crank That" dance by Soulja Boy, I have the following video clip to display the fruits of our labor. Anyone want to send it off to the hip-hop prince himself? I think it'd be a hit!
Not only do these girls have a natural talent for dancing, but they can all sing and draw! I feel like I've stepped into the Asian version of a Jane Austen (ok that's a little strange) and am surrounded by dynamic, aesthetically pleasing individuals. It would be a shame to allow the girls talents go to waste, so I have proposed the following plan to Dockpo, based on the model currently in place at the Pacific Ridge School. The girls will hand-decorate blank greeting cards, which I will bring back to the States and sell, with profit returning to the home. What we need: blank cards and envelopes! If you, or someone you know, would be interested in donating as many cards/envelopes as possible, we will be happy recipients. Just send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org
You will recall my bout with an unpleasant Tibetan cold/flu a few weeks back; I was pleased to report a quick return to strength at the end of that ordeal, fingers-crossed that my illness would render me immune to any accidents, natural disasters or Acts of God for the remainder of my time in Tibet... which it has thus far. What my illness doesn't protect against are the remnants of a ski accident four years passed, in the form of an overly-sensitive broken tooth lying in wait for me at the bottom of my mouth. Seriously, I'm about ready to do a Tom Hanks and knock the thing out of my mouth with a rock and a rusty ice-skate. I'll let you know if my desperation takes me that far.
Desperation, if harnessed appropriately, can be a catalyst for long-needed actions, like, doing my laundry for the first time in a month. I was thinking about leaving this story muted under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, but I got a laugh out of it, and figured you would too. Laundry is a task. Not the kind of task I'm used to; I can't just drag my loaded hamper down the stairs and hope that someone tosses the whites in separately with a scoop of Tide. No, here, it requires pulling out an antique of a washing machine, hand-loading it with water from the broken well, and pulling suds-sodden clothes out after an hour and a half of being the recipients of the Jackie Chan of washing machines. In the 33 degrees Fahrenheit water, I hand-wrung my clothes, pondered whether or not to rinse the excess soap out, decided that's WAY too much work (and, who knows, maybe a little extra soap means they stay cleaner, longer) and trudged my pile of hopefully-cleaner garments back upstairs to commence the drying process in front of my space heater.
That's not the funny part. While waiting for Jackie Chan to finish teaching my clothes a lesson, I was upstairs in my room, in front of the window that allows a view of the courtyard, complete with the sight and sound of the washing machine. I happened to glance out the window to see Thabeh, a 24 year old guy who lives here, opening up the washing machine lid to peer inside. You can guess that all of my multi-colored undergarments were swirling prominently around, and must have sparked a response in Thabeh because he called out to the several young men who have been working daily here on construction. They arrived on the scene within moments, while I watched helplessly a la Rapunzel from my tower window while the more delicate items of my wardrobe were examined and exclaimed over. Wow. I pretended ignorance when I made the walk of shame within 30 minutes to claim the aforementioned articles of clothing, and gave friendly smiles in response to the leering grins of the guys on construction. Punks.
Thabeh lives here, with his wife, Mimi (23) and their two daughters, one of whom is The Monster, if you've followed recent Facebook photo albums. Mimi is a relative of Dockpo's family, and it's not uncommon for extended family to all remain nearby, or living together. Mimi and Thabeh are a lot of fun, and I enjoy the interaction with people closer to my age. My room is right over their central living area, the kitchen, and usually that isn't a problem, until Saturday night rolls around. I don't know why I should be surprised that a Saturday night has some universal meaning, but I quickly overcame that surprise as I listened to high-pitched Chinese opera and the sounds of rowdy excitement while trying to fall asleep during my first Saturday night here. Add to that the wails of over-tired 4 year-olds whose parents just want to party-hearty, and it's not the recommended wall of white noise supposedly optimal for REM. After two years in a college dorm (albeit a Cedarville college dorm) I think I can sleep through anything, and am more amused by the fact that a Saturday night is still a Saturday night, no matter where in the world.
On a typical night, and especially recently, I am joined by a Tibetan wolf, who I have christened Akela, from the Disney movie, "The Jungle Book." How do I know it's a wolf? I met him, face-to-face, on my way to the well the other night. Nothing scary, he just looked at me, started to follow me back inside until I shooed him away. Wikipedia confirmed it for me, as did the howling (as opposed to the common Tibetan dog's bark). It's become a nightly routine; Akela shows up under my window around 10:30pm and I listen to him howl and pace. Superstitious or not, it's like Akela is here for me in lieu of Ollie's recent departure, and I welcome his presence under my window.
I am constantly reminded of why I am here-- in this place of natural beauty, surrounded by the contrived beauty of a few good hearts who have dedicated their lives to the higher goals of being. Here's a quote from the short story "The Lady With The Little Dog," by Anton Chekhov, which, I think, expresses my sentiments much more capably than I ever could.
"Gurov reflected that, essentially, if you thought about it, everything was beautiful in this world, everything except for what we ourselves think and do when we forget the higher goals of being and our human dignity."
I wonder, does the altitude make my thoughts as clear as it does the mountain view?
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
My new friend and constant companion, Ollie, died on Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 3:00pm. He was a 7 week old, red-and-white Siberian Husky. I bought him in Xining during my first week in China when I saw his baby-blues peering out at me from a cage on the street in the Remin Gong Yuan. Ollie weighed about 6lbs when I brought him home, bathed him, and curled up with him on my bed to keep him warm during his first night with me.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
The next few days were more of the same, with the dingy white medical coat coming to my bed to attach more lines of the same three-course IV, while I groggily watched Season 7 of Seinfeld (a GODSEND that Dockpo happened to bring back from the States.) On Wednesday, however, the needle in my right hand bent and the glucose began running under the skin of my hand, swelling my hand to three times its normal size before anyone noticed and pulled out the offending needle. Because my normal doctor was busy, an ex-nurse was called in to put in a new needle and allow me to continue receiving meds/fluids through my un-glucose-swollen left hand.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Then you better go catch it! Yes, bad joke, but it describes perfectly our lives here at the Sengcham Drukmo Home. A shout out to my mom for convincing me to bring Kleenex packets; they've been put to excellent use on many noses, including my own.
*I posted three blog chapters at once, so please go to the right side of the page and find the links entitled “Last Night In Xining,” and “Goodbye China; Hello TAR!” They are written in that order, with “Is your nose running” posted last. I had to wait for our internet access to kick in here at the home before I was able to post, thank you for your patience and, as always, thank you for reading!
Sam will attest to the fact that I absolutely hate smelling like food, but if that is the only problem I have to overcome while here, then I consider myself lucky. I spend a lot of time in Shangbo's kitchen, as does the rest of Dockpo's family. It is information central, with heat, light, and food, and as a result, I come away smelling like dinner.
Dockpo's family is great; Zoba is the oldest. He is a monk and we have struck up a great relationship centered around our languages, but also in an amiable exchange of non-verbals. He teaches Buddhism and Tibetan Grammar in the monastery. Dockpo is next, and is clearly the driving force behind the mission of the home. Shangbo is the younger sister, and speaks some English, and I've been working with her on pronunciation and vocab. She has a German husband, who is currently in America, and she was actually a mail-order bride for her German husband, who, after meeting/marrying him in Xining, she “learned to love.” She lives at the home, and cooks for the family members and cares for the youngest sister's daughter. Shangbo is funny and sweet, and definitely wants to improve her English, which makes my job easy! The youngest sister, Semnyit, is a teacher of Tibetan Grammar at a school about 70 kilometers away. She speaks a little English, and has an infectious laugh. Semnyit stayed for a couple days to visit her daughter and I had the pleasure of meeting her. Dockpo agreed to care for Semnyit's 3 year old daughter when Semnyit and her husband divorced. And, last but not least, is Drokri, a 19 year old guy who was adopted by Dockpo's mother when he was little. Drokri is the resident big brother for the girls and delivers the wake-up call in the morning. He is on call to rescue shuttlecocks from the roof, mop floors, serve milk tea and be a generally friendly person. Drokri is attending school now, and is in the 9th grade (most students start at a later age than Americans-- usually they are lucky to be in school by age 7.)
Theron and Reuel would be quite proud of my newly-acquired skill of holding half a sheep leg in my hands and using a knife to carve away chunks of meat to eat. There is no clean way to do this, but, I'll admit, it is satisfying. I know I'm offending every vegetarian friend I have, and, believe me, I almost offend myself, but it's necessary. Actually, a lot of Tibetans are vegetarian; because of globalization they have much better access to fruits and vegetables that are impossible to grow at altitude. Buddhism does not dictate vegetarianism, but it does suggest the idea that animals and humans are equal. Eating meat used to be inescapable in this climate, but it was confined to eating large animals only. The idea is that one yak will feed many people, where as one fish feeds one person.
Eating is done with chopsticks, and we gather around a central table with different stir-fried food items that we place on rice or noodles. Everything is hot-- hot water, hot tea and you quickly understand why the Tibetan eating culture is defined by the slurping noise of quickly ingesting hot liquid/food before it cools in the freezing air.
During the day, it has been a pleasant temperature. Well, pleasant if you're wearing long-underwear and a good coat. At night everything freezes again and I wear the same amount of clothes to bed as I wear during the day. I have barely noticed the altitude; I might have been slightly short of breath while cleaning the yard on Sunday, but I am quickly acclimating. And I would gladly sacrifice my full lung capacity in order to appreciate the view, uninhibited by smog or haze. The weather here changes in an instant. Because of the valley situation, it will be cloudless and clear for five minutes, and then change to a solid block of cloud cover and driving snow in two minutes.
There is no heat in my room except for a stove pipe from the yak dung/coal stove downstairs, which does little against the large, curtainless windows in my room. Thankfully, I was raised in Maine, and I have experienced no greater discomfort than I have at home during a power outage. Although, the air is extremely dry, and I wake up fighting a terrible sore throat.
The bathroom is a porcelain hole in the ground right outside the main gate, inside a little wall, no ceiling and it is a daunting walk to face at night. I have been supplied with a wash basin and water heater in my room so that I can wash my face at night. The water heater is perfect also for boiling my drinking water, and I get my main supply of water from the well in the yard which only has one setting: torrential. It almost knocks me over every time I use it, but I'm learning quickly.
Yaks wander around the town in clusters of 5 or 6, digging through the trash for juicy, rotting supplements to their diet of the short grass growing on the nearby mountains, where they usually graze. Just yesterday, they ambled through the gate into our yard, and we had to shoo them out, like big, hairy dogs.
Speaking of dogs, every house in the village has a large, Tibetan dog attached to a chain and the dogs crouch in each front yard outside the main entrance. The dogs are big, like a large German Shepherd, but are brindled and black with brown ruffs and are hairy to the point of ambiguity. At night, they bark to each other like that scene in “101 Dalmatians” with the dog telegraph or whatever. All night long, no matter what time you're awake, they're barking. It's just part of the background noise.
Ollie (my Siberian Husky puppy) has been well-received by all the girls, and now has 50 girlfriends who wait on him hand and paw. The girls, at first an ambiguous body of strangers, are now separating into personalities and recognizable characteristics. They range from quiet and contemplative to crazy and slap-happy, ages 4 to 15. But they all love to sing and they sing together every morning and night, and love to sing in the classroom. I am going to teach them some easy songs that will help with English recall.
I have lost track of time; I'm not intensely aware of the date or day of the week as I would be at home. I've kissed culture shock goodbye, and am fully happy to embrace these moments. “and you learn slowly to recognize the very few things in which something eternal endures that you can love, and something solitary in which you can gently share.” RM Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet