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Adopting in Ashburn

What began in France moved to Washington, DC and then the suburbs. Let the adventures in Ashburn continue.

Monday, January 09, 2006

American Monday

I felt like I was having an actual day today. I had more than one job to do. I had work to do on my own. I had a few chores to finish in my room. I had responsibility. I love the feeling of being American.

I am not saying in any way that it is solely a western tradition to have those things, but it seems to me more and more that it is extraordinary here, and my day would have been like a really easy going Saturday back home.

I had class this morning and I had to go to three classrooms before one was empty. The one I found had a window that wouldn't close and an electric saw on metal and a drill going outside. It took most of the class to get the students going, and then the bell rang. I dropped my stuff and headed to my "Business Lunch." My client could barely string together sentences. I was supposed to talk to him - only in English - for an hour and a half. When half way through he reverted to french, I couldn't blame him. I went back to school and worked out my finances a little.

(I have this really cool program set up in Excel where I can keep track of every expenditure I make and compare the amount spent on any one type of item, say groceries, to the month before it. It calculates my monthly and yearly savings to date and how much of it can be spent on vacation to leave me with the same amount of money or more when I get back to the states. I can't believe I was nerdy enough to set it up, but I'm glad I did.)

I went upstairs afterwards and Anna and I settled up on the phone bill. I read until class again at 4. I taught for an hour. These students would probably tell anyone that they learned nothing with me. They told me, almost point blank, when I asked them which exercises they had enjoyed, "Nothing." But then they added the best word ... except. Except this or that, or this. And they were doing it in English, comprehensible English. They couldn't have done that three months ago. I take almost no credit - because they spend three times as much of their week with their other English teachers and no one learns anything unless they are really trying for it. But I had to smile as they got up to leave, I couldn't help myself.

I went to go buy meals for my meal card, but the guy wasn't there. So I sat outside for awhile and looked around. The moon was already out. There was a weird haze like someone was holding a gray veil over the sky. It was like a smoke that hurt your eyes to look into, not because it burned or had substance, but just because it was. I have only experienced a similar sensation once before ... looking up, in the middle of where Hamlin Terrace and Madison Place met and knowing as the rain fell down around me that I would never forget the blue-gray color of that sky. It was a weather related, unforgettable phenomenon.

I read a bunch and then went to dinner. Four girls I have never met sat down at my table to eat with me. Their "leader" said she just wanted to get to know me in response to their question, "why?" It was great to talk with them. Three of them were here for theater, gotta love the dramatic, and the other said something I didn't understand. They were all so vibrantly full of life in a weird way. I think that smoky sky thing was getting to me the way their .... that was it. They smiled. I don't think enough people smile here - not brightly anyway. And one of the girls asked why people hug each other in America. I said it was for the same reason they gave kisses here. It was great to not have to explain more than that.

Tonight I am going to write a summary of a project I have been thinking about for over a year and working on for more than two weeks. I can't exceed a page. Double spaced. I am sure you realize what a challenge this is going to be for me. I think I can face it. I am charged with the American endurance to get things done. I think I am being overly literary or poetical or something. But if my lame attempts at stylistic writing bother you, know that this is a temporary phase. Plus, you always have the choice to stop reading anyway. Gotta love those freedoms. Ugh, I am making myself sick now. Reading and writing tonight. And I fixed the blog so anyone can leave comments, so write a little yourself, okay? Love always, ~Heather

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