Posts from February, 2010
(I’m in them.)
1. Winter won’t quit.
2. It’s cold as [something really, really cold].
3. There hasn’t been a drop of sun for the past four days and it is not expected for the next three.
4. I’m calcium-deficient. (Obviously.)
5. It’s still insanely dark, morning and night.
6. The fluid behind my eyeballs is pushing them in the wrong direction. (Though I guess too far in the right direction is the wrong direction too.)
7. My feet are cold. (What, you thought #2 covered that?)
8. People are being demanding and whiny this week.
9. The kid upstairs is better at Italian than I am. (He knows the word for “ferret,” which I definitely do not.)
10. Other annoying things.
11. See? I’m too SAD even to finish my doldrums list.
12. Static electricity.
(Yes, I know there are worse things, but you know what they say, He Who Never Complains Goes Down The Drain.)
(No, nobody says that.)
Just wondering, do you think entire car factories reek of New Car Smell? Obviously, if so, it wouldn’t be as enticing as actual new car smell, day after day non-stop smelling all those plastics and metals and oils and god knows what else, it would become like smelling too much chocolate can make you want to T U*.
But still I wonder if the first day walking into a factory is filled with all the joy and hope and dollar signs flashing before one’s eyes that the first day in a new car is.
Or if it starts out smelling like any other factory — so, not good. Ford, I’m looking at you.
*You’ll never see or hear this phrase in its entirety around here.
Feeling a little dead inside today. Remembering these Rwandan kids both makes me happy and fills me with a sense that I am not doing enough. For them or for me. This is a new year: GET ON IT.
From May 18, 2009
The travel time back home yesterday worked out to be something like thirty hours, giving us ample time to sit in that awkward place between missing the village and being eager to get back into a regular routine. And now that those thirty hours are over, and I’ve had a hot shower and slept in my own bed, I can’t close my eyes without seeing the faces I met this week.
Visiting the new home of one hundred twenty five students was humbling. They walk a mile uphill to the Dining and the School (often in the rain, so maybe they’ll tell “back in my day” stories years from now), every shower of theirs is cold (they don’t know hot water but for the tea that is a luxury to them), they call their home “America,” and their families are now each other (“we are a team,” Fabien said). They are the most open and generous group of young adults — of adults I have ever met.
I have never felt so welcomed on such a scale.
Which made it very difficult to leave the Dining yesterday, waving with two hands at some of the people who we’ve come to know this week, watching them clean up the tables according to their regular duty, and knowing that their lives will continue on, much the same as we’ve seen — only without us.
So what will our lives be like? Mostly the same as they were, only hopefully with more of the students in them. There is so much more work to be done, and no one is more deserving than these kids who work so hard, who struggle against memories that could destroy them, who are daily trying to learn — English, math, science, culture, the world — forging friendships that will make life-long family, and becoming the people they are told they can be.
On the drive from JFK, I was having trouble recognizing places along the way, places I’ve seen a hundred times. The lower east side was a totally foreign landscape. Union Square, which I look at every day, suddenly seemed tiny like a toy. Passing restaurants, something was just off about them.
And the only thing I can conclude is that this past week has just been so huge. Yes, Africa is on the grandest scale there is, but I mean emotionally, intellectually, culturally. Coming back to “the greatest city in the world” feels much smaller than it used to.
If you’re looking for a trippy five minutes, have iPhoto play back the last four months of your life in random order, each photo getting no longer than three seconds on your screen.
Cut to: playing with Pano at our old apartment,
plated dishes at culinary school, white coated new cook friends, a freshly beheaded lobster’s twitchy death,
Halloween party prep,
our long Christmas drive,
new glasses, apartment hunting in no fewer than five hundred places, Jane Krakowski as a child actor,
photos of some things we sold, some things I cooked, funny things in stores,
holiday parties, the Cracker Barrel, the Mississippi River at night, a bad milkshake,
photos of photos,
a wall I painted over,
all the holes I filled (come on, I’m talking SPACKLE),
tons of random hold-your-arm-out photos,
an apartment we almost committed to in a moment of pure insanity… Definitely looks like it’ll be ready on time, right?
and finally, our perfect new home.
It’s been a long four months, but I’m feeling pretty good.