Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back to Reality, For Better or Worse

Hello Friends and Family, (and Friends of Family--thanks for fowarding my blog, Leen!)

It has been a busy, "confusing" week here in Japan. Note: One of my students, who runs a hotel, when asked how his week went, always responds, "Velly confusing". He means "hectic". But I like confusing better. It fits so well with having two kids, working two jobs and navigating the lunacy of military life. I so get what he's saying.

Anywho, school is in, of course. My blissful, zen existence of the first day was brief and zen experiences tend to be. I am back as a substitute teacher and working pretty regularly. I have also added on another private student, as well as begun teaching two classes at a Japanese school. I really adore my new student. He is 75 years old but looks and acts like he's 60. He reminds me of my dad--robust, snow white hair, super kind and enjoys his grandkids. Living on a military base, you just don't see a lot of "old" people. I love being around Japanese seniors--they are just like their american counterparts in so many ways. They have "seen it all" and "done it all", but don't pretend to "know it all". Refreshing.

My first week back at subbing reminded me why I love that job. First, I get paid more than many of the full time aides. Second, the kids are hilarious.

My first gig was with the Special Ed preschoolers. Normally, this is a special rung in Dante's hell. However, as luck would have it, only TWO kids showed up the first morning. Most of the children are autistic, which means they are stubborn as hell, but easily distracted. As we were swinging on the playground during some well earned "distraction" time, one little girl started freaking out about some flame-colored dragonflies that were swooping over our heads. I explained to her that dragonflies were not bees, they did not sting and there was nothing to be afraid of. "They are friendly," I said. "They love to play," I said. "They are lucky," I said.

Next thing I know, she is chasing after one with her arms spread wide to the sky, yelling, "Come here Mr. Dragonfly, I want to hug youuuuuuuuu!" Then, she ran after another one making kissing noises (mwah, mwah, mwah, I love you Mr. Dragonfly!) across the expanse of playground. She and the little boy sprinted after them for 15 minutes, calling for the dragonflies to "come back" when they disappeared over the fence. They obliged. Which sent the two shrieking and giggling in another direction. (There was no end to the dragonflies...apparently these bright orange ones are a harbringer of Fall, according to my friend Keiko, and they just happened to pop out for the first week of school).

After 15 minutes of wind sprints and general hilarity, I look over and the little boy is face down on the cement with his arms and legs splayed out in all directions. He looked like preschool roadkill. I asked him if he was all right. He replied, "I'm hot." And didn't move. It's amazing how we don't notice discomfort when we are really enjoying the Joy Luck Club called life.

Yes, dragonflies are very lucky, I think.

1 comment:

Dan Harrison said...

Aunt Nan,

So glad to see that you are putting your daily observations in the form of a blog. Check out my blog, Love you lots.

Big Dan