All of a sudden I am a mother of three! Such energy the two boys from Taiwan have brought to our household! Derrick and I have such a rhythm to our days. This is a nice distraction and break from our routine. It reminds me of when Derrick was that young and playing with friends at home.
Listening to the boys play and talk is pure delight. I don't understand one word of Chinese, but listening to them is fun. They've been polite and are definitely members of the clean plate club. They've eaten everything I've put in front of them. They've asked questions about some things, but haven't turned up their noses at anything, like so many American children are apt to do.
The entire group gathers together every Saturday morning for an event. Yesterday we went to Conner Prairie, an historical view of Central Indiana. We'd hoped to go on a hot air balloon ride, but weren't able to do so due to the high winds. After lunch we went with a smaller group to a pumpkin patch. Traditional hayrides, wandering through a couple of corn mazes, painting small pumpkins, playing outside til we're all exhausted. Lots of fresh air! We made pizza for dinner. They both thought they were the best pizza chefs.
I was afraid that they would be homesick. But having a friend with them helps. Glad I decided to take two. Thee is always someone that understands them! I think it has helped that Derrick has a friend from Taiwan. He came over the first night to welcome them to America. Also hung out with us at the pumpkin patch in the afternoon. D thinks it's great that the Asians outnumbered the whites for once! The boys have a computer with them, provided by their school. The fact that they can skype with their family back in Taiwan almost every day helps with the homesickness, too. It isn't like summer camp, after all!
I've tried to warn them about taking things to school . . . wonder how long it will take before someone steals something from them. I was horrified to hear from J's teacher this week that his phone went off in the middle of class! Not only that he got a text message in the classroom, but mostly because he had his phone at school. In his back pack, not a pocket. I've had Mr. P talk to them about it. We'll see!
The entire school has wrapped their arms in welcome to our 12 students. I had an obligation on Friday night so my boys spent time with 4 other teachers. Another teacher joined us at the pumpkin patch yesterday afternoon. Another teacher has invited us to trick or treat with her family tonight. Not only do they welcome the students, but I feel closer to some of my colleagues because of this experience. A good way for our school to bond together.
All weekend the Dierks Bentley song title keeps going through my mind. No, I'm not crazy enough to run in the truck through danger . . . but What Was I Thinking?
Today is the last day I have before my two students from Taiwan arrive for a month. Into my humble home. Dropped into an inner city school during the day. Into two crazy cats and one teenager. To show them "typical America." Am I that? My single parent home. I certainly feel far away from the excess and success that so many people in the world associate to America.
Most of the house is clean enough. Working on the study today. Oh my. This space where I work on lessons, pay bills, do art work, house my books, sew, create words, dream. Little piles of all the pieces I am. Once I was brave enough to take a photo of my study. Not today. Maybe only an after picture . . . someday. Not today, I think.
Still, it is a good idea to have them here. Something that has the potential to make a lasting impact on the four of us in years to come. A connection across the world that will exist forever. I've always had friends around the globe, this is just another one. Sharing our daily lives for a month will connect us in a way that few have the opportunity to have. It isn't just a sight seeing trip.
Then there is the idea of them at school. Oh my. Please, please don't think of America as just that vision of the inner city school. While there are good things that happen there every day, glimmers of hope and progress, learning . . . there is also the angry voice, the bullying and meanness between, random acts of violence and destruction.
Hopefully they will see through some of that to the goodness that exists in the individual students and teachers there. Hopefully they won't be disappointed in our daily life. Hopefully they think cats are OK. Hopefully they won't think our food is disgusting. Hopefully they will see the love that exists in our home, our safe haven in the world. Hopefully they will have a good impression of America to take back to their family and friends in Taiwan. Hopefully they will have positive experiences to remember about America in their years ahead. To remember that there are those of us who try to make a difference in the world and that the small pieces (like those found in my study) make up more than the whole that others sometimes see.
Not too long ago I went out for lunch on a lovely Sunday afternoon. It was a hot day, one of many this summer. But I had the feeling as though it might be one of the last times I might be able to go to the local pub and sit outside for lunch. I wanted to enjoy the day. I was seated by the hostess and waited for the server to come. Soon she was there and greeted me with, “You’re all by yourself?!”
Wow. What a bummer. Nothing like making someone feel like a real for sure looser. I’m sure that wasn’t her intention, and perhaps I was feeling a bit vulnerable. No, come to think of it, I wasn’t. I’d gone to a beautiful meditation in the morning and was feeling surrounded by love. Just because a person is alone doesn’t mean they are unloved. I remember thinking, I have lots of friends, they just don’t happen to live here in Indianapolis! But, of course, I didn’t need to justify myself to her. Even during the lunch, I chatted with the couple at the next table. Brings to mind the book I’m reading for school right now, The Power of Words. We never really know how someone else will take what we say, however innocent the words may be.
Today I am thankful for the friends I have. Even though they may not be located physically near me, they are out there. These are the friends that are soul friends. It doesn’t matter how long it has been since we were last together. It could be years. But when we see or talk on the phone, even chat on line, it is as though we are together again, sitting at a kitchen table, chatting together over a cup of tea of coffee. (Or maybe at a pub to share a glass of wine!) We pick up on the strand of Life that connects us and brings us together immediately. I’m grateful I have so many of these friends.
These are the friends that provide my life with light and love.
Lori, sister first, friend forever
Kay, a new lake friend. Warm and intelligent.
Karen, ready for a day of hiking.
Barb L. College roommate, life long friend.
Rachel, providing music. Far now in miles, but not in heart.
Tina. Pure light.
Surrounded by Carolyn and Lori. What could be better?
Laura. A friend found in Texas. Interwoven stories.
Alicia and her new love. Blessed to watch her grow.
Can't have too much of Kay and Lori!
Beate. Beautiful B.
Only too bad that none of them were present to show the waitress that I truly am not by myself!
Last night a baby opossum showed up on the patio. Checking the doors before bedtime, I wasn't particularly surprised to see him. Opossums are frequently seen at night. But such a little one! It looked so vulnerable, so precious, as most young animals do. It sat on my chair, washing his face. When it looked up and saw me there was no alarm on his face, pure trust. I was able to see his claws, his still young soft fur, his whiskers.
Mind you, I've never considered opossums to be cute, cuddly creatures. This one was different. I wanted to share it with someone. Tommy, my big tabby, finally looked to see what I was looking at. Then Bitty, watching us both, came to see what Tommy was looking at. The cutie had by now crawled off the chair and made his way to investigate the plastic that D had left on the floor, after unwrapping some firewood. He crawled inside the plastic and I was actually concerned he might be suffocated by it! It made a rustling as he moved in it and he slowly turned around to hiss at the invisible perpetrator. Kitties watching in amazement, Bitty's tail twitching. He didn't seem the least little bit concerned by any of us. Is it possible he understood the window between us kept him safe from us? He made eye contact, so I'm certain he knew we were there.