Yesterday was the last day with my 301 minions. Çok sadness. Also, my bro bro is moving cross-country..la chance. What a hard day. Sometimes I sit and wonder “who are you.” I sometimes think back to all of the things and the places I’ve seen as well as all that I’ve done in this life or that’s happened to me and wonder “was that real? Did you go there and truly have those experiences?” Well, I did, but it is kind of one of those things that turns into a hazy mist; you know, the kind that you see in your dreams or those distant memories that people show on t.v. shows when they’re thinking back to some past time.. that’s kind of how I’m feeling now.
I taught a special program at OSU-Stillwater this past month and worked in conjunction with their language institute, their international studies department, and the Mexican government. The program was called Proyecta 100,000 and hopes to send 100,000 Mexican students and professors to the U.S. to better their language skills and knowledge about the country, culture, and its values. Perhaps it was poorly planned (yes); perhaps it felt like I was back in Turkey with the disorganization on all levels (YES); or perhaps it was the fact that we didn’t have any measurable learner goals in my opinion (YES!) that it felt like somebody was taking my patience and grating them into a fine pulpy mess to then be regurgitated to the students. Ugh! It was a trying month and though I’m sad to see my wee ones (well some of them are older than me) leave me, I’m glad it’s over. Despite all of this, my students loved me and were sad to leave me and their classmates. I was shocked! I could have sworn they hated me and thought the class was basic as hell but they surprised me Wednesday evening during their final two presentations. Apparently, those little sneaky things, all consorted together and threw a surprise party for me. One of the presentations was over food here in the States and food there in Mexico. The final presentation was with Sergio and Eric and they made a final slide dedicated to me. I literally flooded the room with tears. It was just so thoughtful! They were thanking me for being a great teacher and that they had never learned English until they came to my class. That they appreciated all that I had done for them and that they were going to miss me. Again, I could have sworn they were bored to death in my class and weren’t learning anything…but OBVIOUSLY what do I know. Afterwards, Selene informed me that all the food that she had just crowded my desk space with was in fact for me and that they were more or less half apologetic (my words, not hers) for not getting my permission first…Me…I said, “let’s have a party, y’all!” and we danced and danced to both American and Mexican songs. It was great. At the end of class they presented me with a turquoise sparkle journal they’d all written something in for me (except Alfredo…dunno his deal) and told me it was because they were Freedom Writers too since I had them watch that the film for class a few weeks back and they wrote several journals for my class. haha. I nearly cried and had to have a group hug. Afterwards, Selene and Karen stayed behind to give me a few things and I must say, they touched my little beating thing in my chest. Karen’s letter was the most touching thing I think I’ve read in awhile. I’ll maybe post it later.