Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trusting life vests

In January, I went rafting in the Nile at Jinja. On several of the large rapids, our boat flipped or I was flung into the currents. Years of having asthma have taught me to relax in such moments; panic yields little, instead, stay calm and trust that oxygen will eventually come. Sure enough, my life jacket buoyed me up to the surface often enough to gasp for air and the rapids eventually spit me out into peaceful waters. After each bout, I remounted myself at the head of the raft and waited to be catapulted again.

The last month has felt like I’ve been ejected into another category 5 rapid. The bustle that comprises the last month and a half of a school year has submerged me below the surface and I have had to simply trust that adrenaline will carry me; that a respite from the chaos will indeed come. That the grading, planning, extra events, million and one obligations and expectations, comment writing, proctoring, and meetings will eventually slow down. That I will eventually bob up into the calm of summer break.

Many good things have happened in the last month: my IB grade 12 students have finished their exams and have graduated. I have watched the new Global Issues Network group at my school grow from 0 to approximately 45 kids. My garden has finally started producing vegetables. The puppies I fostered have settled into new homes. My car is finally back in working order and ready to tackle Kampala's potholes. I have successfully written all my exams and semester comments. I have gone to Jinja again (this time just to relax… no rafting). The Ugandan walk-to-work protests have de-escalated from burning tires, flying boulders, live bullets, and tear gas to synchronized car honking and pink tinted water.The bill proposing the death penalty for people who are homosexual in Uganda was dismissed. I have created unit plans and syllabi for classes next year. Several potential new IB books have been finished and considered. I have relinquished control over things in my school that cannot be changed. I have celebrated friends who are moving on from Uganda. I have made new friends within the Kampala community.

All-in-all, it has been a month of many positive and productive steps. Yet, I cannot stress enough how much I am looking forward to surfacing for oxygen. June 18th cannot come soon enough!