Friday, August 01, 2003

Turn out the lights, the party's over. Julian and I return Sunday, Aug. 3 with mixed feelings. He swears the first four things he's going to do is eat a burrito, drink a glass of cold milk, sit on a toilet and drink from the faucet. I don't particularly miss the States at the moment, however and am not particularly looking forward to returning to a more familiar grind. Exotic grind has been good. Last night and this morning marked the camp's closing. The teachers were treated like major celebs, posing for countless photos, signing camper T-shirts, and occasional body parts at every turn. I hadn't felt this adored since 8th grade when my garage band played a dance for a group home of retarded kids who thought we were the Beatles.
Saturday morning, as I write this, just concluded with a morning of ceremonies and speeches and flowers. At the last minute Sally Wu asked me to make a speech on behalf of the American teachers due to my "senior" status as the eldest teacher. I was dripping sweat and, like Lincoln on the way to Gettysburgh, wrote it on the back of an envelope. Unlike Lincoln, nothing I wrote was memorable and I had a hard time reading my words as the ink was smeared with my sweat. Many campers left crying and swearing eternal memories of the teachers. Some teachers received gifts, including S, who got a marvelous terra cotta Buddha from one student. She showed it to V, the born again Christian who recoiled.
"It's an idol!" she said distainfully.
"Yes, but it's beautiful," replied S.
"If it was mine, I'd chuck it out the window!" retorted V. V also distinguished herself at the goodbye ceremonies by insisting on exchanging the bouquet of flowers she received for one that better matched her dress, a pink gauzy ensemble that resembled Stevie Nicks' bathroom curtains.
On a happier note, as goodbyes were exchanged there was from a hefty 12-year-old student of mine named William to Julian, who also boasts a few extra pounds. "We are both fat," William told Julian. "But we are handsome."
Signs in the school bathrooms. "Water is the source of life. Don't let me tearing."

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