02 March 2011

I hope you were the mold that made penicillin.

Another change: My tolerance of mold and other moisture.

Ecuador is wet. It rains basically every day. The humidity in the air means that my clothes never dry: they have this permanent chill when you put them on in the morning due to the almost-damp. Mold grows profusely everywhere (and the lack of refrigeration doesn't help matters).

Maryam said the other day "Try not to mind the mold. I think of it as friendly mold."  And though its not as if we live in a petri dish, I have become comfortable with "friendly mold". Not in terms of eating it, and not in terms of not cleaning, but being able to deal with it.

The way I think of it, mold has cured a ton of diseases, and so with this exposure to spores and bacteria, my body could absorb a cure, or at least build up a ton of resistance.

Mold, you and I live a peaceful coexistence.

Approach to Sleep

Another change: My approach to sleep and travel.

For me, travel used to be a big deal. If I went anywhere, it would be in a plane. Here, I can win 10 fingers because I've been in a plane (in a pickup truck full of youth, 5 or 6 of us have been in a plane). Coming back really late at night or early in the morning would necessitate a day or at least a morning off to rest. Sleep was something that I needed every night, and if I missed a night I would have to take part of a day to catch up.

Now, I'm looking at getting on a bus tonight, arriving at the beach tomorrow morning, going dancing tomorrow night, going to the beach Friday morning, taking a bus back home Friday night, and waking up early on Saturday in order to go zip-lining. Then on Sunday I'm getting up early to drop Emily off at the airport and grading what will be a mountain of papers in time for school on Monday.

And the funny thing is, this is a plan that I am okay with. I am not searching my schedule for naptimes (although I'm sure I'll want them). The idea of going going going like this, riding busses through the night and waking up incredibly early is part of the culture, and although I am not super enthused about the getting up early part, I have learned to live (and teach classes!) on 3 hours of sleep.

01 March 2011

MY SISTER IS A POET (And I for one know it!)

Here is the beautiful work of my beautiful sister:

The World At War
By Cori Schleich, February 2011

The world is at war, so get out your armor,
Cause there’s nowhere to go to escape these encounters.
Just like the clash of the Titans,
We got the clash of the mighty
Nations, fightin’ for rights, for control,
for fuel and for power.
Power surges through our veins, like cocaine,
It’s insane the way we play like a game,
Woundin’ and killin’  our rivals
Like that will stop all the pain
From invading our brains,
We simply cannot refrain
From hurting each other.
Can you hear ‘em?
In the land of the pyramids,
We got Arabs all in the midst
Of oppression, aggression,
Their leaders keep on transgressin’
Can’t even get a genuine
Right to expression,
So they shout, cause they doubt
Their president’s prowess to lead,
And they don’t want to bleed
They just want to be appeased
Instead of turning their cheeks,
They finally stand up for their creed.
Let’s proceed to Iraq and Iran, and so on
Where distress is brought on
By the government’s chaos,
That seems stuck on the blood
And the violence that abducts
any chance of becoming
But let me tell you, it’s there.
The writing’s on the wall
I can feel it in the air, so prepare.
I’m the Army of Light,
I won’t dare quit the fight,
I’ll devote my life,
Cause I can’t just tight and wait for the
World to aspire.
I’m lighting the fire, I’m out to inspire,
To remind humankind of our inherent desire
For peace, for love, for unity.
You can call me a hippie, but here’s an epiphany:
No one wants misery.
Think of the imagery,
Kids playin like Disney,
Different races habitually loving one another,
Their colors brilliantly contrasting
It’s a symphony of diversity.
Government speaking unequivocally
Of equality, of greatness, of justice, of
So stop with this gluttonous, greedy ugliness
And let’s reach out for the oneness,
For the veritable tranquility.
It’s a thunderous feeling,
To know we’re unleashing the change
That will deliver this world
Into serenity….

And also: 
Cori Schleich
18 February 2011
What I’m For
I’m for sunsets,
For the force of life that burns your heart
And lights the fire in your life
And you catch your breath
And absorb the world.
I’m for running for something,
Till your lungs catch the flame, too.
            I’m for responsibility, for mistakes,
            And what you gain, what you see
            From the depths of a consequence,
            From the journey out.
                        I’m for helping, for caring,
                        Cause when you show
                        That you can care, then they know
                        And that care will just grow
                        Like fire in a dry meadow.
                                    I’m for understanding,
                                    Not reprimanding.
                                    For reaching out, for believing,
                                    In the world, in your friend, in yourself.
                                                I’m for self-worth and self-love,
                                                For affirmations, for pep talks,
                                                For weeping when it’s too much,
                                                Then standing up and moving on.
                                                            I’m for feeling every emotion,
                                                            Noticing every notion,
                                                            Fighting against the spinning earth,
                                                            Then letting go and…
                                                            Shhh, just let it happen.
                                                            Let the world and
                                                            All its fury and pain
                                                            Wash over me like a showering rain,
                                                            Because I’m for knowing it’ll change.
                                                                        I’m the music in all of us,
                                                                        For the melody of voices all together,
                                                                        Perfect unity in diversity,
                                                                        Free from animosity, only generosity
                                                                        With a lack of hypocrisy.
                                                                                    Perfect beauty reflected in the mixture
                                                                                    Of all hearts, of all humans.
                                                                                    I’m for music that slides into your mind
                                                                                    Not as a note, but as a word,
                                                                                    A color, a taste, a thought a tear.
                                                                                                I’m for acceptance of the way things are,
                                                                                                Awareness for the way things can be,
                                                                                                Courage to change them,
                                                                                                Courage to realize that
                                                                                                            I’ve got more for the world.

 I think the work speaks for itself. I'm so lucky to be the sister of someone with this heart and this capacity of expression.

28 February 2011

Changes, part 1

I've changed since coming here because:

My attitude towards children. Today, after coming to school with me, Emily said to me "I'm so glad you like kids now." And its true. I have changed from referring to children under the age of 10 as "it" to a Mother Goose, Come-give-me-a-hug moosh! type person.

I think it would be impossible for this change not to come about. But I have to admit I was surprised at the magnitude and rapidity of my about-face where los niƱos are concerned. It seems that once I became comfortable with children, their weird questions and comments become endearing (I had one of my students say "My mother has a seed in her belly that will come out later as a baby and then I won't be the youngest" today). Their unconditional love is not so much a responsibility or trap as a mutual happiness in being together. Their different perspective of the world can be seen as individual, not a universal age-separator. As a good friend once said, I was not racist, I was kid-ist. And now I am no longer kid-ist.

It feels good to have that prejudice fall away.

The thing that surprises me most is how much I enjoy teaching, albeit I know I enjoy the virtues education classes I teach much more than English. The idea of finding an explanation that someone with the experiences, knowledge, and vocabulary of a particular age group, while also thinking of ways to plant seeds that will blossom into further understanding in time, is truly a challenge that I enjoy.* I like watching the learning process go on in the completely open face of a 6-year-old. I love the rush of joy that comes when a certain type of discipline or presentation of material just works, even for one kid. And I truly love the kids themselves. Individually. In classes. In school. When they see me outside of school and the next day tell all their friends as if they saw a celebrity. When I tell them they got a spelling bee word wrong and they burst into tears.

I like kids.



27 February 2011


EMILY IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I am very, very happy.

Also, I FINISHED BOOK 6!!!! And I am tutoring Book 5, which is my absolute favoritest book ever! And my Spanish-power-of-expression is growing by heaps and bounds as I am explaining the meaning of words and concepts during my one-on-one tutoring. Now if I could only finish book 7...

 I LOVE RUHI!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, on a side note, I am not going on to facebook for the remainder of the Bahai Year*. Because I am in the midst of serving! I am devoting a year of my life, and how much have I already wasted on facebook? Not that I don't love staying connected, but I am starting to think how it will feel to leave here (BAD FEELING) and I want to get the most out of my time here. I'll keep up with my blog, and twitter, and skype, and email. That's enough, huh?

*Namely, Naw Ruz, which is on March 23. But if I don't miss it, I may just not use facebook for longer...