Do you know what it feels like when some days are so packed with activities not to mention emotions that when they are over it feels like a void in your mind which expects to be doing something again. Like using some great force to suck all liquid or gas from a container, creating vacuum.
I've had some most enjoyable days. Tiring, too, but that didn't really matter. To prove that, my body woke up around half past four without the alarm, probably following my mind which, even in sleep, didn't want to miss anything.
Never mind the countries - there are these two groups of students, living about 1400 kilometres apart. We visited them in September. I accompanied my students, afraid a little- Will they be polite? -They are not always. Will they be homesick? - Even five days could make you homesick. Will they communicate? - I do teach them English and have been for three years, almost four, how well are we doing when it comes to using it? Will they... be OK? They did fine. "Do we really have to leave?" was the question on the last night. Yes, but they're coming to us in a few months.
And they did. On Tuesday the 21st. We met them at the airport, accompanied them on their bus ride to school and the parents were waiting there with a snack, including a cake with the photo of both groups together. A few words, a bite and the kids (14, 15 yrs old) grabbed a ball and went out to play football. Everyone seemed pretty relaxed and we, the grown-ups, liked that.
In the following days we tried not to fill their days with school-like activities. Yes, we spent some time at school, but then they got to meet in their spare time in the afternoon. Two excursions, a lot of talking, some jokes, getting to know each other... The two grown-ups (the headmistress and a mum) met my mum on our afternoon trip and seemed to enjoy that day altogether, finding out that my sister's daughter is half an hour older than that mum's son whose name, bye the way, is the same as my son's. How small is this world?
Saturday came and we decided to conclude these wonderful days with a barbecue somewhere higher - some 1200 metres above the sea level. The parents chose the location and we all loved it. They also did soooooo much of the work, god bless them! From there we walked to the nearby peak and back (an hour or so altogether), after which the kids felt tired - not from the walk, really, but from all those days, packed wih so many nice things. But they listened to their teacher - no, not me, sorry, the other one. They got up, mixed a little on the grass, playing volleyball, singing, whatever they thought of. The weather which was threatning a little bit at the beginning, did us a favour and got better and better.
We were al trying to comprehend what we were experiencing and feeling. And feeling was a great part of it. On Thursday - "trip to mum's place" day - we had dinner at my place and I asked my daughter how she found the two omen who accompanied the students. "I'm so glad they are not uptight," she said. Indeed they aren't. I felt like we had known each other for years. And we could talk about anything. And we all feel that this MUST GO ON.
Yep, I feel lucky again. I told the parents and the students about it. Lucky to be surrounded with such people in this time when we can do this exchange and take our students so far to learn about the world. My contribuition was small. really, just a few trips and some worries, after all the organizing, done by others. Yep, lucky.
After reading what I wrote above, you may wonder: "What' the big deal?"
You should've been there to know and understand. To feel. That positive energy among all these people. Among these teenagers whom we tend to find dificult and you know - teenager-like. Among their parents who hope it doesn't stop here. Among the students' younger siblings who are already asking if they, too, will be able to go when they're in the 8th or 9th grade....
We didn't say goodbye, just "see you", still we didn't want to let them go. Many hugs and good wishes - yes, they're great huggers - and plans for the future.
And now I'm having a break. A week off. Not even school. After such a full week. And I' alone. My son's out, my daughter went to Rome, the afternoon is all mine. It feels like vacuum. But like tiredness, I know this, too comes from something nice. And I have the opportunity to think things over, prepare for next week and it gives me time to feel this LUCKY feeling.