Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Walking the Blog

Today was a spectacular day; I wanted to take my new camera out to see what I could see.

  Looking out over Highland Park

Buddha with cactus and chicken

On Sundays, I make a point of walking by the chicken on Sunnyhill Rd. to say hello, then down the dirt path that links up to Museum Dr., but today the path was full of rocks, a result of an avalanche spill down the canyon wall. On some days I walk around this hill without seeing a soul. I find this to be the best time to think. A lot of my blog posts are made up this way, while walking. They come, as if floating down from overhanging trees, and when they do, I feel lucky, figuring them out with each step. Then I go home and write them down the way I composed them in my head. Some days it's a simple matter, but other days, it's a ridiculously long slog to make what was simple work. But today, nothing came, because I'd been thinking of other things, things that had nothing to do with blogging and only made me tense. When this happens it's best to accept the inevitable and look around.

(click on photos to see full frame)

Thursday, March 8, 2012


When I think of quitting my job, I think of my favorite students— Keyong, Soon, Gloria and Sang. They're so much fun, but they really need to be getting along. They've already graduated from my class but are sticking around, because, truthfully, they fear they can't make it on their own. 
(Keyong, left, Soon, below with Bogdan)

They view the native born English speaker as an alien creature, one that has no interest in them, in fact, looks right through them when they pass by. My students once had hopes of learning English, but after years of living here, have grown disillusioned. Yet, somehow, they landed in my classroom. 

In the last year, I've learned of their sacrifices as immigrants— the jobs they've taken on to survive, the loneliness of not being part of this society. They've slowly opened up as they've peeled back the layers of their disappointment. Gloria, the shy one, is beginning to talk; Keyong, the troublemaker, has become serious about pronouncing her "f's" and "z's," sounds that have resulted in misunderstandings and strange looks. 


The difficulty of leaving this job is that my students are such a responsive audience. Tonight, when we were studying the future "real" conditional, I told them the story of Aunt Ruth: Aunt Ruth, who was short and round, went on a diet motivated solely by the $10,000 my father offered if she could loose 10 pounds. Every day she went to Erhlers for lunch, ordering a two-scoop ice-cream cone, but instead of losing ten pounds she gained it. My students wanted to know if there really was such a thing as an American ice-cream diet and I told them yes. They laughed appreciatively, and for a moment I wavered in my resolve to quit my job. Regardless, they need to go. As I need to go on. In that way, we're not so different, my students and I.