Up the staircase and down the hallway, cliques of adolescent girls or boys gather like dust bunnies in corners or around trash bins. Their voices mingle with the crunch of chips, the smell of overcooked hot dogs, and the vision sunbeams showing in the dusty air.
Entering the classroom with no doorknob, accidentally kicking an empty water bottle left on the floor, and piling my things on the empty student desk at the front of the classroom, I let out a sigh and smile at the students who are milling around the room. It's warm today, but not bright. The haze hides some of the sun, and the students have pasted pieces of paper to the windows to keep from being blinded on the sunnier days.
I smile, nod. Some rush past me with a mumbled phrase in Kurdish or English. Rubbing hard, I erase that morning's math lesson from the white board, the ink well soaked in and all over. In a few minutes, the bell will ring... a mass of students, half of them screaming, will rush toward their classrooms. Others will dawdle, waiting until the last minute to enter, pretending to throw away trash or that they were in the bathroom. And then, then, I'll quiet them, then I begin. Then it finally gets quiet enough for me to hear the pain throbbing in my head and I am filled with wonder.
142. That the headache comes on a day where I have very little lecturing to do.
143. A silky bright orange scarf
144. Boxes with gifts from friends and family
145. Little cheepers running towards me for breakfast
146. Starting thankfulness lists with my Muslim students... who knows...
147. The painting Pauli made for me
148. New cross-stitch colors to fill in missing spots
149. Laurel's willingness to take care of me
150. Water... that we can drink it and it tastes good!
151. Language lesson revelations... I finally understood the word for wash in the present tense!
152. Giving away books and stories of others who have given away books