‘Twas Almost Vacation

Written for the teachers at my school…

‘Twas almost vacation and throughout the school
While kids were frenetic, the teachers were cool
A few students traveled but most were still there
To finish December with ganas and flair.

Assessments completed and conferences done
This last week of learning was different, was fun
ManageBac housed all the comments, each grade
The teachers drank coffee. The children?  They played-

They argued at 4-square, though no one was mean;
They gossiped of summer- The beach! What a scene!
They played (it was recess), they hadn’t a care.
They knew their escuela would always be there

Then one of the students she noticed the time
The teachers were missing, the bell didn’t chime.
The counselors, Katie and Rox, disappeared
With Sandra and Rosi and Victor.  How weird!

“Should we be worried?”
“Or should we be scared?”
Some started screaming but mostly they stared.
When up on the bridge there arose such a noise
That it grabbed the attention of girls and the boys.

First Flores, and, Dierkes then Reeves and Bené
Ms. Mincha and Uchi, Ms. Wiley, Ms. Lay,
Ms. Delia, Wellner and Page, Hollowáy
Ms. Emily, Fuller, McGlothin and Rae.

They stomped on the bridge and they stomped really loud
The rest of us teachers we joined in the crowd.
We sang for the kids and we danced way up high
They applauded for us then we chanted goodbye-

“The time is 12:20, it’s time for vacation
“Go travel! Go Read!” we sang with elation.
“Your work is now done here we’ve journeyed quite far
“Don’t’ stop and play 4 square, Go get in your car!”

The children all cheered as they said their goodbyes
They raced to their rides a bit older, more wise.
We waved to each bus as they drove out of sight-
Great vacation to all and to all a good night.

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Becoming Peruvian Part 3

The singing lady from my previous visit received the documents today.  She was very kind with a positive, can-do spirit.  She also had a good sense of humor about the limitations of the system.

We arrived at Migraciones in Breña at 9:45 AM for the 10:15 appointment.  The taxi ride, again, took 45 minutes.  This time they called me in at 10:00 AM, 15 minutes early.  As she reviewed my paperwork she commented, “Hiciste bien tu tarea.”  That means that I did my homework well, the papers were all in order.  I thought that the amount time in the office would be less this time but I was wrong.

As she reviewed the papers she rearranged them, checked them, returned some of them to me and asked questions.  She had me put my fingerprint on several documents and went to the waiting area for Ana Maria’s fingerprint.  She asked how I met Ana Maria, if I had ever been to Arequipa, what I teach.  I couldn’t tell if this was normal conversation or her checking out the veracity of our marriage.  She also asked why we were giving her all of the documents that were required for our marriage license from 17 years ago.  I explained the problem with my last name, at which time the lady from last week chimed in with an, “I remember you; they gave you two last names.”  Yep, that’s why we returned.

Then the singing attendant took out two highlighters, one pink and one yellow.  She began looking through the list of arrivals and departures that Ana Maria and I had in the system; she wanted to see if we were both in Peru when we married and if we traveled together.  She also took out two forms that I needed to fill out and sign.  I asked her, “Aren’t these the same two forms that are on the second page of the other form, the one I already filled out and signed?”

She smiled and said, “Yes, they are.  Please fill them out.”  Her demeanor told me that she understood the stupidity of it.  I appreciated that.  Systems!

Ready to open the new citizenship file in the computer she logged in and, well, everything can’t go right: the system was down.  After trying several other computers she looked for and found a tech specialist.  The mere presence of the specialist threatened the computer enough to make the system work (a very similar thing happened to me at school a few months ago!).

At about 11:20 I left her office with the number of my case file and a promise that I would hear an answer in 30 working days.  I also had her office phone extension because as she said, “Sometimes it takes longer and you have to call.  But we try and we are getting better.”

This was a day of good service in a year of good service.  Now I wait.

She Was Love

She was love
and she was loved.

Some people represent home
that feeling of welcome
the warm embrace
whenever
wherever

She was one of those people who
don’t have to do or
create or
cook or
go out
or… or… or

Just be
Just be love
radiate love
Laugh heartily
In conversation
Share the stories
Call you out
And in

In all of your OK-ness
just as you are
as she is
So it is

So she will be missed

Fidget Spinner

A broken skateboard on the ground
was days-old trash until I found
some greased ball bearings deep within.
Thought I’d take ‘em for a spin.

I grabbed a vice grip and a pliers
and pulled apart the useless tires.
When I got the needed part
was when my project I could start.

My sister drinks a lot of juice-
her bottle caps I put to use.
In three red caps I placed a dime
and filled with clay to save some time.

The fourth red cap- I had to cut
away the top and leave a rut
around the middle without tearing
the place I’d put the greased ball bearing.

But still my project wasn’t done
I went to get my grandma’s gun
(a gun for glue, so don’t you worry).
I pegged the pieces without hurry.

So now the part I really hate
the glue sets slow so I must wait.
My patience pays off in the end.
Participating in the trend

I rush to show it to a friend.
He laughs and asks what did I spend?
“Designed and built with nothing new!”
He pauses, asks, “Can I …
… build one too?”

Social Currency

She listened carefully, watching his face, watching his lips. When he finished speaking, her eyes looked up and to the left, thinking. Remembering. Nodding.

Her eyes, then, returned to her 61 year old son. “So your patient wants you to travel with him to Houston,” she paraphrased. “That’s wonderful! He must respect you and trust you… and have a lot of money!”

“Mamá, he wants someone to accompany him and yes, he trusts me. I worked with him and his wife when she was sick. But we can’t do the type of surgery that he needs.”

“I see.” She paused again.

“Impressive.” She nodded again.

“How much will you charge?” she asked, looking him right in the eyes.

“Oh mother!   I don’t know. I have never been asked to do something like this before.” He took a sip of coffee.

The answer didn’t matter and she knew he wouldn’t say… but maybe he would. No harm in asking.

The conversation went silent for a bit. Then she turned to me and said, “And you just returned from that overseas training your company sent you to. How did that go? They must think the world of you, sending you off to a training in another country! They wouldn’t send just anyone, now then, would they?” She looked up again, not waiting for an answer.

Then I understood. I could see it in her eyes. This conversation was not about accomplishment or money, per se; this was about social currency. Later in the evening she would go on her evening constitutional to the casino. Some people find community at church or with their neighbors. Some go to a bar where everybody knows your name. She goes to the casino, every night if someone will take her; she can no longer go out alone with that bum leg of hers

Yes, I understood: When she gets to the casino she will slowly find her favorite machine, talking to friends and relatives amid the rings, dings and bings of the one-armed bandits (that mostly worked with the press of a finger). With her cane and her attendant she will stop and talk to everyone she knows, perhaps someone new. What will she say? Not much has happened since yesterday evening. She spent the day with meals, the newspaper and Netflix so what will she add to the conversation?

“How are you tonight?” Someone will ask as she walks the aisles looking for her machine.

Putting her hand on the other’s arm she will take out some of that social currency and say, “I am good. You’ll never guess where my son is going to go…”

By the end of the evening she will have talked to many who passed by to share their stories. She will listen carefully while watching their faces and lips. She will ask questions, thinking, remembering and nodding as they speak. Tomorrow, we will be brought up to date on the members of that community. We will ask questions that she will be sure to get the answers to as the carousel takes another spin.