Though I still have lots to say about Laos and why you should all visit, I thought I would take a moment to fill you in on my week. Even though life here is becoming familiar and routine, it is still pretty magical most of the time.
This year, I have been serving as one of the 6 teachers on a committee to introduce House Leagues to SSIS. We began thinking about this idea last May as one of the potential ways to build community within the high school, and I am so excited that this week, our plan was put into action. The students learned on Monday that they had been sorted into 4 houses and would be engaging in collaboration and competitions all year. Then on Thursday, we had our first house meeting to get to know the 77 students and 10 staff members that make up House Shenlong. As Shenlong’s Chief Dragon Keeper, I will be responsible for rallying the troops and tracking our points and progress – essentially I am the equivalent of Gryffindor’s McGonagall. It is all so exciting! If I seem obsessed with the color yellow and different types of dragons in the coming year, don’t fear; it is all in the name of Shenlong domination!
One of the three student members of our committee made this video for the grand kickoff.
In addition to my house duties, I also agreed to chaperone the midnight to 4 am shift of the high school lock-in on Friday. I definitely wanted to support the effort as I am a huge fan of high school students having friends and time to hang out, instead of always studying. Somehow, in my mind, it made sense to take the middle of the night shift so that I was sure that I would be up for a morning run on Saturday. The night was pretty fun. I was in charge of supervising the athletics happening in the gym, and I even got to play a few minutes of basketball, which reminded me of why nobody never encouraged me to pursue that sport.
When my shift ended, it was still dark outside, but it was a lovely night with visible stars and a moon. Finally, the smog caused by Indonesia’s massive burning is starting to be chased away by some of the winds at the end of this rainy season. So as I took off from school grounds, I was enjoying breathing in the fresh air and navigating nearly empty streets. Despite the pain from my wart infected right foot, I am in the last two weeks of training for my first international half marathon. Today I just had to do a 7 mile jog around the neighborhood, and I loved the magic of being out and about as night turned into day. I should wake up earlier more often. Though I swear I am getting slower with every run (thanks, foot), I am enjoying the chance to log more miles and adjust to the crazy heat of SE Asia. After my run, I picked up my bag at the school and decided to walk home since it was so lovely out. Good thing I did because my stroll along the river provided lots of beauty.
Perhaps my favorite part of the walk home though was my encounter with a tiny snail. Snails are extremely common here, and it is not rare to see one the size of my palm, but today, I saw a cute little baby scooting determinedly along the vast sidewalk. I pretty much loved him instantly. I have been struggling this month with just how big the world is and how I can possibly belong to all the lands that I love when so much space separates them. This is complicated further by my thirst to explore more places, which we all know will lead to me falling in love with yet another country that I want to revisit and get to know better. So, when I saw this snail on the same quest to learn more about his world, I felt validated. Snails strap their homes to their backs and plow forward because life is worth experiencing even if it means that their time everywhere has to be temporary and they will have to say goodbye to something great to move on to the next thrilling place. So, for now, I will keep plowing forward, too. And, I will rejoice that I don’t have to carry my home with me and that I know about airplanes. Poor snail.