Wake-up Call

Remember how I once said that I kind of enjoyed (in an ironic sort of way) the early morning mental haze and the creeping exhaustion of getting up before nature intended? Boy, those were the days.

Three weeks in and my life now resembles a war of attrition with energy. My morning routine, which starts at 3:55, usually involves groggily snoozing both of my urgent alarms with a whisper of the perennially convincing lie that “I’ll get up in just a second,” and then flailing out of bed in a semi-aware panic a few indeterminate minutes later unsure if I overslept. After the blood drains from my head and my heart-rate comes down from “hunted rabbit” to a more sustainable “moderately apprehensive mid-sized domestic animal” I shuffle around in the dark trying to figure out where those thrice-cursed gnomes hid my flip-flops. Once successful, I throw a blanket over my shivering shoulders (inevitably hitting the low-hanging light fixture and scaring myself) and step into the hall – a shambling nightmare with plaid pajama bottoms, a striped hoody, a shroud of chaotic fabric, and, the coup de grace of my ensemble, socks with flip-flops.

I get my stylish self to the kitchen where I am faced with the moral dilemma of having to decide if it’s more important to provide orphans with food or to make myself coffee.

Ten minutes later, thankful for an endlessly forgiving God, I make some sandwiches and warm up breakfast. Then I put on some upbeat music and prepare to go to war.

The kids’ morning-personalities range from basically-levitates-out-of-bed-with-sunshine-and-smiles to might-have-a-knife-under-his-pillow. It doesn’t help that my spanish abandons me during the night so my first few sentences are always, shall we say, more on the “creative utterance” end of the communicative spectrum. I don’t really blame the kids who refuse to get out of bed; if I woke up to a pale, babbling manifestation of fashion-unawareness I would decide I’d rather not be conscious in such a world, too.

But thanks to some kind of operative universe-magic the kids make it to school on time, and I have some empty space on the schedule to fill as I want. I’ve started to write poetry. Sorry, world.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, however, I head down to the on-campus school to engage in some good-ole neo-colonialism: teaching english to fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh graders.  I’ve never taught ESL before, so it’s been quite a learning experience for me. I can’t say the same for the kids. But there have only been three classes so far, and I guess I’m moderately hopeful about the whole thing.

My respect for school teachers is definitely increasing with each session. I don’t understand how they do it, day after day after day. But thank God for them, seriously, brave and crazy and possibly masochistic sociopaths that they are.

I think it requires a certain possession of grace that I don’t yet have. I still find myself unpracticed in the blessed art of meeting people, especially kids, on their own terms. I marvel at my selfishness, wondering why I keep reflexively demanding people prove themselves worthy of my love and affection and attention when it’s not my decision in the first place. I am not the border-guard of grace, I’m the courier, and my little occupational delusion needs to end. I’m seeing some encouraging signs, and praise God for that, but I have a ways to go.

Oh, life, you maddening, wonderful thing.

Please pray for my house. We’re undergoing a change in leadership and the smoother it goes the better. My job will be the same, but the house dynamic will be different (in a good way, I think) and sometimes the kids take a while to adjust. Fun times await!

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