Homeward

Family Reunion 20131Sitting silly beneath the moon
Wonder if we’re going soon
Making plans to see the world
Engine smokestacks black and curled
Across the channel, through the seas
Seagulls cry into the breeze
Waves that toss us to and fro
They take us to where we want to go
Hands entwined, we make the climb
Traversing mountains, crossing time
Hidden temples, holy feasts
Watching men and hunting beasts

Team Praha 20137

China’s fields, they show us with spring
Then rickshaw riders, we see Bejing
The praying monks know why we’re here
We want to see a sky that’s clear
Then to the islands in the sun
We make our vessel sail the run
In Moscow vodka keeps us warm
And furry hats help fight the storm
The rugged cold and freezing wind
Sets us on the path again
Crispy mornings, starry skies
Snowy slopes, a wolf that cries

Team Praha 20139

Now to Prague on cobblestone
Entranced, enchanted, all alone
Saint Charles’ Bridge beneath the night
Swans that wade in soft moonlight
The ghostly old cathedral sleeps
Its ancient spells of myst’ry keeps
Beaten backwood paths we tread
Stopping here and there for bread
Speaking just with hands and smiles
We travel on for peaceful miles
Europe’s forests we explore
Till we reach its glossy shore

Life in Zbraslav 20132

Rome and Venice, here we start
Home of hist’ry, hearth for art
Ah, Pari’ – we make our way
It shines at night and sings the day
Glinting lights and sparkling wine
And youth and love are in their prime
Now Berlin, now London town
Up the streets, the rivers down
Warm baguettes and warmer nights
Bells and wheels and red-stringed kites
Towers made, channels built
Men push the world, make it tilt

Life in Zbraslav 20133

To Africa we turn our trip
Down the coast, the farthest tip
Jungles, monsters, mighty men
And then across the sea again
In Brazil we make our port
No fancy cars, no fine resort
Just flowers, juices, jingle-beads
Color, culture, a path that leads
Through the thickets, up the hill
Monkeys call, their voices shrill
Ranches roving over plains
Misty mornings, heavy rains

Team Praha 20134

Dusty peaks and waterfalls
Singing tribesmen make their calls
Always wet and always hot
I hold you close – you’re all I’ve got
And then one day my heart, it burns
And onward, northward, slowly turns
We pack our things, pick up our shoes
Continue on with naught to lose
I’ve got a compass that points me true
And always leads me straight to you
My feet are itching to take me places
Shorelines, sunsets, cities, faces

But underneath this big, bright dome
You’re the only place that feels like home

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Give a girl a chalkboard…

My work shoes, covered in chalk and ready to call it quits for the day.

My work shoes, covered in chalk and ready to call it quits for the day.

I distinctly remember the first profound thought I had as a kid – that is to say, the first big thought, beyond “I like fish sticks,” “This girl is weird,” and “Why does Deborah get shoes with Dalmatians and I don’t?” I was sitting in my kindergarten class, cringing as the teacher scribbled on the chalkboard. Every week I told myself the scratching chalk wouldn’t bother me anymore, but every week it did. As I sat crisscross-applesauce on the dusty floor with my little fingers awkwardly plugging my ears I thought to myself, “This will bother me the rest of my life…That could be a problem.”

It is a problem.

Never did I assume I would become a school teacher, though it is one of the jobs I have romanticized about over the years. And all the things I thought I would love about teaching, I do. I love kids saying ‘hello’ to me in the hallway (I LOVE my students). I love pulling little people out of their comfort zones and showing them how much they can accomplish. I love pinning things on my noticeboard in my office (which I also love).

But the chalkboard…

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Okay, who broke the sky?

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Outside the Rodulfinum concert hall in Prague.

Seriously, who broke the weather? I don’t understand. Wet stuff keeps falling from the sky. It’s like someone pulled the plug on a magical layer of the lower atmosphere and the galaxy is draining through the hole in liquid form all over Prague.

As pretty as everything looks all sparkly and wet… I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THIS. I came to Prague with one pair of pants, two pairs of walking shoes (which are already worn through) and several cardigans. I thought to myself, when it gets cold in November, I’ll buy a winter wardrobe. Even the people I talked to at the school said September stays pretty warm.

How was I to know that “warm” can also be translated as “chilly,” “windy,” and even “cold?”

I grew up loving the rain. In San Diego it rains like twice a year and those two days are our snow days. School doesn’t happen. Hot coco is made. Frolicking in puddles occurs. And when we’re cold and soaked down to our DNA, we head inside and get warm (I mean actually warm – none of this 62 degrees thing). It’s beautiful, it’s rare, and it’s very regulated.

But here I don’t have the option to head back inside when I’m done. I have to get to school to teach, I have to wait for the next bus. I certainly don’t get hot chocolate and – as we’ve already covered – I don’t exactly have warm clothes to change into.

On top of this, I’m also still adjusting to the basic practice of hanging laundry on a clothesline. It’s not as romantic as it always looks in books and movies. There is no running through white sheets blowing in hot summer breezes. There is not a magical glow that makes everything look clean and fairy-like. It’s just a bunch of plastic clothespins holding up your undergarments for the whole neighborhood to see. (I actually strung some dental floss between my bed post and the bottom of my bedroom window because some things just shouldn’t be aired in public – the only downside is that now everything I own smells a little minty).

I had just gotten used to this system of drying clothes when this rain stuff started happening. Like, c’mon.

I began checking Prague Weather on Google before starting a load of laundry to find out if I had enough time to wash the clothes (2 hours with European washing machines) and then dry them (and you have to start pre-4 p.m. to get the light or it’s pointless) before the next rain shower.

One particularly busy day I forgot to bring it all in. At 2 a.m. I was awakened by the horrifying spatter of rain against my window. My consciousness immediately jumped to one awful thought: my laundry!

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