Lizze and I are scheduled to visit Singapore next weekend, September 11-13. We'll leave here very early on the 11th, 6:30 AM (and we need to be at the airport 3 hours ahead of time, so that means leaving our apartment at 3:00 AM). I know the departure date strikes fear and trembling into the American heart, but what can you do? Here, it's just a date for travel.
I had lots of news to type in here and now that I'm finally connected, I can't think of it. Suffice it to say, it's been hard to connect lately, what with the oppressive heat and humidity, the outages in internet service, and a general heat-induced lassitude. This is the part of the semester that usually kills me, the back side, where I can see the end in sight but as the papers roll in and I read and evaluate them, I think When will this be over? Of course when it *is* finally over, I'll miss it.
I'm already stressing out about all the things that might go wrong for our 3 day trip out of the country. Ridiculous! This is an aspect of my personality that I might pay to have surgically removed or altered. Anxiety is boring. Plus, it makes my bottom hurt.
Today, I'm going to Lizzie's school for the parent-teacher conference. This should be interesting. I'll have to compare the experience to similar meetings back home. Dave writes to tell me that we'll have to complete a lot more paperwork than we thought in order to justify the 2 months of 7th grade that Lizzie will miss in Green Bay. It has something to do with district funding, truancy, and other bureaucratic matters.
Here's a little snippet that I wanted to share with you. I was walking to the shopping area down the street last Saturday. About five tiny children (none of them could have been more than 4 years old) swooped and screamed and giggled--in the middle of the busy street. Jeepneys honked and swerved as they dove and wove and shrieked. I swallowed hard and wondered what was happening. Didn't see any parents or other connected adults looking on. A man on a scooter stopped, parked his bike at the curb, and ran out at them, yelling something.
I kept walking, my heart like lumpy ash in my mouth. A jostle at my side, and a small hand slipped into mine, cool as a fish. I looked down, into a grinning, tiny girl's face, and my skin leaped a few metaphorical inches from my body. "Hey," I said, "what's going on?" as she squeezed my hand once more and then darted away.
Down the street, another group of kids, boys in the indeterminate age range of 8-12, threw plastic lids like frisbees across the street to each other, as if daring cars to drive between them. Their laughs were harsh and gritty, tinged with dust and gravel.
It was strange, as if the world had someone slipped a little bit off kilter, the colors brighter and more hectic, even feverish, the people I passed larger or smaller than they should be, on a normal early evening. No one seemed to be in his or her right mind.