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Monday, June 18, 2007Excerpt Of A Note To Home
I'm truly exhausted - with 2.5 days to still get through.
This program runs non-stop. Literally. We have 100 students here who are phenomenal, but who require a lot of attention. The 70 of us faculty are helping pull things together... but they make up for long (and tiresome) days. Yesterday was my big day with 2 presentations. They both went well (as expected) and was pleased that the students got a lot out of them. Although, I will admit that I was more than a little annoyed at one of my other group counselors who kept butting into my presentation. At one point, he made a"suggestion" that I run the next 15 minutes a certain way - in front of the students! I wanted to reachover and rip off his head, but kept my cool. We got through it.
The best experience, so far, has been a brief run-in with a student in the stairwell outside of my dorm room. She was sitting on the steps when I came out. She looked up at me and asked if I was a counselor. I had not met this young lady, yet. She said that she had to write an essay (as a blank sheet of paper sat on her lap) and that she didn't know how to start. Her "essay specialist" that she was working with gave her a suggestion but that it didn't seem to make sense to her. As we started talking, I told her that she needed to write something that was going to feel right to her. I told her that she might want to think about "showing" a story rather than "telling" one. I told her that there was a difference between telling someone that she was sitting in a stairwell, in a dorm, at Harvard. -That the walls were cool to the touch; the air musty and damp; the lights cast a gray dullness on the high ceilings. I told her to go to a place where she could be inspired - even if it meant laying in bed and closing her eyes, to think of home. Then put the pen to paper. While talking, I could see the wheels start to turn - that she was already beginning to go to "that place." It was very cool. And I felt that I had made a difference.
Last night, about 30 of the counselors went out. Only 10 of us went to dinner in Harvard Square, but the others met up with us at the brewery. It was a really fun evening complete with good company, great conversation, great beer, and a lot of laughter. I've met a few women who seem to have very similar experiences in our professional and personal lives. We've formed a bond over a few meals and am hoping that we stay in touch.
Today has been sort of lame. -Not for any particular reason. It just hasn't been as engaging as the other days. I actually took a nap this afternoon. Right now, we're getting ready for our BBQ. Afterwards we will head over to a three-hour "traditional night" where some of the students will perform their native customs for us. Some have brought their full dress costumes and will dance, others will sing in their native language, and others may pass along traditional foods of their tribes.
The air is not as hot and muggy as it has been the last couple of days. We got a lot of rain yesterday -which was nice, considering the humidity was AWFUL. Today has been beautiful. I love attending camps like these because I feel like"me" again. I greet every person with a huge smile on my face, I hug people a lot, and I make friends with strangers easily. Maybe it's the setting. Or maybe I just needed to get out, and away, from the office. Three people have commented that I'm "bright," I"glow" and that I'm "a sweet spirit." They may be blowing sunshine up my ass, but I think they're genuine. It feels pretty fantastic to receive comments like that.
My desk is at a window that faces down into our courtyard. I can see a few of "my students" down below working on their resumes for college. So, I thinkI'll go help.
Hope all is well at home. I'm thinking of you and loving you.
Sunday, June 03, 2007Addendum
Oh, and after Jamaica, I'm going to ITALY with a girl-friend! We will be at Lake Bracciano, hanging out at our own VILLA! How totally happy and excited am I?