How did this happen? How is the slowest year of my life actually over? And how is God’s name is this year going so fast?! Maybe it’s because I make vegetable curry every night for dinner such that the days have blurred together (seriously, I’m eating vegetable curry right now). Nah, try again. I haven’t blacked out in a malarial state of semi-being. Therefore, that has to mean that I’m actually happy; I’m enjoying this year! Holy balls. Who gave me permission to do that? Blame it on my students: they’re audacious little bastards. And Jacob: he’s an audacious bastard. And myself: I’m just audacious.
Truly, though, I welcome Mid-March (Mid-April, Mid-May, Mid-June…) with my solitary favorite phrase in vernacular: kulikyo, welcome back! These months are greeted with smiles (hi Smiles, thanks for reading) partially because I’ve nestled into a groove and partially because I’m legit keyed-up about the future. I’m hating teaching computers, and admit to that fact unabashedly to everyone within earshot at least once a week, but I’m loving my students. And the perpetuity of high school is unavoidable: I’m a Junior Peace Corps Volunteer thanks to the February group of Freshman, teaching for a Sophmore year in a school with new Freshmen at whom I catch even myself treating as the noobs right along with all of the older St. Thomas Students. Send me pennies, I have no reservations about throwing them. Just kidding… I’m their teacher… Yeah… Sigh… But I think I’ve come to fill the role of older friend/advisor to many of these kids, and I’m more than okay with that. I’d much rather encourage them to forego studying to instead play volleyball, netball, football or just shoot the shit. I spend too many 5:00ams a week threatening to beat boys and girls alike in sprinting, plank and push-up competitions (I’ve got the planks and push-ups but I’m better off feigning my starts when it comes to sprinting with the boys: they don’t fear the beach ball-size divots and cow patties [ugh, beach balls as well] on our ‘track’). I get to talk to whomever asks about good study habits (I still wish I could turn it into a career…) and when I planned an International Women’s Day program, be damn sure that it included games that involve as many people as possible getting drenched by as much water as possible and a girl’s football match, as well as lessons on puberty, menstruation, sex, HIV/AIDS and pregnancy. For the boys as well. Although maybe I should rethink my strategy; I did get a chunk of my arm gouged out by an over-zealous Drip, Drip, Drop contestant… I’m lying, it didn’t even bleed.
So when I say that I’m content, I’m being honest. Despite the fact that two of my good friends are moving away: Kakulu and Deacon Dez. Dez is becoming a full-blown priest (trust me, there are half-blown priests) this weekend. His ordination celebration should be hilarious, judging by the inside joke we share naming nothing less than a cold Guinness as “His Life.” But he’ll be heading his own parish soon, and so, alas, I lose my best guy friend. So drink a Guinness for him on St. Patty’s Day, and wish him the luck of the Irish in becoming as much of a Fr. Gavin as a non-Fr. Gavin can become. Then there’s Kakulu, damn him! This morning, after his ritualistic morning teasing, this time inviting me to tea in his house which is presently a pile of bricks, he squeezes me into a big hug and says, “when you’re in Kampala, call me.” What?! I look left: there’s a rolled-up mattress at his feet and a suitcase the appropriate size for an American’s weekend getaway. “I probably won’t be back these ends for a year.” Shit. “Couldn’t you have told me BEFORE the day you were leaving??” Nah, that’s so not Africa.
But it’s all good, I’m happy, right (have you caught the theme yet)? Yep, despite needing to recharge with the next-best comfort food after cereal, a peanut butter and honey sandwich, following most typing lessons with the “freshman”, all gauges still read “Renee’s happy!”. I’ve reached the point in my service in which I’ve come to the realization that Give! Give! Give! is just as appreciated by the community as Give Sometimes and Do What You Want the Rest of the Time! So I read a lot. I’ve become addicted to moon salutations and headstands. I ran out of new sudokus, thus I pen my own. I decided to learn how to play chess, thinking I could one-up Jacob in something (no such luck, he knows… but thankfully my determination to beat people at things can’t be deterred by minor setbacks like the fact that he knows how to play and I don’t); good game, reminds me of Carl. I brainstorm hairstyles for the impending hair-growth. I think about travelling quite regularly: off to South Africa and Rwanda with friends before the end of May. I think about life post-PC. Call the press: I’ve decided firmly how I’m going to spend my readjustment allowance (read: pittance) of like $6,000! A good road bike for the streets of Chicago, GRE and grad school apps, and flying lessons in San Diego via the airport near Elizabeth’s home where I’ll spend a lolling few months. And what of the time (may it come idly swiftly) when the school year has ended, I’ve packed a lone pack (not much should return to America after a sojourn in Africa. Plus Winnie’s already laid dibs on my mattress), and saluted the great continent? Well, I think an Ashram in India will welcome me with open arms and a chorus of “oms” for a few weeks. But I’ll be damned if I’m not home before my 25th year comes calling. April 14, 2012, people, see you then.