Sunday, April 17, 2011

Update #31: Fruit Flies & Friends

Totally blown away.
We serve an awesome God.

...Hold on. Rewind.

I'm finished.
These guys can't take anything seriously.

A week ago, we had our first practice for sophomore vespers. As a sophomore sponsor, I was on the not-so-pleasant side of meetings, rehearsals, planning, and tweaking. I'm sure I've never "shhhhh!"d more in one hour than in these meetings.

Background info: the sophomore class has the worst reputation in the school. They have the most vibrant reputation of energy and vivacity (aka loudness and rowdiness). Taking attendance is like trying to count fruit flies: it is much easier when the subjects are sedated. Unfortunately, child sedation is frowned upon in ECD/MAA circles, so we simply struggle. There's a reason I have the sophomores divided into lab groups A & B; dealing with all 23 at once when toxic chemicals and noxious fumes are involved could make international headlines.
Truth be told, I think sophomore classes the world over are very similar to ours: just old enough to be comfortable with their surroundings, but not yet endowed with the maturity to help others be comfortable, too. Just experienced enough to know where the boundaries exist, but with the curiosity  to see how flexible and resilient these boundaries are. Full of life and passion, these 15 and 16 year olds often pose a challenge to their caretakers and guardians.

Throughout the course of the last week, the sophomores and sponsors have had 15 hr of planned practice time (approximately 2.4% of which was fully utilized). The sophomores produced the plot and storyline of their 45-min play on their own! Cool, right? Right. However, that left us without a script. Problem. Combine the minds of 23 teenagers, the faculty façades of patience worn-thin, and a play with no script, and you find yourself in a play with 25 directors and 0 go-fer guys. Uh-oh.

4:43p, Friday, April 15. T-minus 2.47 hours to go-time. The sophomores are still making revisions and changes to the production, and we've yet to run through the entire piece - or a 10 minute segment, for that matter - without hiccups and stops. I held my breath: hiccups didn't go away. I tried scaring the hiccups away, too; "If you guys don't focus and get this done, it will not be successful!" No good. I finally accepted the fact that hiccups are *hic* are a part of life.

8:02. Vespers is over. I've spent the entire program from the sound/light booth grinning like an idiot. They did so well! Lines never said before flowed easily, scenes followed each other smoothly, and everyone was spot on. Surely the presence of the Lord was in this place.

I've gotten tired of being responsible for more than me. I've become tired of hounding, pursuing, reminding, chasing.
But being button-bustingly boastful of 23 highschoolers, rather than just proud of myself, is unbeatable.

I'm so very, very proud.


Inah. Joy. Charmaine. Kevine. Ricky. Bliss. Tracy. Brianna. Sabrina. Gabrielle. Ida. Dorinda. Maya.

A dozen names of a hundred, the hundred that are a source of joy and pride and fulfillment.

I love these kids.

For example...
I've spent a considerable amount of time this weekend with my Filipino friends. I am quite impressed with my Filipino friends.

Filipino #1: Inah. I'm making my way back from the cafeteria after supper, walking behind juniors Dorinda and Inah on the sidewalk. I'm lost in the thought of their vaguely matching shirts; one with blue stripes, the other with slightly larger pink stripes...
"Hi Ms. Jessica!" Inah smiles. "Can I walk you back to your apartment?"
I am more than pleased to accept, and Inah urges Dorinda to come as well. The three of us stand in the doorway for a few minutes until the phone calls Dorinda away.
The next hour is spent sitting at the short table on stout, unfrequented stools, talking about homes, music, college, parents, and nothing at all. Silence. Happy, knowing silence. A silence of mutual understanding and respect. A silence that surpasses understanding, a God-given silence. Salamat, Inah.

Filipino #2: Charmaine. I've spent many hours with sophomore Charmaine this week; more than either of us would have wished, I'd guess. Just like Inah, Charmaine is über talented. Charmaine is an actress, a playwright, a musician, and above all, a positive and mature influence in the school. A true diplomat and leader, she is able to effectively lead her class - as chaotic as they lend themselves to be - even without a class office.
After the sophomore vespers was finished, the class headed over to a sponsor's house for cookies and popcorn around the fire. I seated myself on a rock to leave chairs for students, and Charmaine delicately plopped herself alongside. After an oral history of our "Sacred Rock" perch (I suspect we could easily add "improviser" to her list of talents), we giggled and chatted about life in Zambia, life in the Phils, traveling, and finally the importance of strong faith in the end times (can you guess how this affected my opinion of her?). When it was time to head back to the dorm, she put her arm through mine and said, "Ahem. Ms. Jessica, would you please escort me back to the dorm?" My pleasure, of course. We strolled back to the dorm, enjoying the crickets' song. Happy Sabbath, Charmaine.

I love these kids.

I am teacher.
They are students.

Unseen lines of expected relationship protocol crisscross these two titles like webs. We are not peers. We cannot be. Though I shut my eyes and wish them differently, I've no Aladdin's lamp. We can be friends, but we cannot be Friends.
I miss my Friends.


Off to prettify myself for the banquet this evening! Listening to the hub-bub in the girls' dorm puts a smile on my face... oh, high school.

46 days until my family comes to visit! I'm very happy. :)
Blessings on your April endeavors! Almost to


P.S. Happy belated April 15th. What a holiday! :D

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