Thursday, May 8, 2014

Am I one of the crazies?

I used to call them the crazy ones. To their faces, even. Jokingly, of course…but seriously. But I mean, after only a couple of weeks, most of us felt completely trapped. The language barrier keeps us from expressing our selves on a daily basis, and the cultural barrier is often there to stop us in our tracks should we get past the first.

And to make matters worse, our hands are all tied behind our backs as far as school goes. A bunch of adventurous souls wanting to make a difference abroad…and over half the time our Georgian co-teachers just want us to sit there and watch them lead the lesson, despite the fact that their methods of teaching have been tried and found lacking. And even for our English clubs and extra-curricular activities…organizing anything is a challenge when nobody understands anything you say.

By our mid-term training in April, I was confident that I wouldn’t be coming back for a second semester. I started dreaming up other possibilities for the rest of my year. I won’t be in my early twenties forever, after all. I should do more exciting things while I have this independence.

But then….

After training, I went back to school. Back to not being understood.

But also back to dozens of smiling faces rushing at me with smiles, stickers, candy, “I love you” notes with my name misspelled…anything to make me happy. How hard is it understand a child’s affection? How hard is to understand that as frustrated as I am, that affection is reciprocated?

And I went back to not feeling like I was making much of a difference.
But also back to ideas and possibilities that present themselves throughout the day and don’t ever fully leave my mind until it is asleep. I’m learning a lot about the problems of this educational system. I’m also learning a lot about what it needs. I could really make a difference.

And another semester seems like so long now…especially during this independent phase of my life. I mean, to spend a whole year on one thing….it’s a scary thought for me. But when I’m older, won’t I be happy that I stayed? That I came back and experienced the second semester?

So, what do you know, I became one of the crazy ones. I sent in my request to renew and was approved!

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