I don’t know if there’s anyone still out there—is this thing on?—but inspired by my friend Brian’s entrance into the blogging world (briandeanstoddard.wordpress.com) and by (undoubted, though tacit) popular demand, I’ve decided to come out of my self-imposed seclusion and try to rejuvenate this thing.
Actually, no. “Seclusion” isn’t the right word—I’ve definitely been writing, though still not as much as I’d like (love?) to, which in case you are wondering is every day (I’m shuffling). Yes, I am still writing…just not here. I think I said that very thing in the last post I published in December (Ed. note: Yes! You did, rePete rePeterson!), but hey, it deserves a second saying because it’s true (and I can dance if I want to!). And, yes, I also know that this whole paragraph is basically just one big, wordy, parenthesied lump of inside jokes to one of the two people I know will read this (an inside line to the other is also somewhere around here, but I ain’t tellin’ where…)
So, I say again without all the frills—I have been writing. On blogs even. I have three simultaneous blogs going at this very moment. One is a resources and readings blog for my literature students and so it’s pretty boring if you’re not (and to be honest, probably even if you are) one of said students; I won’t post that link unless you’re dying to get a glimpse of my typographic skills and font choices for the excerpt of T.S. Eliot’s…blah blah blah…I’m not posting it (unless you really really want it, and for that you’re gonna have to leave a comment…but not a sexy comment…this is getting weird MOVING ON!).
But, I’m pretty proud of the other blog, one that I started as a project with my 2nd-year students. It’s called “From Rivne With Love” and you can get there from here if you want. And you do want, because these student writers are pretty awesome. Not “awesome for non-native speakers” or “awesome for second year students” or “awesome for any other caveat”. Just awesome! They surprise me every day with their candor and insight and creative word combinations and other linguistic constructions.
If you click on that link (or this one if you don’t want to scroll back up—see, I really want you to go there!), you’ll see a beautiful blue page with a bunch of assignments and some samples—but these aren’t all that interesting. To see the real gems of the project, look over at the “Blogroll” on the right side of the page and click on any one of them. They’re all pretty good! All of the assignments are pretty short so you can browse through pretty easily—and leave a comment on your favorite post while you are there. The students would love it!
A quick aside that isn’t really all that aside or even that quick actually: “From Rivne With Love” is what these students had printed on the back of a shirt that they gave to me as a gift on “Teacher’s Day” last year. For the Ukr-uninitiated, “Teacher’s Day” is a glorious holiday of sorts—no day off of school, of course, because that would be silly—in which teachers are celebrated and showered with gifts (or in my case, gift).
So, yes, the shirt is plain white with black letters and it’s a little small, meaning I look a bit like a pro wrestler when I wear it—you know, one of the sort of pudgy guys who is not pretty or steroidy enough to be a real “face” hero, but he works really hard so people sort of cheer for him anyway—and as I said, the back says, “From Rivne With Love.”
The front says, and I quote (and yes, I’m gonna dance again, friend), “For the Best Teacher in Universe! sincerely yours IM-21.” Now, you may think that this is some kind of ploy to make me into a mobile human billboard/gift tag to congratulate some other really amazing teacher. But actually, the message is for me. I am my own billboard. Complete with sincere time-sensitive sign off and everything.
It’s probably one of the best and most touching gifts I could have received in my service here, and those were by far the nine greatest words I’d received as a teacher, here or anywhere…until one of my students came up to me the other day and asked, “Can I write on my blog on my own?” Ok, this may not have been what she actually said, but it’s nine words and therefore upholds the precedent, My dear student said this and I very nearly wept while I leapt up and down, saying things like, “Write whatever you want, whenever you want!” and “It’s your blog!” and “Yes, of course! Of course! Oh joy, of course!” and “I have passed the test. I will diminish, and go into the West” (let’s see, um, LOTR joke, LOTR joke…oh yes, “I don’t even know what you’re Tolkien about!” (Yep. Nailed it!)).
In all honesty, I probably just said, “Yeah, sure!”—I don’t quite remember actually, but I’m often characterized here as “very serious” and this is what a serious person would say, I think. But seriously, I was thrilled that she not only had completed my assignment, but she wanted to write even more. It’s a dream come true. The culmination of my work in Ukraine? No, not yet. I’ve still got a while until I actually diminish to the West.
So, that’s that. The return. With that under the way and out of my belt, I will finish now with a weak smile and weaker promise to return soon to these pages. Be sure to check out those blogs and leave a comment or two. And check back here from time to time! Be on the look out for some Camp OHALOW posts in the very near future (especially if Dave comes through and helps me put up that video!!!—see Dave, I’m still using the site! It’s not all a waste!) and perhaps a poem or two sprinkled throughout.
Thanks for coming back! And, thanks for making it this far!
Ahh, home. Let me come home. Home is wherever I’m with you!