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One year ago this week I moved out of my apartment into a whole lotta world.

In taking Stock of the last Three Hundred Sixty-Five days, I have counted:

250 Students on Program
50 Colleagues Worked with
15 Modes of Transportation Utilized
7 New Countries Explored
5 Types of Toilets Negotiated
4 Babies Born to Friends or Family
2 Romances Attempted

and my favorite stat of all: over 65 beds slept in.

(That’s averaging a new bed every five days for my maths impaired amigos.)

As I lay in (my current, though changing tomorrow) bed at night counting up the places I’ve slept, in each pillow case is wrapped a place and time. Every foreign bed frame creek and groan tells the story of the day that got me there and the people I’d wake to in the morning.

And thats the beauty of the list, less the numbers and numerics, more the bounty of the bonds created.

Tomorrow marks a new phase of this 15 month trip; a full year has passed, this semester is over and personal travel begins. New stage, new goals, new people, a new list and – lest we forget – a new bed.

Buenos Noches. Lak u noc. Śubha rātri, Bonne Nuit. Iyi geceler.

Good Night.

-Mels

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Race in India
The group examines themselves
Uncomfortable shift

*

Learning outward, theories find  too comfortable a home within.

She explains. Wet eyed and full of grace

A breath.  unsure of itself, wavering

Like Indian dust her realities settle in slowly.  On our skin, our clothes, in our lungs.  Tonight we wrestle with it coughing, tossing in our beds.

 

I’ve been traveling, living, teaching and learning alongside Iraqi and American high schools students on a program where experiences clown-car into days and a week holds a year’s worth of living.  Istanbul, Vermont, Chicago and now DC.  We can count – in hours – our remaining time together. I have one girl who can’t laugh without crying she says the bitter and sweet come together.

I am filled with the all to familiar hart-pangs of having letting them out of my sight and out of my reach. Out of a place where I know they are taken care of; where they take  care of each other and back into a world that won’t give them the kindness they deserve.

Its taken the better part of an hour to write that much and I’m just not willing to be this Sad yet.  I’ll let them go when it is time and deal with thinking about it later.

This is about the Hershey kisses….

(Vermont)

single gold diggers find somebody to loveStaff dances

Someone’s first swim

Ice Cream Breaks (even if your vegan)

And pie.

(Chicago)

Ferris Wheel Views

Stunning Ceilings

Hangin’ at the Willis (Sears)

Painting (volunteer day)

Getting Painted On

(DC)

and Glorious Days in Beautiful Places.

The delicious bits of life.

**For their safety, we are not allowed to post pictures of our Iraqi students. Dude, I would rather you were seeing them too.”

Baseball Game, 7th inning, our team is winning.

Enthusiastic American Student: Come on!  We’re doing the Wave!

Less Enthused Iraqi Student: I don’t want to.

American Student: We need everyone to do it!

Iraqi Student:  The wave is not halal.

Istanbul

Thank You, Turkey –

for being number 20

for having roof tops that over look historic mosques

for mezze lunches,  flirtatious waiters, and winding beautiful streets

for being where I met amazing students.

Tesekkur ederim



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