Wednesday, September 12, 2012

i teach a class every day, and then i spend a few hours a day in the writing lab, and it all comes to three quarters time, supposedly, though it hasn't quite settled yet. on mondays, wednesdays and fridays i teach anthropological linguistics, and it's wild, because i have maybe forty-two american students, and i have a really hard time remembering their names. i have better luck with my tuesday/thursday class, which has only twelve, from places like sri lanka, ecuador, and china. these folks have pretty good english and give us lessons as they practice becoming teachers. in the writing lab i have a wide variety of people, mostly texas tech students, with all variety of writing work to be pored over. some are personal statements of people trying to get into med school or law school, or dissertations at the graduate level; other times it's freshmen with barely a clue and pretty bad writing. it's all quite educational. i've haven't taught americans much over the years, and it's good to talk to them and find out what they're thinking; what they write is invariably interesting. internationals are interesting too, especially given that west texas is way different from illinois, so it's a different process of acculturation. speaking of that, we still have considerable adjustment here, although the boys seem to be doing ok in school. i remind them regularly that buddy holly went to that very school and was an above-average student. the school celebrates him and is proud to be a music-theatre magnet school. i am grateful we don't live in chicago. apparently, however, they teach them a texas pledge which is similar to the use pledge, and one son was quick to point out that he doesn't have complete allegiance to texas, yet, though he's managing ok with the rest of their requirements. out on the various roads around town, i take my phone and watch for opportunities in the mirrors; most of these pictures end up in the mirror site though you can see some here. it's a welcome break from serious teaching and there are lots of opportunities, though it's a little dangerous just stopping the car whenever i'm upon one. so i don't. i wait patiently...what do i have, the rest of my life? it doesn't bother me. i protect myself, ourselves, to some degree, because being a biracial family will never be as easy here as it used to be; it's a larger city, it's the south, etc. things take longer, too. that's basically because everyone is friendly and polite, but it's also because, in many cases, they just don't know how to do a transaction quickly. it's the kind of place where people are moving up in jobs quickly and even the police have to make these large road signs advertising for more officers to join the force. in illinois this would never happen; the police didn't even have to advertise. i ride my bike a short way to campus and watch every direction as i've taken my life into my hands. i'm in a routine though, and i'm fairly safe. i stick with the lines. i go on green. i stay off the sidewalks. some places are way busy, it can be lively. you'd think it would be hot sunny, windy and clear all the time. actually, it's most of the time. tonight a storm is rolling in and it's getting cooler. sometimes we go to the lazy river and it's almost too cool to swim. i'd like to swim every day, actually, even in the cool, but i'm not organized, i'm working on it. i could do the lazy river, for example, between classes. I could really enjoy this place...in fact, the weather is quite interesting, nice sunrises and sunsets, clear skies. they complain about the dust a bit, and yes, we've had a bit of that, but that's actually ok too. the weather isn't really bothering me at all, yet, and fall is coming. the best time of year. different things to learn in all three jobs. new tricks for a very old dog. i've become tan and wrinkled, with a lot of bug bites. but, as another fall sets in, i find myself grateful, as usual, grateful to make it through another summer, to be free, to still have my kids, struggling to grow, and all of us, basically ok. texas doesn't have to be a permanent thing, though it looks, from here, like it goes forever.

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