Monday, June 16, 2008

Counting the Hours

Today is the very last day of School here in Kuwait. All the other teachers have left and I'm waiting for one last parent to come in. He wishes to "discuss" a test grade his child receieved weeks ago.

I wait around my classroom for the last day. The desks are all stacked in one corner, and the books are all put away in plastic to keep dust off them in the summer. I'm not looking forward to this meeting, knowing that this once friendly parent who couldn't stop praising my work (when I gave his child A's) will get in my face, start yelling, and generally make life unpleasant for me until he gets what he wants.

My principal is waiting in his office as well, knowing that I'm not going to simply give his child a better grade because a parent isn't happy with the grade his child earned. Once this meeting is over, we can both go home.

The parent comes in and starts yelling and demanding answers to questions about some test his kid took a couple of months ago that I hardly remember now. When not interrupted with more yelling, I smile, tell him my side of the case, and why I can't simply change the grade because he doesn't like it. When he's yelling, I sit back and think of something more pleasant until the noise stops.

Finally he demands to see the principal. The entire conversation above repeats itself, this time with the principal present. After realizing he won't get anywhere with either of us, he vows to take the matter up with the school's owner. Finally the two of us can go home.

I'm relieved, because now I can finally say goodbyes to all my friends and get ready for my flight later that evening.

I have an enjoyable and delicious dinner with my friends Sarah and Ramona. Despite the great Lebanese food, the event proves somewhat melancholy, as I'm departing forever.

I'm going to miss Ramona and Sarah. Sarah particularly is someone who really knows something about friendship that I hope to learn. She's several orders of magnitude cooler than I am, yet she accepts people for who they are, tolerates and deals perfectly with their quirks and idiosyncrasies, and handles it all with more class and sophistication than just about anyone I've met.

I was going bananas trying to get everything ready to leave. My maid, Pushpa, was busy cleaning my room before I left, and I was all ready and packed to go to the airport for a flight later that evening. She calmed me down, made me relax, and it wasn't until much later that I realized how bananas I'd really gone and how difficult I must've been to deal with. Here's to a cool person. Cheers, Sarah!

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