Hand in hand, strolling along the beach, watched by the the undulating waves, the gritty, salty smell and the expanse of the sea, set the scene. That calmness allowed the excited two to share the possibility of spending the rest of their lives together.
I wrote my first ever two sentence love story today. That was the Teach Write Challenge for December, which I missed. I made myself write this brief piece today. We were guided by this blog post.
As a writer, I am learning all the time. It is great to be enticed by different formats that are simple enough to get you writing.
When P has an invitation these days it’s everybody’s issue. We have to listen, she knows she has to get us involved in the dropping and picking up, so the announcement happens early.
P my ninth grader’s life is different now she is in boarding school, so are her friendships. I remember writing about her first date a couple of years ago.
I had that deja vu this morning so I thought to go back and read that slice and compare her first date to this outing.
This time, P’s male classmate was celebrating his birthday and was allowed to invite a few of his friends out for a meal. P went through the trying on of outfits. She settled on a quaint, floral dress very quickly, but the shoes! She went through her high heels, mum’s high slip ons and the flat mustard sandals (which did not match with her tiny yellow bag that was definitely going).
Dad was dropping her at the restaurant and picking her up afterwards. She arranged it all.
P had settled on her flat black sandals which was not one of her earlier choices. When she was all dressed and masked up, I asked for a photograph to be taken by the Christmas tree, but she run off.
She came back home excited! This time, not a word was shared about this exclusive birthday celebration.
I asked inquisitively,” Did you take any photos?”
“Hmmm yes Mum, no actually they were just snaps.” she knew she had lost me there.
“Can I see them?”
“Why Mum?” she muttered.
“I just want to see your friends and the restaurant.”
“Ok, I’ll see what I can do,” she promised.
I’m still waiting and I’ve been told snaps have a time limit. What a difference a couple of years make in a child’s life. I really miss the first date when I was more involved and P chatted all the way home about the restaurant experience.
We first met in 1978, parted in 1983, reunited in 1986, reconnected in 2013 and now we meet again in 2021.
Good friendships never fade.
There is so much yardage between us, yards of memory, experiences and stories. Although some slightly faded, the rags left are still very special. With everything happening around us, these rendez-vous are even more special.
Dressed. Ready. Standing at the gate, waiting for the ride to the university campus, our walking track, in my luminous pink top and walking shorts.
I had asked S to be at my gate for 4.40pm. I held my bag of chilled water and stood there waiting as cars drove past. A few droplets fell, I looked at the dark, simmering clouds and knew then that the walk was cancelled.
Feeling disappointed, but not exactly giving up, I tried calling S. It had suddenly started spitting the dots of rain staining the driveway. S had sent a photo of her windscreen with a few rain drops, signalling the cancellation.
“What a shame!” I thought.
We planned to take advantage of the October break to catch up on the kilometres we had missed because of S’s extended Summer holiday.
A few minutes later, it was pouring, the sound of the rain overtook the sound of any cars coming my way. Now, the sloping driveway had rain water drifting towards the gate.
We would have been drenched if we had left any earlier.
I texted her back, “Man proposes, God disposes.”
Our walking challenge of 500km this year is a stretch, as we are not even half way there. With our time constraints, this will be a push, but we are determined to complete the challenge.
We have a plan, with all the kilometres worked out and will sacrifice some weekend hours to achieve our goal, as long as the rain permits us.
This was a very low-key holiday, with everything so different all over the world. The decision was to stay local and have a restful time. With my calendar (holiday planner) in tow, I attended a course online, read, wrote, travelled and stayed at home for most of the holiday.
Here, I have briefly recorded three parts of my holiday.
Driving out of the city is the most soothing feeling. I love nature, I did not realise this until a few years ago. The green that surrounds us as we drive out, the mountains covered in rain forest trees are images you want to hold forever. I went to a different part of Ghana this holiday. As well as the drive, the beach was beautiful. There is something about the waves and warmth of the ocean that sort of cleanses your whole being. Nature in all its parts is special.
Writing throughout this holiday has been great. I committed to joining my writing group (TeachWrite) many days a week and know I have benefitted intellectually. I have been able to pour my life and events into words and this has been refreshing. All my writing experiences this holiday will greatly benefit my students too.
This holiday led me to an altered diet. It’s interesting how taking an already established model to one’s context makes it a little difficult. For health benefits, I have decided to cut down on carbohydrates. I’ve researched different diet plans and the contents of each meal time. Interestingly, most of the foods are foreign, some of which I have never eaten or seen sold here in my corner of West Africa. I have had to adapt to the local vegetables, mainly organic and lace them with chicken or fresh fish. The benefits of the new diet regime are more than I can share, but it takes time, lots of research, replacing ingredients with local ones and coming up with my own recipes. I’m still at the beginning of it and hopefully writing about it will make me persevere.
My teaching life begun over twenty years ago, and I continue to learn, adding to my repertoire. I must confess, I have spent some time this holiday, thinking about a new experience that is coming my way or one I am walking into.
To me, this is a worthy challenge and I see many benefits to it. However, it is a new arena for my show, so there is the little bird whispering doubts into my ears. Those doubts I am using as opportunities for me to learn and grow. I am looping with my fourth graders to fifth grade. The day my fourth grades were informed there was a rumbling, exciting sound, I was touched. Many parents sent emails to acknowledge our continued relationship for the next school year.
In the past, a few of my early year students met me in second grade and some of my second graders in fourth grade. I on the other hand agreed to move with my students as a challenge to myself and to live out of my comfort zone.
For this year in particular, I believe most teachers experienced this too. My students and I, traversed the online, on-campus learning together. We were Zoom buddies and became masked buddies. We lived through the changes together; online schedules and lessons, online parent conferences, online assessments, online morning meetings and more.
Whenever I hear of the upsurge in the Covid numbers my heart skips a beat. I am really hoping we can all be on-campus this school year and learn, enjoying our learning spaces together, masked up; I guess.
I have spent sometime this holiday pondering over my new scope and sequence for the different subject areas and thinking about the individual students (as I know most of them very well). This new year is going to be quite an adventure and I am looking forward to.
The beautiful blues met our eyes, the clean smell of the ocean was well received. The coarseness of the sand, made for firm steps.
Better bare foot, I thought and quickly took off my rubber sandals. Stamping and moving forward, I found the right spot to lay my mat. The sun had gone down as we waited to visit in the late afternoon.
The vastness of the ocean always enchanting. The beach tough was something else. The sand, a light shade of brown almost golden gave the whole place a rich, glow. This was a quiet beach, a few people strolling up and down. It was also distinctive as it was high up and the ocean was a few feet lower. I thought this was special as some of the beaches I have visited needed a defence to block the water from riding up and damaging property.
We sat, enjoyed the peace, watched the waves move back and forth. This was a needed break, so serene. Hidden from the masses, a good place to reflect and relax.
The teenagers stayed and puddled whilst I rested with my book and soaked in the environment.
This particular one, was vivid. I remember wearing a ‘fugu‘. There were two other people with me. In the dimly lit room, it felt as if we were on the top floor of an apartment block, high up above the rest. I’m glad I woke up after the dream to write down what I could remember.
It all seemed surreal, as if there was going to be a contest of sorts. A challenge, competition or a performance? Was I to be a contestant?
Whatever contest I dreamt about seemed well established. I remember the scene in the mysterious room very clearly. If I was an artist I would have drawn exactly what I saw. I had good feelings about the situation whatever it was. I really wanted to participate in it, I seemed ready.
I have been thinking about the dream and took it upon myself to look for connections or clues to help me understand it. I asked my friends the symbolism of a ‘fugu’, a hand woven kaftan-like smock from Northern Ghana, I have never worn one before. Their interpretation of what a ‘fugu’ symbolises is; culture, identity, freedom, equality and royalty. I also remember the outfit being won by one of the great warriors of the Asante kingdom. In the dream was I just like her? Dreams can be confusing and interesting. This is one I will ponder about for a while.