Romanian Grace

The dragon sits by the side of the road, watching those who pass. Beware lest he devour you. We go to the Father of Souls, but it is necessary to pass by the dragon. -- St. Cyril of Jerusalem

28 May, 2007

school's out for summer

It is now almost eleven. Six hours to go until I go to sleep and begin pulling off my master jet-lag solving plan. Perhaps I will perform one blog for you each hour. I also intend to finish a newsletter while I am up and thinking about it. I also discovered that gas stations here have iced coffee in their refrigerator sections. How perfectly delightful.

I also need to grade the exams that my students finished. Last week. I am little behind on that but have some good excuses. One of them is that my good friend Darin, pictured here,

broke his foot in three places yesterday. I will not tell his story for him, but I might later give him a special feature on my site so you can get all the details. One word we really don’t want to hear here in Romania is “operation.” In fact, we have a team slogan: We would really like to avoid a trip to the hospital. In addition to this, in light of a couple of recent accidents, we have decided to institute a team policy against doing stupid things. We believe this will revolutionize life for us here.

Back to the exams, though. Here is the thesis for Katy’s paper. “Animal Farm and The Great Gatsby show that the glorification of the One creates uniformity and the overvalue of the many creates chaos, therefore true unity is found only by following the model of the Trinity, a balance between the One and the Many.” A comparative paper on Animal Farm, Gatsby, and Henry Krabbendam’s Covenant College lecture notes for his Christian Doctrine class is not exactly the kind of paper I was writing as an 11th grader. I was just trying to write what I thought the teacher thought was the right answer.

I would also like to include an excerpt from Abi’s and Daniel’s final writing projects. Daniel was basing his off of some Annie Dillard stuff he had been reading, and Abi was after more of an Italo Calvino effect.

Here’s Abi’s…

Letters blur. The page shifts in and out of focus. The room dims. Slowly, you realize that you are fighting pirates on a hidden island. The sun glints off their golden belt buckles and earrings. You hear the clash of metal against metal and groans of wounded and dying men. The nauseating smell of sweaty men and rum soaked clothes almost overpowers you. Gasping for breath, you fall upon the sand and cower underneath a hulking pirate. You try to scramble away from the advancing Spaniard but stop suddenly when your head cracks against a palm tree. Something scratches your back. Thinking it’s your stiletto, you reach back only to find a two inch long tag rubbing your back. Recognizing your defeat, you humbly beg pardon from the pirates and ask them to stop and wait while you crawl out of the book to get the tag from your shirt to stop rubbing the back of your neck.

You look around your room. The open window lets a breeze come in and play around the fichus trees that line the wall. Your great-grandfather stares down at you from his gold frame on the terracotta wall…

and here’s Daniel’s…

I look out on to the sidewalk of water with the poles on each side guiding the fish as they walk together at night. The water rushes up onto the shore and onto my feet, then rolls back into the water, crashing against the stumps and poles that in my mind are the park benches and water fountains. The poles run out into the sea, leaving a path of water in between them where the fish, crabs, and most of the time, the spearsman lurk around. My feet are enveloped by sand, like shackles. I cry for help in my mind because I cannot get out. The bright light from the sun then comes and blinds me, pulling me back into reality, where I am not stuck at all.

You can also check out my students' photography at this address:


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