Sunday, September 12, 2010

From the sweaty end of summer

Hello has been far too long since I have written. Busy summer, as many of you know. It all started out on the 4th of July...I chaperoned 18 students to Lennoxville, Canada (two hours southeast of Montreal) for an English language camp. No- I take that back- it was an English language camp with a whole lot of French thrown in! Mon Dieu! Upon arrival we were treated to the hottest heat wave that part of Canada has ever experienced-- between 95 and 100 for the first week, and NO air conditioning! It wasn't as humid as Japan, but still it was miserable. Zut alor! (Alors? I scraped the bottom of the barrel for my high school French while talking with the French-only nurse at the head still hurts). The girls eventually figured out when English was being spoken and when their teachers switched to French. Only a few became homesick, so that was good.

My principal told me I could have some free time-- but of course still had to be available in case of an emergency-- in the middle of the month. So, I visited my friend Amy in New York. It was just wonderful--- Amy let me use her apartment, WITH AIR CONDITIONING-- and showed me some fantastic restaurants, etc. It was very important that she had air conditioning because New York was ALSO having a heat wave...worse than usual I was told. Still, I went to lots of museums, saw some very impressive views, cried at the 9/11 memorial (more exactly at the church right next to Ground Zero), visited with a former student, and in general got a very large dose of Americana, which I sorely needed. I traveled from Montreal to New York (and back) on the Adirondack line for a mere $62 each way. Having only ridden on the West coast version of Amtrak, I was VERY pleasantly surprised, and highly recommend this train to anyone who wants a break from flying in to New York. Granted, it did take nearly 11 hours...thanks to Homeland Security having to do an on-board check of passports, etc., but I just snapped photos and read my books until we were back on track.

I stayed the last few days of the camp with my students and escorted them back to took 50 hours (!!) bed to bed because of the last-day Farewell Dance and the fact that we were scheduled to leave the school at 3:30 a.m.! The students didn't even get back to their dorms until 12:30. We had a loooong layover in Vancouver because our scheduled pilot was ill and it took them a while to find a replacement. Still- I am thankful that nobody was ill or got hurt on the trip. I had all of two nights in Japan before taking off for Seattle, and spent the second night with my friend Mary, from Ireland, and Kod, singing karaoke! It is something of a tradition for Mary and I...I think we sang every ABBA song ever written, plus a few other gems.

Visiting everyone at home was just what I needed. Unfortunately, all of the planes and trains and buses I had been on finally caught up with me: I caught a doozy of a cold that settled in my throat. I couldn't speak at all for three days and my throat is still weak! I have to give a presentation this coming Thursday in front of 60 people, so I am trying to rest my voice before then...

The worst part of the summer was that my brother-in-law passed away...we knew he was sick but hoped that he had longer to live. I am so glad my niece and nephew were there to support my sister. I just wish I could have stayed a little longer for the memorial which is this coming weekend.

At the moment I am sitting directly in front of a fan-- the only air-conditioner I have is upstairs-- feeling a little guilty for writing this blog when I should be working on my presentation...but it was about 102 degrees today and is still in the high 80's now, and still huuuuuuuumid. I am tired of every single surface I come in to contact with (including my own arms and legs) feeling slightly sticky. I hope it is more pleasant where you are. Wish me luck.

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