Thursday, March 08, 2012

GRE, Hills, and Women

So I have been working this week.

I started an evening job teaching a GRE review to some professionals who want to get a graduate degree somewhere. The classes in the evening, compared to my classes in the daytime, are like night and day! My GRE class has professional adults with office jobs and bachelors degrees. And they speak English! I mean, really speak English. They understand me, and I barely have to explain myself at all! And it's a room with less than ten people (we had six on Tuesday), which means I can preserve my energy more and focus more on the students. We joked a bit, and one of them even drove a few of us home! It's nice to have professional students...

It was funny, because I told them we'd focus on the math section on Tuesdays, and English on Thursdays. It so happens that most of the students are men involved with some kind of mathematics - economics, statistics, engineering, etc. The men scoffed at me and said, "Well, we might try to skip the math classes since we want to focus on the English!"

I said, "Well, alright. But let's take a practice test right now."

Forty minutes later, when they were grading their answers, you could see the men with the tails between their legs.

"4 out of 25....?!"

"This isn't the math I use!"

I chuckled, "Well, maybe we should work on the math section after all?"


Something I have been asking myself recently, to give myself further insight about what I'm doing and where I'm going, is, What would I miss here? If I were to go back to the states right now, what would I miss when I return? It's taken a while to consider this, truly.

I wouldn't miss the food. I wouldn't miss the being stared at always. I wouldn't miss the cumbersome transportation and windy roads. I definitely wouldn't miss the fear of getting malaria every evening. I wouldn't miss not knowing what people are saying around me, or to me. I wouldn't miss the expensive trips to the store to get decent goods and products. And I wouldn't miss having to use filtered water at all times.

I think what I would miss would be the hills on the periphery. The beautiful green, rolling hills are quite stunning. And the sunrise/sunset on those hills? It's pretty great. The morning mist laced through the hills makes some magical-looking screenshots, and I really did love seeing the lush, striped landscape of rural Rwanda when on the bus last weekend.

I might also miss the pretty great weather. Yeah, it's rainy season, and that means it rains at all times. And sometimes in the afternoon it's pretty damn hot. But really, the weather overall is pretty nice. It's not too hot (it has never gotten as hot as NYC can get in the summer time), and it's not too cold - really, ever. I wear a scarf in the morning, maybe a light sweater, and I pull it off in the daytime into my tee-shirt.  I really love not having to haul myself in a few inches of fluffy winter wear, or freezing my tail off because I forgot my hat or gloves. And I really enjoy not needing an air conditioner to make myself feel cool - the cross breeze really does the trick.

But can I stand to miss those things. I have hills and mountains elsewhere, and the weather is nice in other places. I think I'm discovering that I really did want to travel more, than stay.

Today is International Women's Day. In Rwanda, they don't recognize it as a bank holiday, so we are here at work. But, to celebrate, Denise and I are having our students watch Little Women. Well, "watch". They're not really watching it right now, they're talking over the images. But right now, I'm alright with that. I enjoy the moments to be by myself and sort some things out while they, hopefully, enjoy the interesting images of a place with which they are unfamiliar.

No comments: