This weekend one of my former students was in town for a fundraiser. She served two years in Uganda with a ministry connected to the mission I work with. This weekend we had a 5k Walk to raise money for Hope Alive! and the foster care system in Colorado.
I had the privilege of teaching Megan throughout her high school years, but we spent most of our time together in AP US History and AP Literature and Composition. We spent a lot of time together. If you know anything about those two classes, you know they’re intense. Nine of my AP US students continued on with me in the Advanced Placement adventure and took Lit and Comp with me the next year. (Gluttons for punishment!) Teaching those classes definitely rank towards the top of my teaching experiences.
Being at a boarding school afforded us a lot of opportunities to make the most of time outside of the regular school day. Many evenings were spent at my house in study sessions, marathon viewings of Hamlet (nothing beats the Branagh version!), and some good ole fashioned hanging out. In fact after the AP Lit & Comp exam, most of the kids in the class continued to come to my place for a few more evenings because they had forgotten that there was life to be lived elsewhere. It was quite interesting to watch a number of them run around my apartment while re-enacting “The Princess Bride” while a few others just talked about life, and a few others tried to draw parallels between Hamlet and “The Princess Bride.”
Anyway—-back to Megan—our schedules worked out for us to spend time together Friday evening. Having her in my home felt so normal. Cooking dinner for her felt like slipping back into a comfy sweatshirt I hadn’t worn in years. Later I realized I’d found a part of me that has been missing since moving back to America. It surfaces from time to time when I get to host people in my home. It took me a while to put my finger on it, but there’s an African hospitality part of me that is rarely nurtured in America. I’m glad I’ve identified it; perhaps now I can do something about it more often.
photo courtesy of Paolo Ferla