On this International Worker Day, I am gearing up for the last hectic push towards our school’s finish line. For expat teachers,the next two months overflow with running-record reading assessments, end of the year checklists, farewell parties, report card comments, speeches, transition meetings, presentations, summer school lesson planning while we continue to teach everyday, to every child. These last few weeks would be challenging if it not for what lies at the end of the road, the return trip home.I am fortunate to work in a school that pays for my wife and me to fly home each summer. This is a gift that I do not take lightly. With this cash, I get to recharge, renew my relationships with family and reevaluate my future. It is a time for sleeping in if I feel like it. It is a time for eating my mom’s homemade lasagna, and laugh with my high school buddies.
I am looking forward to watching the Red Sox with my Dad from the Old Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea, Massachusetts. I am looking forward to watching the sunset high upon a hill over Boston with him. I cannot wait to praise him as he humbly recovers from paralyzing neck surgery. I cannot wait to treat his caregivers with Dunkin’ Donuts and Louie’s Pizza.
I cannot wait to cut hedges, paint trims, and mow the lawn of my childhood home. I cannot wait to talk about books with my friends’ kids. I cannot wait to show off the Maine Seacoast, Boston, Happy Valley Pennsylvania and the Rocky Mountains. I cannot wait to notice Japanese American culture with my Naomi-san. It is wonderful to display all that is good about my home country. I can’t wait to take her to both the Maine Diner and Kelly’s Roast Beef on Revere Beach.
I cannot wait to read to my little niece and to help her as she prepares for kindergarten. I cannot wait to pick berries from a farm. I can’t wait to buy a hat that actually fits my head. I cannot wait to lie down on real grass.After what I have experienced in my travels, I cannot wait to bite my tongue as I listen to people talk about world politics or religion. I cannot wait to take my traditional 5:00 am walks through my hometown as I struggle with jet lag.
I can’t wait to haggle with rental car company men as they try to find ways to rip me off. I cannot wait to set reading goals and actually meet them. I cannot wait to ride a bike without wheezing.I cannot wait to see friends that I have made from overseas as they bring their kids to “college-tour” Boston. I routinely meet them for lunch and espresso in the North End. I then give them a “poor man’s take” of my favorite city.
More than anything, I cannot wait to witness the young people of America. They are ever more tolerant and inclusive. It is amazing see this from afar. Specifically, it is joy, unlike any other, to see former students all grown up and living lives of meaning. I cannot express how brilliant it is to meet them or hear about them. To all expat teachers and to the families that we serve, as you return home to visit or to stay, have a peaceful summer.