I thought about making this blog post a list, either of things that I will and will not miss, things I learned, things that I’m looking forward to, etc. There are really good things about lists: (let me list some) easy readability, succinct summary of important information, the possibility to rank certain items as more important. But I realized that my HNGR internship is not conducive to a list format. The good and the bad are not easily categorized, I don’t have the perspective to rank what I’ve learned in order of importance and as most of you have probably figured out through this blog, when I talk about HNGR I am anything but succinct. So I think this will be semi-list paragraph format of things that are not simply good or bad.
A time is coming, and soon will be, when I will no longer be a professor at UCNH, when I will no longer have to tell students that their homework is late and I will no longer have to close the classroom door in the face of latecomers. Though I may find myself repeating the same words over and over, they won’t be the words from New Interchange English, Book 1. After December 16, I won’t play volleyball with the sun in my eyes for at least another four months, I won’t have all my collared shirts on two hangers above my bed and I won’t be able to wear my Chacos everywhere I go. It will no longer be socially comfortable for me to pee on the side of the road or to dance with the kids in church. I will drive my car; I won’t take motorcycle taxis. I won’t have to share a single bathroom with my host parents and 2-6 20-something year-old girls. The bathroom that I’ll use will have a sink. When I get back to the United States, I’ll see my reflection more than three times a week. I’ll have internet whenever I want it. I won’t have to worry about getting my pants dirty and making the laundry load bigger for Rose Lourdes when I sit on the rocks outside her house to talk and hang out. I will have access to a lot more English books than are on Laurie’s shelves. Saga desserts will take the place of Clif bars as special treats, and I won’t have to ration Saga desserts to once a week. I won’t worry that people only want to be my friend because of the color of my skin or the size of my wallet. The closest mountain for me to climb will be miles away instead of in my backyard. I won’t see nearly as many black people and a whole lot more white people. I will use considerably more water, gas and electricity. Doubtless, my conversations may still occasionally be full of awkward pauses or miscommunication, but it’s a lot more likely that I will understand why. I’ll be able to give a friend a few dollars for food or whatever and not worry about contributing to a cycle of dependency. No one will accuse me of using the voodoo magic I have stored in my beard to make Brazil miss all of their penalty kicks. I won’t have to worry about becoming numb to poverty due to overexposure. I won’t think about the future of Peterson, my three-week-old godson, as I try to rock him back to sleep in his mother’s mud hut.