School finally ended on Thursday, June 15 for staff. Well, most staff. I was asked to work one additional week with the hours of 9-2 instead of the usual 7:30 to 3:45. OK, now how could I pass up this opportunity you ask? I don't like to leave my work unfinished in any way, so of course I agreed. Besides it eases me into summer vacation as well. You might think that it would be difficult to ease into summer vacation, but when I worked all year giving more than 100% of myself to the school, it is difficult to just take the summer off. I enjoy working with the principal, so we hope to get some additional projects completed without the usual interruptions from students saying "Miss, the bus left me." Or how about, "Miss, I want my mobile back."
I have been in somewhat of a retrospective mood over the past week. I have been thinking about those things I accomplished both professionally and personally this year. I enjoyed working full time although it took all my energy. I enjoyed being with Mira at school, and I enjoyed meeting people.
Getting to know my colleagues, both Egyptian and non-Egyptian, broke some stereotypes and made me more comfortable to say "Insha'Allah" instead of "hopefully", "Alhamdulillah" instead of "thank goodness" and "malish" instead of "it's ok." Alright so my Egyptian Arabic has a lot to be desired, I am still making progress. I understand why Egyptians speaking English leave some of the grammar out of their translations into English; they literally translate their Arabic into English; and I know now that I literally translate my English into Arabic, leaving out a lot of Arabic. (I hope this makes sense.)
I have learned how work with a translator, asking questions and patiently waiting for the answer to be translated. I have learned how to simplify my English to someone who speaks Arabic as their first language, using vocabulary that they would understand.
I have also learned how to stand up for myself, creating my own boundaries, admitting when I made mistakes, taking responsibilities, and dealing with parents who seem to think they own me because they pay for their child to be in the school.
With one year down already, I hope to build on the accomplishments I have achieved, and learn from the mistakes I have made.
As for Mira, she's home now and has all the time in the world to do whatever it is she wants -- including sleeping, watching tv and going to the club to swim. But most of all she wants to play with her friend Jasmine all the time.
Hassan's glad to have us home. We look forward to spending some much needed time together. All we need to do now is find a babysitter.