Friday, August 16, 2013

Kim Chee and Corn Flakes

Few things surprise me any more when I travel. Each morning, I breakfast on kim chee and corn flakes, scrambled eggs and seaweed while listening to light 60’s rock. Tonight we had a party before the course closes tomorrow and while Nat King Cole was singing to Mona Lisa over the speakers, we started to play some Samul Nori traditional drums. Nat eventually lost out and it was a Korean-fest from there out, a mixture of old folk music and dance, pop songs and a djembe/conga jam with these wild women improvising on all the children’s rhymes we had done during the week. And I mean wild women in the best sense of those words, like the crazy Finns and Icelandic gals. It’s a weird and wonderful world, the old and the new living side-by-side, the far-away brought close (Nat King Cole) and the close going viral far-away— no one tonight did any gangnam-style horse dancing, but the kids in my school were obsessed with it.

Tomorrow I’ll close out my part of the course with some jazz and perhaps a Basque piece and Estonian dance. My colleague and partner-in-crime Sofia has already brought the students to Japan, Greece, Ghana, Spain and beyond. Today we both shared a 90-minute class with kids that was a great pleasure. I especially treasured one of the 12-year old boys coming back to hug me, perhaps his way of saying, “Thanks for not judging me and letting me express myself so many different ways.” The theme that keeps coming up for me is the way we create winners and losers and in so doing, everyone loses. (There’s a book on this theme called Somebodies and Nobodies which never got much attention, but I plan to re-read it. I think it’s one of the big issues of the 21st century.)

But now, I’m aiming for my first night of uninterrupted sleep, the last vestige of jet lag, only to be repeated in two days when I fly home. And then tomorrow, my last breakfast of kim chee and corn flakes. Good night.

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