Friday, June 7, 2013

Foreign Love Affair

I love Finland! The people sing like angels— or lusty barmaids, as the occasion calls for it. They dance with abandon, humor and grace.They listen to my hour and a half lecture on Alfred North Whitehead’s Rhythmic Cycle of Learning with rapt attention and nodding heads, all of it delivered in their second (or third or fourth) language. The government gives mothers up to three years leave from their jobs with a guaranteed re-entry and the corporate sector runs businesses with civic duty and the health of the culture sharing the bottom line with reasonable profit. The schools care more about children’s learning than some mindless testing. In short, they have their cultural values lined up with some pretty damn good notions of how to live a civil and fulfilling life and have not yet been pushed off the tracks by the lure of more money, fancier machines, cynical notions of childraising and education and the like.

I slept from midnight to 5 a.m. and then began my long day of teaching with no opportunity for a nap in sight. 90 minutes with a Level 1 class, lunch, 90 minutes with Level II, snack, 90 minutes lecture, dinner including a wild parade into the small town with boomwhackers and drums to entice people to a small festival, then leading 90 minutes of folk dance, an evening snack and ready to get horizontal finally at 10:15.

But despite this action-packed day— or rather because of the energy generated by singing, dancing, playing and talking with these marvelous folks, I stayed awake and constant throughout. Until now. If words typed on a screen could artfully express severe jet lag, it might

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