Thursday, September 16, 2010
Who am I kidding?
An extended break from both reading blogs and writing on my own is about as likely as me walking out of the Antiguan sea looking like I did here almost twenty years ago.
I so appreciated your kind send-offs, your prayers and well-wishes, but I honestly only intended a week-long break. It turns out, though, that blogging -- reading your blogs, writing my own, using my own writing as a jump-start for the offline writing I do -- well, it's essential. And that doesn't even take into account the essential community that has grown up here -- I missed doing it each and every day and I have to say that it might be one of the most positive, mindful experiences of my life right now. And it's not an addiction like smoking or alcohol or drugs. It's something good, something for which I am grateful.
Sophie started a new school this week, an all-special education campus, and I'll put it mildly by saying that it's been one of the worst decisions I've ever made in her life. I'm withdrawing her tomorrow and putting her in our local high school which is like a mini-version of Los Angeles -- not for the faint-hearted but must be better than the alternative. I'd write more about the special education school, but I'm sort of afraid to, afraid to unleash my emotions regarding it, cognizant of their complexity but also their strength. And since she only went for a few days, well -- I'm going to pretend like it never happened. But, if you're so inclined, and want to hear more about it (especially those of you who are contemplating the regular ed versus special ed campus thing, feel free to ask questions, and I'll answer them in another post. In fact, I think a dialog about this would be great!
I also started my fellowship with a program called LEND -- Leadership Excellence in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. It's an interdisciplinary program, a sort of training academy for leaders in all areas of disability. It's through the University of Southern California and Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. It was a privilege to be awarded the fellowship, but I've certainly got my work cut out for me over the next nine months. Early in the week I was running all over town, ensuring that I got all my paperwork in correctly -- vaccination evidence, TB exposure, questionnaires, etc. etc.. I wondered more than once why in the hell I was embarking on yet another "thing" but when I went through the first session, all day on Wednesday, I realized that it was going to be very cool. More on that later, too...
Henry and Oliver started school for real this week, too (their first full week), and Henry is now on a different campus, a very old building that is in the middle of Koreatown (and feels a bit like 14th Street and Broadway in NYC) and right across the street from the colossal $600 MILLION dollar public school that used to be the Ambassador Hotel (the place where RFK was shot that sad and shocking day). Despite our school being a wonderful one -- a charter school with very progressive values and incredible teachers and family involvement -- the new middle school campus faces this:
It's a little disheartening, once again, to see luxury and glamor trump education, but, hey, this is the oligarchy we live in now, right? The school was funded by a bond measure passed by voters, years ago, and those of us who live in CA know how cockamamie that system is (think 30+ pages of initiatives to vote on, etc.)
At best, the place will serve well the 4,000 or so disadvantaged children it was built for, and then I'll be skinny and glamorous, walking out of the Antiguan Sea.
Right back to full circle, right?