Friday, 30 November 2012

Sultan Kelley

The world is a wonderful place, and my job is never boring. There seems to be always something new to be had, some adventure right around the corner. Change in the midst of consistency is reassuring, and I do my best to cycle through new concepts and reasonings into my lessons to keep my students from being bored, and most days, it seems that Lord Kelley, my school's principal-of-all-trades, is involved in most of them. One day this month, he arrived at work only to find his door barricaded from the inside. He put his shoulder to the proverbial wheel and pushed it open enough to realize his entire room, from floor to ceiling, was filled with balloons.

Picture taken from The Rebel Shang's camera. She estimated there were 1,200 balloons present.

Lord Kelley had to pull balloons out to make room for himself, after which he pushed balloons through the crack in the door. As no one stepped up to claim their prank (though the seniors were eyed suspiciously despite their vehement protests), the admissions office was left with multitudes of balloons. Knowing that balloons and seventh graders work very well together, I took my first class with me to pick up the rubber remains of the day, and the gather whatever surviving balloons to bring back with us. Bell work for that day was to play with balloons.

More recently, in coordination with my poetry section, I wrapped Lord Kelley's head up in a turban and made my seventh graders kneel before him and recite their own similes to Sultan Kelley of Ditzenberg. "O Great Sultan! You are like the sun rising in the East--you light up the land. You are like the roaring waves against the rocks. You ride the golden pig!" Or alternatively, "Hey Sultan! You have big biceps and a big beautiful brain!"

I try to remember what I learned in seventh grade, and I come up with nothing. At least my students will know what to do should their plane crash in Brunei, and they are found by a rich and benevolent sultan.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Exhibition

Before I pop off to bed, I must let you know--my sister had her first art exhibition in London! Think! Paintings on display in a great metropolis! I am so proud of her. I know she has been working very, very hard this past year, and I am glad she found the time to do something that she really loves. I want her to paint more. Pursuing one's passion is good for the soul.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


I have just spent the last hour or so putting up adoption notices online--it turns out I will continue to foster this young lady until she finds either a permanent home or another fosterer. It isn't a long-term solution, but it's a patch job that will have to hold for now. I don't mind the company. As you can see, she has already taken to reading Treasure Island, and I've always deemed an apt mind to be a desirable quality in a roommate.

Monday, 19 November 2012

I Surrender All

 For the past week, I have had a young lady staying with me. She is rather a funny thing--she has been living on the streets after being abandoned by her previous owner, and it is obvious she is used to a harder life. At the beginning of the week, she would sit under tables and behind the tellie for most of the day, and though friendly, she remained timid and aloof, afraid of sudden sounds and footsteps in the corridor. She is a beautiful cat with a white streak on her tummy that runs from her chin to under her tail. She is always dressed for the occasion in elegant white socks and a glossy black coat.

I have taught her how to use the litter bin and scratch post, and she wouldn't dream of touching the furniture. She is not quite so afraid of open spaces anymore, realizing no harm will come to her, and she has taken to sprawling across the coffee table and playing with her feathered snitch in the evenings. She likes cuddles more and more--no longer does she shy away from head kisses--and she dearly enjoys human company, following me from room to room if I leave her side. Even if she isn't interested in pats at the moment, she will want to know what I'm doing.  

It has been wonderful to see her grow, even in a week. She has come to understand that the human touch is meant for love, not unkind smacks, and that there really is a place for her in this world that does not involve cuffs and one-meal-a-days and fights over territory. She reminds me a bit of my father's work among the Badi women in Nepal--taking something so lost and broken and patiently reteaching it the meaning of home--and that is why I am so delighted to see good cheer bud from the despondency and confusion of abandonment. 

Despite all this, I cannot keep her. She is going to a fosterer, but I am happy to give her over knowing I have taught her everything she should know, and now she only needs find a home that will give her the love and attention she requires. I realize this may sound a silly and cumbersome idea (and especially odd to the non-believer), but as much as I would like to keep her, my doing so would limit the many uses of my house, and above all, I want my house to be open to God's work (there'll be people passing through the island connected to my father's work)--for everyone--cat allergics not excluded. I really cannot bear the thought of drawing borders around God's plan for my life simply because I could not relinquish my own selfish ambition or vain conceit.  

And so I give it up. 

If anyone would like a charming and independent cat lady, please do let me know.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Tintin: Then and Now

I have been trying to put the finishing touches on my flat recently, fleshing out the skeleton of the larger items. To do so, I have delighted in buying plants and rugs and photoframes, which may not seem like much but which mean a great deal to a young upstart crow with her first place of residence. I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Tintin shop in Chinatown, and though I could not afford (and have no inclination to buy) the more expensive paraphernalia, I came away with a poster, a plastic folder, and three Tintin postcards. It occurred to me that I could put the postcards in the photo frame I had purchased weeks before, and I even found space for the Tintin movie postcard that came with the DVD. (Who am I kidding? There's always space for Tintin.)

 I am very pleased with the result.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another 'What! You, too? I thought I was the only one.' 
- C.S. Lewis

Monday, 5 November 2012

Happy Birthday, Nat!

Dearest Natalie Jayne,

 You are one of my closest and dearest friends. To think we met all those years ago! I hope that this birthday finds you in good spirits. I wish you all wonderful things from across the globe and am looking forward to purchasing my tickets to England as soon as possible so that we may go adventuring once more. 'Til next we meet!

Much love,

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Before and After

 My sofa came with these atrocious yellow cushions, and as my doors were already permanently painted tan, it brought too much yellow into the room. I sent the cushions in to be recovered, and I just picked them up today. Doesn't a change in colour make all the difference?