Sunday, March 09, 2008

The opposite of Bali

The opposite of Bali is Cleveland in the blizzard of the century. Granted, the century is only 8 years old, but this was it man. The recital that ODOT prepares for all year, the big show, winter's grand finale. The good thing is she still has it in her to blast the human race into almost total submission. The bad thing is she let loose on the day we were to depart for Istanbul. And we were so close. On the plane -- on an earlier flight -- bags in the hold, books in hand, and they off loaded us. Among the many problems that crowded in next was the fact there would be no seats on any plane out of Cleveland left for a Sunday departure, meaning we had not lost one day, but two.

A plan was hatched (be it somewhat crazy) to DRIVE through the blizzard to Detroit where we could meet up with our delayed itinerary on Sunday. Avis was too smart to be renting cars, but National was happy (in a heh heh you fools sort of way) to provide us with a grandma land cruiser to mount our assault on the turnpike. White out conditions, white on the road, Michael's white knuckles on the wheel. The thing about the picture below is that it is in full color.

Saw a snow plow in a ditch, wounded cars and trucks at odd angles to the traffic, very little of the road, and finally the sun as we emerged from the storm around Toledo. We celebrated with chili dogs at Tony Paco's Cafe (made infamous by Mash's Klinger) and crashed at a Holiday Inn Express, and ironic cap to a day of delays.

Remembering what we learned in Bali, that there is not bad -- just good and not so good -- it is impossible to let yesterday's blizzard snow all over today. But I definitely think you could say yesterday was not so good.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Mont 'Kiara International School Kuala Lumpur

I was blown away by Mont'Kiara. Posted all over were copies of my poems and the kids had studied and had fun with the poems in preparation for my visit. I could tell what a good job the teachers did in preparing the students when I found them reciting some of the poems right along with me. The students even prepared an original poem for the introduction. I have been away from my computer and reconnecting with Kelly and family in Virginia and I left my photos on my home computer, so this posting is late. Too late. Now, as I look at these pictures over a week old, it seems like I'm calling up old friends. Hey, remember me? I sure remember you!

I remember the voices, the smiles, and the handshakes and all that made this a wonderful visit. Many many thanks to media specialists Amy Sholdt and Laurie Collins for making my visit to Kuala Lumpur extra special.
I didn't see them, but I heard that monkeys play on the playground at MKIS and even get into backpacks and lunches. What I did see was a rehearsal for an upcoming program where some students were playing large drums and others were doing line dancing to Achy Breaky Heart. When you think about it, the USA exports some of the strangest commodities.

Teacher Pat Carelli had her students write the most colorful and precious thank you notes. As the lights of the plane were dimmed as it gained altitude, I opened up the envelope and chuckled and smiled over the carefully illustrated poems and notes composed by her students. I am so impressed by their writing and drawing talents.

These past few weeks have almost been too much to absorb for me. All the kindness and the poetry way more than made up for the long hours on the airplanes. In fact, sitting here this evening, I don't hardly remember the plane rides, or the waits, or the lines at immigration. Those memories have sunk to the bottom. What remains on top are all the smiling friends.