It’s the night before the first day of school. Eve of the inevitable – summer does end and school will begin again. For those already on campus, it’s a strange day. Teachers run to and fro, excited and nervous, hurrying to get everything ready. “Will I be ready? Will the lesson go as planned? Will they actually come? Will I make it to Friday? I don’t know what I’m doing past Friday!” For me, most of the day was spent trying to arrange technological and logistical details, but I’ll come back to that in a moment.
Hamjambo! Hi to all friends and family that are curious about my new adventure on the far side of Africa. I have written very little in the last three weeks mostly because they have been so very full: unpacking, shopping for apartment stuff, school orientation, meeting new faculty, car shopping, and lesson planning. It amazes me that every minute of the day is actually the same length – is it possible for three weeks to be so very full? It’s like the difference between a stroll around Lake Ella and doing 70mph down I10. Both might take an hour but a lot more world whizzes by you when you’re on I10.
My new apartment is beautiful and huge. About the size of my first apartment in Morocco except there’s only me here instead of three. It’s on the second floor of a brand new building and has 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms (one off the utility room), wood floors, a large kitchen with granite counters, and six to ten feet of closet space in every room. It’s not really furnished – just the most basic stuff – so it’s a little echo-y. I hope to find some furniture in the next couple of months. Maybe then I’ll post pictures. Oh and I DID find a car. I’ll post that picture too soon. It’s a little blue-green Honda Ballade. Not a model you find much in the US – small, standard trans, four-door sedan. Now the question is: am I brave enough to drive in Nairobi? I might just take it to and from school for a while.
The weather has been cold cold cold and dreary. I haven’t seen the sun much since I left FL. By cold I mean that the high is usually somewhere in the 60s and at night it’s usually in the mid-upper 40s. Not so bad if you have heat in the house, but here … not so much. Houses here are made of concrete and do not typically have central heating. Hallelujah for heavy blankets, hoodies, and hot showers. I’m told however that this “winter” should only last another few weeks.
And now to the real reason I’m here: school. What am I teaching? (Are you ready?) High School mixed choir, Middle School choir (most likely SSA), 5th grade mixed choir, all 4th grade music, and PreK music! That’s right folks I get them when they’re 4, 9, 16 and most of what’s in between.
I’m very excited to be working with the other music faculty. Peter is new like me and is the full-time Elementary Music teacher. He’s a percussionist from Denmark who has had a diverse musical career, and I think the kids will have a lot of fun with him. Steve is the full-time Band Director. Originally from Michigan, he taught in inner-city LA before coming here. He and his wife have two boys of their own and are in the process of adopting a daughter. Both Peter and Steve have a lot of energy and I think we’re going to get along very well. In fact, I’ve already volunteered to help Steve out with band camps both this weekend and next. I’ll pull out my rusty flute skills and use the opportunity to get to know some of the other music kids. Maybe I’ll find some singers in the group!
Am I ready for tomorrow? Well … mostly … like I said, today was not spent quite the way I would have hoped. The chorus room moved between last year and this. The result: very little was in order. I had to find room keys, a stereo system, a clock, a waste basket, get syllabus copies made, clean, arrange music, sort CDs, and most importantly – find someone to rewire the room so that I had power in the sockets. No sockets = no computer, no keyboard, no stereo. While I was prepared to do it all with a pitch pipe, claves and guitar, I’m very thankful that I now have full electrical options. I’m now mostly ready – but ready or not they’re coming in the morning. Tonight, as many of you are falling asleep about midnight, I’ll be waking up to the first day of school. A hot shower, a bite of breakfast and the adventure begins.
Thanks for reading!