While my husband was recently gone on his Lebanon-extravaganza, my son and I decided to watch “Lord of the Rings”....for the thousandth time. Within the first 5 minutes, I was reminded of why I hate movies in general; too few of them bring out the emotions of the “Lord of the Rings” series. Ugh! The pain! The love! The horror! The courage! The dedication! The EVERYTHING!
For whatever reason, in the midst of the battle, I began to think about my marriage. The first one. Him. The man I married, thinking that our lives would be together for as long as we both lived. We watched the story unfold together and loved each film.
We split up right after the new year. It was an incredibly tough time. I believe that we never should have married; however, these three amazing kids prove that theory wrong. We were broken for a multitude of reasons. The day my ex-husband remarried, I dropped my kids off to take part in the ceremony. I pulled my car, Tabitha (don’t worry about why I name my cars, you have bigger things to worry about), around to a corner and called Jules. We talked and I cried for hours. Then, I turned Tabby ‘round and picked the kids up.
I wasn’t crying because it was wrong. I was devastated by the ruined plans. The lost hope. The failure. “It was too hard!” doesn’t seem enough. “We fought SO much!” isn’t exactly correct. “We didn’t belong together!” sounded dumb, because we chose to get married. What do you tell the kids?
“I’m sorry my choices made you question everything about your own life?” “Too bad you come from divorced parents?” “Statistically, you fit into the “norm”? The reality, as I have told my kids a million times, is that WE were the ones with the problems, NOT them. Love us as you will, and accept our failures. You are perfect. I am flawed, not you. My heart is cracked, not yours. I was stupid; you suffered.
(But it doesn’t change the now. I expect you to change the world. I love you, beyond any words I can use to try and describe. I believe, feel, breathe, that you are perfect. God made you in His image, and because of YOU, not me, I see Him.)
My current husband is amazing. He accepted the crappy, unforgiving role of “stepparent” without question. I am insane. He is patient, calm, smart. I am out-of-control. He is balanced, fair, everything that I am not.
My ex-husband’s wife is the same. We both married who we should have the first go-round had life’s circumstances been different. And here we are. Still learning how to appreciate, let go, forgive, and remember. I think my ex and his wife are two of the funniest people I have ever known (see last post), and I know how lucky we all are. They make each other better, much like my husband and I.
Sometimes, when I think that my thoughts are getting way too deep, I try to remember the simple things. When I was in my late teens, I would sing, “Sweet Child Of Mine” at the top of my lungs. After my first marriage, it was a favorite of both of us.
One of the first times I was in a car with my now-husband, the song came on. We were lost, searching somewhere in the vast area of California for an Indian gaming casino…windows down, warm air blowing in. Axl started, “She’s got a smile that it seems to me……” and I chimed in. Lo and behold, so did he. We sang together, top of our lungs, and everything felt right. My “Who’d-a-thunk-we’d-get-married?” husband and I, the moment love began. Life is funny that way.
I might not be a mother today if it wasn't for my first husband. And I wouldn't be as good of a mother as I am today if not for my second husband. Sometimes, you just count your blessings where they lay.
To all of us who are mothers, all of us who have mothers, and all of us who will be mothers: This day is for us. Enjoy every moment of it.
Happy Momma's Day to mine:). I adore you.
Have you ever known someone who is always busy? Always off somewhere exciting, shopping for a cool gift for a great friend, usually has the newest gadgets? Wow! Look how cool their life must be!
While that might be true, I am always watching and wondering. I look at people that I know like this, and I wonder if the reason they are always busy is because they are afraid of what they will find when they are still.
It’s hard to grow up.
I realized something about myself recently (and by virtue of the fact that you are here, which clearly means you have nothing better to do, you are about to read what it was). As you may or may not know, I typically only watch scary movies (If I have the time to watch a movie, I want it to make me breathe a little faster and check the locks on the door.). What I don’t do is watch comedies, which (unfortunately) is what my husband typically watches.
I really can’t remember the last comedy that made me laugh out loud, guts hurting, tears in my eyes. Do you know what my epiphany was? It happened when my husband was griping (again) about me not watching a funny movie with him, and I said, “Husband! Life is funny enough! Why on earth do I need to watch something fake when I have the real thing?” And as the words tumbled out of my mouth, I realized that I had solved a question I had long pondered: Why don’t I like comedies?
I laugh, a lot. People crack me up, the silly stories, funny looks, experiences, seriousness. I recently came upon some old pictures of my husband and I, long before we were married, hanging out with friends. In so many of the pictures, I could remember cracking up during the moment, trying hard to look serious for the photo. My future-husband, squeezing my hand below the frame of the picture, reminding me to stop giggling. My heart hurt at how much I missed some of the people in those pictures! Why, WHY, must life keep moving us forward?
I realize that it is laughter that guides me.
I have done so many ridiculous things in my 41-years. Every day, I take a second to thank God that I am here and healthy, still plugging along. I can sift through my pictures or pull out the drawers of my memory and find those moments, some with you, that have cracked me up. Left me in stitches. “Oh-my-gosh-this-moment-is-perfect!” kind of times. The people that I call “family”, the ones that I cherish above all others, the few who I need….they all have one thing in common: they love me unconditionally. And they are funny as hell.
And so, an ode to those readers who know me personally. I thank you for being the reasons I don’t need to watch funny movies. I salute you, because your humor and shared laughter are the reasons I can slow down, take a breath, stare at myself in the mirror and be okay with who I am. It means everything to me that you believe that I am funny and not crazy. I am thinking about you, right now, the memories flooding in. As much as it is heart-breaking for life to change, it is an amazing gift to have so many people….so many people….that I have shared joy with. Man, I am the luckiest person in the world.
Alex. Let’s talk about my recent weekend in Alexandria. It was nice, but I was hoping it would be clean. It wasn’t. Which pretty much makes me lose all hope that any part of Egypt is actually clean (meaning, trash is put in a dumpster and eventually removed).
There are many reasons that trash has become such a problem (look up the 2009 slaughter of all pigs in Egypt to combat the swine flu, which Egypt did not have…though they did have plenty of Coptic Christians who used the pigs to eat trash, thereby helping to separate organic and inorganic waste …which is not done now). But I digress (which I do often here, because nothing makes sense and the answers to all of the problems seem so simple).
Alexandria was lovely. Buildings were in various states of decay, as is the norm here, and traffic was beyond ridiculous, as is the norm here, but there was the ocean. The big, beautiful, blue ocean that reminded me that the world is big and there are many places to go: Egypt is a brief stop in my life.
The food was fantastic! Finally, a bright spot marred by….nothing! The food was delicious everywhere we ate, and the prices were so low I ate far more than I needed to. A typical (huge) burger with fries and veggies at a nice restaurant might cost 24LE (just under US 3.00). Fish, an obvious choice here by the Mediterranean, would cost you about 60LE for a full meal. The most expensive thing I had was a liquor that my experienced traveling companions recommended I try. 60LE for a tiny drink I had to hold my nose to gag down:). But the company and ambience at the Sofitel lounge made the cost and awful taste worthwhile.
The tours were amazing. The library was full of artifacts dating back several centuries. Pompey’s Pillar, the catacombs, and Fort Qaitbay were breathtaking. The best part? There seemed to be certain rules. Once you were in, no one followed you step-for-step, harassing you to buy cheap trinkets (like any pyramid visit here). The silence, being able to stare and imagine and take a step back in time, all without the obnoxious, “Buy this! American! Hey, American! Buy this!” I could enjoy the moments; something unexpected.
We were stared at far more than I am used to here in Cairo, which was also unexpected. I guess when tourism is down by 80%, those of us that are touring seem to be as rare as a clean street in Egypt. Would I go back? Hmmmm.....perhaps if I was dragged? Just kidding -- I only plan to go anywhere here once, simply because there is so much to do and see in the little time that I have.
My husband is off to Lebanon this long weekend, celebrating good food, good beer, and good friends. The Coptic Christians celebrate their Easter, and we celebrate a 4-day holiday on their behalf. In three weeks, my daughter will leave for a 9-day class trip to Washington D.C., and you know what she can’t wait to show her friends? How clean America is and how many parks we have. Less than 2 months now, and I will hit U.S. soil myself (not that I am counting). From that point on, it is a myriad of trips that take us across the U.S. and back again, headed here for one more year.
Is Egypt growing on me? Nope. Not at all. And that is perfectly fine, because we did not come here looking for something we didn't have back home. We came here to work, and work is what we do. Being here makes me commit to being a better human being; more tolerant, less argumentative, more confident, a better driver.....:).
There is a complete lack of social and civic responsibility that I just can’t wrap my head around. “It wasn’t me!”, “That’s not mine!”, “Why do I care?” All day, every day. From 5 to 65, no matter the age, it seems that the majority of people I have met have that exact same mentality. It's hard to teach students all of the reasons why they should want to make their homes (communities) better when they have little connection to their homes. I tell my young students (regularly) that I don’t need all twenty-three of them to change Egypt, I only need one.
Churchill, M.L. King, Lincoln, Ghandi, Mother Theresa……it is amazing what one person can do. But without the desire and ability to take responsibility for yourself and the community around you, forget it. Nothing changes.
And the trash piles of Egypt continue to grow….
In Alex, we were behind a cab with a large sign in the back window: "I graduated in the Faculty of Engineering and I drive a cab. This is EGYPT." That pretty much says it all.
Parent conferences are done, reports cards handed out. We are 2 months away from finishing our first year in Egypt, and then the long trek home begins. CAI—JFK—SJO—PITT—JFK—CAI, back again for our second year. As mentioned in previous posts, I am not “homesick”. I know exactly where home is, and nothing about that makes me feel sick. I came here to work, not fall in love, and that is what I am doing.
Dubai was a wonderfully painful vacation spot for our spring break a few weeks ago. The city is beyond gorgeous….peaceful, clean, welcoming, happy….it was very hard to come back here; the constant honking, dirty smells, broken down buildings (everywhere). To go from one city, where everything seems to work, to Cairo, where everything seems in constant chaos. You have to work very hard to feel a sense of calm here.
At the end of this year, we will say goodbye to many great friends, whose contracts have ended and will head back home to begin the next chapters in their lives. That is the blessing and curse of the “international” system: blessing for those you can’t stand and curse for those you can. In advance, I would say “Thanks!” to those who have cracked me up and taught me how to survive in Egypt. You will be missed, and I know life holds wonderful things for each of you.
I was listening to an interview with an uncle of the two brothers suspected in the Boston bombings earlier today. When asked what he thought about America, he passionately explained his love for the country; the chance to work, earn a living, have freedom. I felt proud that my heritage, my history, is one that allows people of all creeds to come and find and experience personal liberties. Freedom is what Egyptians were hoping to gain when they ousted Mubarak.
The religious-aspect to many of the recent acts of terrorism is disconcerting (to say the least). As anyone knows, most of Egypt follows the Islamic religion, but not to be confused with the extremist sects of Islam. Imagine how horrified you would be if the world believed that all Christians were willing to strap bombs on themselves and murder whoever happened to be close by. I wonder if Egypt will be the place where it all comes to a showdown: the fight between freedom and terrorism, Muslim (liberal) against Muslim (extremism). My ancestors fought for my freedoms long ago; I wonder if my second-grade Egyptian students will grow up fighting for theirs.
We walked home from dinner, my husband and I. The kids were gone, over at friends’ homes, and we were able to enjoy some rare time together. We passed by a group of girls who looked about 13 or 14, all dressed conservatively. One, with a mouth full of ice cream from a local (expensive) shop, made the standard begging sign (hand to mouth), saying “Ana jae’ ” (I am hungry). Did I mention she was eating ice cream? I put my hand up, waved her off, and said “La afham!” (I don’t understand) and kept walking. Very little makes sense here. Get used to it; this is Egypt.
I am wondering about this 19-year-old bombing suspect. What is he thinking? His brother is dead, his family divided by beliefs and distance, and he is alone. Is he wondering how he got to this place? Does he have any remorse? Is he scared? I think, maybe ignorantly so, that he has taken a few moments to wish he were a little boy again, able to do-over the decisions that led him to be facing this horrible future at 19.
Life is confusing, whether as a child, a young adult, or at 41. There are many things that just don’t make sense to me, but I carry on. We do the best we can and pray for safety and wisdom and courage. I believe in the inherent good of all people, and I will continue to do so, even when their bellies are full but they are begging for more.
My first day in Heaven, I plan to visit with my grandma, who passed several years ago after a long, L-O-N-G, battle with cancer. She was a saint. Think of a quiet, gentle, kind, strong (but the quiet, understated strength that is rarely seen anymore) Mississippi woman, and you’d have my grandma. I am sure she is happily zipping around Heaven, helping out a neighbor, cooking biscuits, or sitting on a porch swing….back and forth, back and forth (Much like the fan I wrote about in my first blog post here. It is the small things I remember most about my loved ones).
Next, I will go in search of two friends who passed away when we were teens, much too young to meet with death. Cat L., who died at 15, and Michael M., who died at 16. I won’t give you details, because there are some things I must keep close to my heart. These stories are mine. It was difficult to bury people who had barely lived life, and I will go the rest of mine wondering about things that might have been.
I will climb on the highest mountain I can find. I have a horrible fear of heights, and if I was already dead, I would certainly be a rock climber with no fear of falling. If my husband was already there, in Heaven, I would ride with him on the highest roller coaster ever built, squeezing his hand and screaming as loudly as I could. Next, I would (finally) allow him to take me on a hot air balloon ride, and I suppose I might jump out and fly around the clouds.
I will eat bread and cereal, anytime I want on that day, without regard to “bad” carbs. I will look for Liu-Liu, my childhood dog, stolen from our backyard one beautiful, sunny day. There are a great many pets I have had in my life, and I picture them happily doing up there exactly what they were supposed to do down here.
As they day winds down, and I prepare for my first night in Heaven, I will go back to my grandma’s place, where she will be happily caring for my grandpa. We will eat and sing -- talk little but love much.
The next day will be a busy one, for I will go in search of God and apologize for a great many things. My first day is going to be a busy one.
“On a more personal note, I always feel that course content and how well one learns it is based on the person teaching it. I have been in courses that I was excited for and could have learned a lot, but the manner in which it was taught was not for me and have been in courses that I did not really want to take, but ended up loving because the instructor was amazing. In this course, I was fortunate enough to have both! I chose this class as my final elective because I knew that it was important for me to have this knowledge as a teacher. I was lucky to find that the instructor for the course is as passionate about teaching as I am. This passion is found in every word that is shared, in the responses to our discussions, and in the honest candor that is offered about her. After reading the first instructor lecture, I was excited to start the course and could not wait to read each week's lectures. This was a first for me."
That is about ME! I teach online college courses in addition to my day job, and it often leaves me feeling like I do right now: exhausted, tired, frustrated, and like I don't-have-time-to-get-it-all-done. I had a meeting today where a mother tried to blame me for her son’s ADHD diagnosis, and tomorrow I will have the pleasure of telling a parent that her son needs a school for special-needs students (which is hard to find here in Egypt). I have a colleague who complains, every time her mouth is open. Sadly, she is close to my classroom. Such is the life of a teacher. We teach, we fight, we support, we get knocked down. And then we do it all again the next day. My back hurts, my feet are swollen, my ‘pits stink (haven’t showered yet—straight home to start grading)!
As educators, I think we are so busy expecting to deal with complaints that we forget how amazing it feels to accept compliments. The compliment above, from a graduating student I currently have in one of my college courses, just amazed me. And not because I think I am the world’s best teacher, but because of how much I appreciated it. Perfect words, perfect timing. Exactly what I needed to get me up in the morning and remember why I do what I do.
In the U.S., our pay is a regular topic (argument) of conversation; “So, whadd’ya make?” It seems endless; this person makes too little but that person doesn’t deserve that much. Sitting around the table with friends, the (low) pay of teachers always seems to rear its ugly heard. I found a poem some time ago that I personalized to fit my own world:
What I Make
You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder. I make them question. I make them listen. I make them criticize (thoughtfully). I make them apologize…and mean it. I make them write. And then write it again. I make them spell “because” with a song, and we do it over and over until I know they will never forget it. I make them show their work in math but expect them to hide it in final writing drafts. I make them use a tissue instead of a finger. I make them hold the door open for adults and each other. I make them believe in dragons. I make them understand that if they have this (brains) then they will follow this (heart). I tell them not to ever let people judge them by what they make. There’s more to my story than what I make.
My reality is this: I teach because I enjoy it. I might not enjoy it down the road, and I will find something else that makes me happy if that time comes. I agree that the pay scale of many teachers in the U.S. is ridiculous, particularly if you throw in our reality that we get blamed for pretty much everything wrong with our students (You might have noticed that I am teaching out of the U.S. now. I didn’t get here by accident.).
When the parent today tried to make me look as if I didn’t know what I was doing, I let her have it. Professionally, of course, but it felt so wonderful to look a parent straight in the eye and say, “Your opinion of me is irrelevant. Your son will be the same student now as he was last year and as he will be in third grade, if he makes it. You can either acknowledge that fact today so we can create a plan that works for him, or you can blame the teacher year after year while he gets farther and farther behind and more and more unhappy as a person.” Lord knows that if I said that back home I’d probably be strung up!
The reality is that teachers are beaten up so often that I think we forget how great some of us are at what we do. I am a darn good teacher. Yes, I am beyond tired as I write this, fighting to make it TWO MORE DAYS until break. Yes, my college students have 8-page essays I need to begin grading my second day of my vacation in Dubai. But am I happy? Absolutely. Do I make a difference? Yep. Did I laugh with my students today? More than 200 times. Something is working in this chaotic career I have chosen for myself, because I feel content that somewhere, one of my students is thinking about something they learned from me. And there just aren't a whole lot of professions cooler than that.
A colleague came up to me in the print room and asked how my adjustment (to Egypt) was going. “Fine.” I replied. “It’s pretty easy to move here, because there are so many American creature comforts.” “So, you must still be in your honeymoon phase” was her response.
Ummmmm…..my “honeymoon” phase? How the heck could anyone be in that phase here? By definition, doesn’t the “honeymoon” part of a relationship mean something is wonderful and perfect? That you don’t notice the bumps or irritating habits? I walked away, thinking that the lady asking must be crazy if she thought I ever had a honeymoon phase here. I have been noticing every annoying thing about Egypt since the day I stepped off the plane, but I do realize that focusing on them will only make our stay here seem that much longer.
I was waiting for my favorite meal to be delivered. I eat a very specific dish from a Chinese restaurant at least twice a week, and the funny thing is that it’s not very good. What it is, however, is possibly disappearing. The menu says, “Chicken w/ Brookly (in Season)”.
WHAT? Broccoli has a season? (Please realize that I come from California. I have only ever known broccoli to be a year-round kind of food). Who the heck knew that broccoli only came around for a certain period of time? So I have this awful fear that one day, my selection will simply be gone, and that will be it. So I eat. And eat it again. I look forward to very few ‘treats’ here in Egypt, and my Chinese food is one of them. I can’t afford to lose it.
While waiting, I looked at my husband and said, “You know, I won’t be able to eat broccoli chicken forever.” “Why not?” he asked. “Because of the carbs. I’ll have to quit the only foods I love, because they all have carbs (cereal, bagels, spaghetti), and I am getting too old to get away with eating whatever I want.” “Who cares what you eat?” he replied. “HUSBAND!” I yelled. “Do you understand that if I had a personal trainer right now he would yell at me every day about what I eat?” “So don’t get a personal trainer and keep eating what you want!” he said. I look at my 7-years-younger husband and thank God that he doesn’t care if I eat too many carbs or dream of slapping my nonexistent trainer.
There is an Arabic word that we use often here, Khalas (sounds like "halas"). It means "done" or "finished". I am khalas here. I need my break. I am ready for the beaches of Dubai, no matter how man-made they are. If the streets are clean and the water is warm, I'll be happy as a clam.
I wonder if broccoli is in season there?
Happy B-day, Poppy--
Hope. As I look out of the windows of the bus, I see men at work, laying rebar or stacking bricks in the shell of a 20-story, unfinished building, a leftover from the days before the Revolution. Empty, gigantic eyesores dot every road in Cairo. It’s hard to reflect on the magnificent history of this country when all I see is building after building after building.
I have been told that prior to the Revolution, Cairo was the (or one of the) fastest growing cities in the world. People flocked here to enjoy the cheap living costs and ease of travel. Cairo was, for all intents and purposes, a “happening” place. We have seen none of that. In the months we have been here, we have seen anger, uncertainty, and fear. Some happiness, but only a little.
Today, however, marks the first time I have looked out the window and seen many men working on the buildings (instead of a handful in only one building ever mile or so). I think about how different I am than the people here, and I realize that it is hope that binds us all together.
I hope for a bright future. I have high hopes for the lives of my children. I have personal and financial hopes for myself and my husband. I hope that my students change the world. And don’t we all? Aren’t you, reading this now, hoping for something?
The men working on the buildings have their own hopes and dreams. So do I.
For now, I am hoping that my middle school son, now gone on his class trip to Turkey, remembers to brush his teeth.
I married my husband on a helicopter flying over the Bellagio in Las Vegas. We actually dipped left when I had to say, “I do.” I remember this, because I hate flying....because I freaked out that I was going to fall out of the tiny helicopter door......because I grabbed the arm of the pilot and might have cussed at him.... and because the whole experience was so stinkin’ cool.
The kids were in the back row with the priest, and we were in the front with the pilot. There were a billion things going through my mind during all of this. Our extended families weren’t there, we had just gotten back to the U.S. after being on a tiny island for a year (was this "island fever"?), and “HOLY COW WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!”
5 days prior, we picked up our puppy from a truck stop outside of Joplin, Oklahoma. She was furry, fluffy, golden, and all-thing-heavenly. She wiggled out of the backseat of an old Cadillac and into my arms. I made sure that the helicopter place in Vegas could watch her while we were getting married in the air. Sure enough, once we hit the reception area, I found her in the arms of a gorgeous bride. She had been in 5 wedding party pictures, and we had to sit and wait after a new wedding party begged to include her in 1 more.
I bring this up, because sometimes we get weighed down in things that just don’t matter. Is Cairo trashy? Yes. Did I find true love after my first marriage failed? Yes. Is there pollution here? Gag…yes. Did I actually get married in a helicopter? Yes. Is it a aggravating when a cabbie acts as if he has NO CLUE where we want to go, just so he can try to over-charge us? Yep. Do I look into the eyes of the man I-never-knew-I’d trust-with-the-rest-of-my-life-every day? Yep.
So…sometimes, the small stuff just don’t matter, ‘cuz the big stuff is just so sweet. I look at him, across the seats of our bus (God forbid we share a row), and the hardships melt away. We are all in this experience together. When you are strong, it’s hard to feel weak.
My middle child was just complaining that we never take him anywhere. Ummmm….without pointing out the obvious, he is living in Egypt. This is his third country to live in, and he has visited 8 countries total plus 40 U.S. states. He’s had a busy childhood. Did I mention his upcoming “field trip” is a week in Turkey? Or that for spring break we are headed to Dubai? When he was griping at us, I had to laugh. I told him that he was lucky; as an adult, he’ll never have to travel anywhere again.
The thing is this: We all have our own reality. My son has traveled more than most adults every will, yet he complains about never going anywhere. He is a typical teen, regardless of where we live.
Our bus driver is the Egyptian version of the Earnhardt or Andretti families. I didn’t realize that a full-sized bus could actually tailgate small cars or huge trucks, horns blaring, while zipping in and out of traffic. Now... to be fair...everyone with a vehicle here drives the exact same way; however, doing it in a bus is really amazing. I won’t need a roller coaster for the rest of my life.
Case in point: There was tons of traffic on the way home after school today. I am happily blaring my iPod, eyes closed, blissfully unaware of where we are. Suddenly, we drop 14 feet (yes, I know, I’m being dramatic here. It wasn’t 14 feet, BUT it felt like it). Once I got my bearings, I realized that we were off-roading again, a favorite pastime of our driver. He sees traffic on the horizon & he’ll take the fastest path off onto the sandy roads, trying to pass everyone. I have learned that our driver is just like me; he hates to be last. We slam into potholes, teetering back and forth so hard you have to hold onto the seat in front of you.
A car in front of us gets stuck in the sand. 10 men hop out of various cars and start pushing. Within minutes, the car is out. They turn to look at our gigantic bus, driven by a speed-demon of a driver, full of Americans who look like fish out of water. They all yell something in Arabic, and I realize that they are saying (something like) we better gun it. “Hold on!” I tell my son, sitting next to me. Our driver slams us into gear, floors it, and we hit the sandy bump at full force.
I have zero clue how anyone with carsickness could live here. It might sound like I am complaining, or just worried about my personal safety, but I must admit that I love the constant threat of “What if…..!” I picture us stuck in the sand, living my final days sweating to death, trying not to kill my bus mates. I have actually thought about who I might eat first, if it came to that.
I tell my husband this over dinner, and he wonders why I won’t just walk home from the bus crash.
There is rarely a dull moment here; certainly not on our journey to and from school.