Ben took us in “his” special back way, unaware that two parents were waiting for me at another gate. But Biney and Cheri finally found us and made us feel immediately at home, staying with us the entire day to make sure we didn’t get lost (a very easy thing for Neil and I to do!).
and some of the great students I got to present to and chat with
I enjoyed the entire day but lunch was especially fun because I got to visit with a small group of 5th graders and their teachers. I accumulated quite a list of book recommendations from that lively crew!
The long promised picture of Anita is below — I know she has worked very hard to coordinate my visit and yet she wears a big smile every time I see her!
Anita Reilly, me, Emma, Dialla and Principal Leever
Of course, we all know the world is getting smaller but that was brought home powerfully to me today when I met the charming Emma, above. She asked me if I knew Elvira Woodruff and I proudly answered yes, having written her a fan letter years ago which has grown to a warm friendship. Well, Emma was the model for Elvira’s picture book, Small Beauties! If you don’t know the book, you should! And I will enjoy my copy even more now knowing this wonderful connection. I can’t wait to tell Elvira!
The teachers were so complimentary about my presentation, but I believe it was successful thanks to their preparation for my visit and thank to the curious and engaging students. I was honored to be introduced by Katherine and by Angela, two exceedingly composed and articulate 5th graders. I tried to imagine being a young person, far from my home, attending an enormous school like the American School. These students seem to not only rise to this challenge but thrive in the environment. And their experiences! Biney and Cheri talked about their children who had gone to music competitions in Kuwait and track meets in Egypt. I’m eager for these kids to grow up and be in charge!
At the end of the school day, a very nice driver arrived to take us home. He, however, was confused about where to take us and we were confused about exactly where we lived! He did eventually find our apartment compound and we said, “Oh, 5 D — that’s us!” Little did we know, there is more than one 5D. You need to know which court your apartment is in (now we know: ours is Al Zmeiem). So the afternoon included an unplanned walk around our complex, in what felt like 100 degree heat. Our first adventure on our own! 😉
We did find our way (thanks to a kind security guard from Nepal) and took a short nap, waking up in time to be taken to dinner by Michael and Virginia of the Qatar Reading Association. We really roughed it at the golf club
sitting outside in the pleasant night air, without one mosquito in sight! Terrific conversation and tasty food made for the perfect end to a rich and memorable day.
Neil and I have been so touched by the willingness of the teachers here to take precious time away from their families to take care of us — from filling our refrigerator to driving us everywhere to taking us to dinner. There is no way to repay such kindnesses . . .except perhaps to pay it forward.
Tomorrow: Al Wahjab Government school.