The characters I see as I’m carried down the street, peering our of the water stained bus window, have stopped being objects of interest and instead just fall across my path of vision as senseless shapes and patterns. For the first month I stared wide eyed at the street signs and advertisements trying to drink in as much of the strange images as possible. I remember how they danced across my mind creating nonsensical stories. I remember how the meaning seemed to wash over me without actually latching onto my brain receptors.
Children’s books, sunshine level writing books, I drank it in eagerly determined to crack the hidden code, and though the meaning still alludes me I have accepted the shapes as another everyday stimulus. My tired eyes stare lifelessly, my head sags wearily, and I still have one more performance of the night.
The bus pulls up to a stop. I get off only to find I’m in the wrong place. One stop to early. Next bus, one more yuan, next stop I get off. I smile at the woman waiting for me “Hello, how are you?” I try to remember to keep my words simple and my tone even and steady.
“Hello Jennyfer, I am fine how are your week?”
“I’m good this week.”
“How many classes you have?”
“Three classes.” we talk about school, the kids, and their ages as we walk back to her place. I try to explain to her that I want the kids I tutor’s (as this is where I am heading) input on what subjects I will teach them, but the concept is lost in translation.
I taught a lesson on zoo animals that day, the energy of the children gave me strength and I soon found myself laughing and forgetting my exhaustion. I do worry about Sophia falling behind as she is the weakest at English and is easily distracted, but regardless she is a joy to work with.