This week I spent time with a classroom full of high school students from Congo, Uganda, Jordan, Afghanistan, Guam, Haiti, Burundi. . . . Some have been in the United States for only two or three months; some have arrived without parents or siblings. I don't know their backstories. But I do know that their Portland English class is an amazing space of learning and warmth. I know that they high-five the visiting writers when we show up, that they make easy eye-contact with us and are eager to spend time with us, that they can't wait to talk and write about their memories and their observations.
I'm just a volunteer in these sessions; I don't lead the classes or prepare curriculum. So I'm getting a chance to learn and watch, to just be relaxed with the kids. It's been beautiful, really.
Tomorrow morning, early, I'll be on the road again--off to watch my son perform and to visit with my in-laws. So, once again, my correspondence will be spotty.