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I wanted to write and say hello. My son, Jaden, is in Emerson’s class and evidently won a fan in Jaden this week when he drew a picture of himself farting during Kiswahili class.

Hally Mahler, in an email on the new kid in town.  Emerson’s response when I asked him about it: “It was supposed to be a picture of me putting on my clothes, but people didn’t get it.”

Let School Bells Ring

Emerson started school today after one long month of spring break.  We didn’t intend for such a long hiatus, but the International School of Tanganyika (IST) has a firm “we-don’t-prorate” policy.  So we chose not to pay around $4,000 for the 10 days remaining in the last term.  Then of course they had their spring break, and when you add it all up, a month has gone by.

Emerson enjoyed the first couple weeks until Sawyer started school.  But by the second week of being at home without his younger brother, he was bored and done with running errands with Dad. 

I am excited for him to start as well.  In fact, I was reminded of a speech by Martin Luther King. 

Martin Luther King

My memories from my undergrad American history courses are a bit hazy, but I believe that MLK gave it to a PTA conference shortly after his wife came back from a week-long trip while his kids were on spring break and he didn’t have a baby sitter.  I think it went something like this: 

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in a parent’s dream.

 I have a dream that one day schools will rise up and live out the true meaning of the creed: “Kids should be in the classroom, learning something on most weekdays.”

 I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together and have a coffee while their kids study math and reading.

 I have a dream that my four little children will one day all be in school at the same time, for a full day.  With no snow days, teacher training days, days off for parent-teacher conferences or other random holidays that parent’s don’t get.

This is our hope.  And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let school bells ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let school bells ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let school bells ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let school bells ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let school bells ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

And when this happens, when we finally get all the kids into school, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s parents will get a frickin’ break. 

And black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, moms and dads will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “The kids are out of our hair for a few hours.  Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

The Plane Flight Over: Turns Out Hobbs the Cat is a Better Traveler than I am

So the the journey over to Tanzany went with no major mishaps.  I managed to get the kids an adult size chicken-nugget meal at the Dulles Wendy’s before we boarded the plane.  They both ate the whole thing, which surprised me because it’s double the size of the Happy Meals that we usually get.

As far as I can tell, Emerson made that meal last for the next 24 hours.  The only other things he consumed were a few sodas and packets of airplane snack mix.  Sawyer ate everything.

Our first time traveler, Hobbs the cat, traveled under the seat in front of us and was a real trooper the entire way.  She was quiet and didn’t really complain at all.  She hopped out of the bag on the other side more or less happy as ever, despite peeing on herself a few times.  And really, how many of us can say that we haven’t peed ourselves on an airplane?  No self-respecting LSJUMB member, I can tell you that.

I on the other hand managed to lose my coat.  I have no idea where.  Not that I need it here where it’s bloody hot, but it did have a nice pen in it that I don’t like to lose. 

So after a bath, Hobbs was fine and I was still down a nice pen.  Score one for the cat on that trip.