So the two-week holiday is winding down, and I have woken up to the reality of what needs to happen next: I need to finish my marking and I have this 5-day workshop and C is going to come back and probably be in a state for a few weeks and I need to gird my emotional loins and figure out how to cope with that.
I found out today that they intend for us to stay overnight at the site where the workshop is being held. I can’t figure out the reasoning behind this. I asked my friend and she said, “The workshop is for five days.” Well, I used to work five days a week at a school site about an hour away and I didn’t stay there all night. I went home. What are they going to do with us that they need us 24 hours a day?
I am having internal conniptions about it and kind of trying to both strategize if possible and identify what is giving me conniptions so that I can work through them a bit and calm down.
First, is that C is going to have a very hard time if she does not see me. She is going to come back terrified that I will not be here and not be available to her and, indeed, I will not be here and not be available to her. So I think I at least need to physically see her when she gets her. This is awkward, because we will probably leave on the evening of the 15th and she will return on the evening of the 15th, and typically Country X style, no one will firm up their plan ahead of time and tell me, even though it does not depend on factors that are likely to change. So that is one problem. I have this dilemma I cannot plan for, because it’s not actually important to anyone else, and they will not understand why it’s important to me. That is problem A. The corollary to Problem A is that Problem A will worry me until I know I have a solution lined up for it, which could be the next three days.
I think in Country X, there is a lot of waiting around on decisions people are making that basically come down to, “I feel like doing it like this.” This just now crossed my mind. In other developing countries, it’s like there was a riot or the road was washed out or someone’s car broke down and that’s why there we could do it as originally planned, and here it’s like, “Well, she was taking a nap.” I think there are people who get annoyed by this and find it selfish, but it often doesn’t bother anyone, because no one has any particular plan in mind, no goals or priorities. I don’t really get it, but it’s not like India at least from what I remember, where last-minute changes occur because life itself is fairly unpredictable and there are factors that actually no one can really control. But I think that might be because other developing countries are about 100 years ahead of Country X, and development has involved considering other people’s points of view and exercising more impulse control in addition to building more machines.
So Problem B is that I won’t know this ahead of time.
Second, being away from C for five more days when I know she is having a hard time is going to be hard on me too. It will be terribly worrying to me to be an hour away and unable to do anything should she have a crisis. No one will understand this, and I will need to find a way to cope with it without talking to anyone about it, because the responses of other people will not be supportive or empathetic. They have no clue what traumatized children are like or what their struggles are, and I will not be in the mood to educate them nor ought I to assume they are motivated to learn. That is Problem C.
Problem D is that these are the people who whistle non-stop and I have been told sleep with the lights on. (Country X-ers are afraid of the dark.) I hope adults don’t still do this, but college kids do. (Wtf? You’re in a room full of almost 40 girls and you still need the freaking lights on?) I think the whistler is not in our group, but the lady who laughs really loud and scares me is.
Country Xers constantly need to remind themselves that people are there. Otherwise, they feel scared and lonely. I need to forget they are there, or the terror gets too much for me. That is Problem D.
I do not see solutions to Problem D. I will have to think more on Problem A, which will help with Problem B. There might be no solution to Problem C except to remember to not talk about C, and be aware that I am worried and know the reasons I am worried instead of shutting them down, which usually makes them worse.
The hard part is that when things like this come up, I just can’t calm down again. I get to a point where my ability to cope is maxed out, I stop processing anything, and I am in a white, dissociated haze for a considerable time afterwards. Then I have to come home and immediately teach, with no break whatsoever.
I am reminded of the issues these will touch on, that a bit of preprocessing might help with: I feel very helpless and trapped and that my needs are being disregarded. (The needs of all of the teachers are being disregarded. The Minister with this brilliant idea doesn’t care that the teachers would like to come back from a 2-week holiday and concentrate on wrapping up marking, get a routine established with the students again, and break them out of their “holiday mode” rather than face disruptions to instruction. I have my own special issues, but the reality is that he isn’t interested in teachers or what they think.
So what needs to be touched on is that feeling of being put in a box, because that’s how I am going to feel for five days, that I am in a box, and it could help to ponder that ahead of time.