Friday, November 19, 2010

Thoughts from the Wendy's in Terminal C at Dulles

I’m sitting at the Wendy’s in Dulles Airport. Not a Wendy’s, but THE Wendy’s that I eat at when I’m on my way to parts east. I’m on my way to Kabul again for the 6th time, a trip that is always one I get excited about but there’s always that fear that I may get hurt or something. My mother always says when life is stressful, go to McDonald’s and have a Big Mac and a cup of coffee. Not very healthy advice but it does the trick. There are no McD’s here in Terminal C so Wendy’s will have to do. It is also the place where one of my former students’ host father works (I believe he’s the manager). Two years ago, this Afghan boy gets of the plane at Dulles and is met by his host family, a Muslim couple from Egypt I believe. I’m surprised that his family can meet him at the gate but as I find out a little while later, hs host dad works at Wendy’s! What a shocker for me (and the boy) to think that we send kids from Afghanistan to the US for a year and they wind up living with people who work at Wendy’s.
That boy is now in Toronto, he didn’t last long that year, I believe leaving almost as soon as he arrived. He’s repeating his senior year in high school this year because he frittered away last year and failed. Such is life up north without real guidance. His host dad is still working here, he just waited on me. I wonder if he recognized me? If he did, he didn’t show it.
So who knows what waits for me in Kabul in a day and a half. I’m actually looking forward to the trip and excited for some inspiration for my book that I’ve been struggling to write. Maybe I’ll get some of it written while in Kabul, it seems that life in New York is just so crazy that I can’t focus on the book. The story is inside of me and now and then gets scribbled down on my computer but I need a quiet place to push it out of me. I notice just here in the Dulles airport that away from the Big Apple my creative juices flow. The stresses and worries of daily life; money, t-shirts, teaching, a social life, house, cats, etc. can be very distracting to a budding novelist. Guess I should go away more often.
Now why, you may ask am I going to Kabul in November? Well, let me tell you. It’s sort of like finishing unfinished business. 9 of my kids from the summer didn’t come but will come in January for a semester. Prior to their arrival, they need to have a pre-departure orientation (PDO), which I have been asked to run. This is the same work I do in summer, not to confuse anyone. That’ll be my first three days in Afghanistan. After that, I will be interviewing potential candidates for next year’s program. A busy ten days with not much breathing space but that’s OK, it’s all enjoyable work for me.
This time away from NYC will hopefully give me some time to reflect on where my life is going these days. It seems there is no direction, but full of activity which I enjoy, some of which I don’t really enjoy. How much more time do I really want to spend on my t-shirt business? Do I want to do more work overseas? When will I make time to get this book finished? How will I pay my bills if I do? Well, I have a 13-hour plane ride to Dubai awaiting me. Besides catching up on reading the NY Times and watching some movies, maybe I can ponder these questions. I’ll talk to you later, let me go get on my flight. They’re boarding in a few minutes.

1 comment:

Walton said...

If I didn't know you and hadn't worked with the Afghan kids, I would still want to read a book about your experiences. Hope you get it done, because it should sell like a best-selling thing.