The view from here…

It takes me about ten minutes to open and close the window in my bedroom. Every time. I am sure there is some magical trick to mastering the 6 interlocked window panes, but honestly, I can’t figure it out. I am sure this provides much amusement to my neighbors. (And I think it’s hilarious, too.)

The struggle with the window is metaphoric as well as literal. Every day I’m shifting various panes in order to better see into the culture/s I’m now immersed in.

After a wonderful primer from Mr. Tan at AST, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the Singaporean school system. I will be doing most of my school visits in secondary schools (students ages 13 – 17, generally who will go on to
junior college or perhaps technical school) with a few weeks at a junior college (80% of these kids go on to university).

I have already visited Bowen Secondary School – a neighborhood government school which I LOVED. The school has about 1300 students, a vibrant drama CCA (co-curricular activity) group, and a life lit program which instructs students in drama and then uses it to teach literature. Super exciting stuff. I’ll be hanging out there for most of April.

I also visited Victoria Junior College. I will be there for a few weeks starting on Tuesday. They have a more formal theatre studies program and an active CCA in drama as well. I am also looking forward to talking with Jaclyn, who runs their CIP (Community involvement program). I’m hoping to cook up a community drama program at the school.

One of the most inspiring parts of the week was spending the day at LaSalle College where I observed a few classes and sat in on a rehearsal. LaSalle is a private arts school offering junior college and degree programs in the visual and performing arts. The buildings are amazing architecturally, and the student art work I saw was extraordinary. I am planning to visit a rehearsal there this afternoon of a student directed piece for young audiences.

I have had many inspired conversations this week, including a wonderful evening with a group of Singaporean Fulbrighters and my teacher buddy, Sharon. Wonderful, wonderful night which included some shopping (more on this hilarity another time), Vietnamese food, and ice cream. I feel fortunate to have met these folks over the summer in DC.

The last week has been a whirlwind. And amazing. And life shifting in deep and profound ways. It’s Saturday in Singapore and I feel like I need some time to sit and breathe, to finally kick the jet lag, and to actually look through the window instead of moving the panes around, and to look around on this side of the window as well.

Finding time for reflection is going to be a challenge (as it always seems to be for.me – I want to be constantly doing stuff), but it is essential to do a good job on my Fulbright project. This is important to me. I think the taking time for reflection but is going to be one of the many things I am going to learn during my time here.

My housing block is currently being fogged for mosquitos and other assorted buggy wonders. Right now I wish I could quickly close the window. It’s mildly terrifying to watch plumes of white chemicals seep into the apartment. I’m happy to deal with that to avoid dengue, however. But it makes my eyes water and it smells terrible…

I’ll leave my window open to see what else might come in.

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2 thoughts on “The view from here…

  1. how different my “usual” journey to northern new mexico became when it was funded by an excellence in education grant. i had my ‘agenda’…alone, in a rented car, huge video camera, museum appointments…FOCUS: harmony created among the three diverse cultures of MY beloved land…

    cause for much reflection, then, and now.

    (fumes? cover the window, somehow?) x02U

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