You know you have a meaningful relationship when you can be angry or frustrated or upset or bewildered or overwhelmed but, at the end of the day, you’re still happy to be right where you are.
I’ve spent the last year or so exploring an interest of mine: the persona of war, specifically World Wars I and II. — Digression: So many of the texts we bring into the secondary English classroom are connected to those two wars: All Quiet on the Western Front, Slaughterhouse-Five, Catch 22, The Book Thief, A Farewell to Arms, The Great Gatsby, Diary of Anne Frank, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Maus, Night, the poetry of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke and Randall Jarrell. We discuss the wars as setting; we provide some context to help with students’ analysis; we offer facts and figures to provide some scope of these global conflagrations. We don’t discuss them as characters in their own right, though, and I think we should. — Places and events have personalities, character, charisma; they provoke responses and influence decisions; we interact with them in both certain and unexpected ways.
Romania has been my constant companion this year, and we’ve formed a rather serious relationship. I’ve grown quite fond of this country. Even when we have our rough days, I can still see its beauty and manage its foibles and appreciate its uniqueness. However frustrated or overwhelmed I’ve been, I’ve never wanted to pack my bags and head back to the US; it won’t be easy when I’m required to do it. Relationships are like that: Once you fall, you’re caught. You can see past the annoyances to the real beauty, even if it takes a little time to regain your balance. You may not understand everything but you’re glad you have the chance to learn. You realize that you smile more often than you frown, and you continue to be surprised at the little things that make you smile even more. And you wouldn’t trade the your time together for anything.