Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Post script

After my second day with this class i was up to here (holding my hand high) with a few kids. I even broke down and went Hansen-lecture-style on a few kids. "Do you want scholarships? Do you want a good life? Then do your work like I said!"

But at the end of the day, the effort paid off when the kids spontaneously, guys and girls, got in a line to hug me on their way out. For the first few I offered high fives like I used to on my first dates after the mission. But then I remembered a hug can mean more than a high five. So I let them hug the sub.

These kids were so good they stayed in during recess to make a play for Anna. It was five minutes long. I captured it on my video camera for Anna to see in the evening. If I ever have a choice to sub for elementary again, third grade it is. Too young for sass. Old enough to have some class.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Day in the life of a medical student

Sometimes life's trail takes you on turns that just leave you shaking your head and smiling. Have you ever looked down at your shoes while pondering life's oddities and thought, "what would myself one year ago think about me now?" I had that moment today when for the seventh time Zachary came up to me with a handful of crumpled up papers and said, "Clay won't stop throwing these at me." For the seventh time I said, "Okay Zach, I'll make a note of it" (mentally only of course).

I was substituting at Wilson elementary school. The third grade class. As part of my year off of radiology research, hiking, spending time with Anna, traveling, and fixing up what needs fixing I decided to fill in the gaps in my week as a substitute teacher. And today I became very familiar with my shoes, shaking my head.

But in reality, I've enjoyed the experience. If I did not go into medicine I probably would not have gone into teaching. But I still wanted to know what it felt like. And it is more enjoyable than I imagined. While I know substituting is only a substitute for the real experience, I still managed to get a grasp of what teachers go through day in and day out. I appreciate them on a whole new level. I barely had enough energy at the end of the day to bring the fork loaded with Anna's beef stroganoff up to my mouth. But the thought that the stroganoff would soothe my parched, tired out throat like a balm was enough to get the fork to it's destination. I haven't used my voice like I did today for some time and it's out of shape. Anna had a quiet husband tonight.

But seriously, let's pay full time teachers more! I would gladly increase the tax on our income if it went to public teacher's salaries. I felt more tired after today than a full day in the wards. And the sense of responsibility for the kids' lives must be overwhelming. I'm glad for the new perspective. Maybe next month I'll try a construction crew. I know I don't appreciate their labor enough.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A good story

In high school I read an incredible, literally hard to believe, story about a trek to freedom called The Long Walk. It's coming out on film. The link below can take you to a trailer:
The last movie I got excited enough to blog about, Robin Hood, I found disappointing. So I'm moving my eggs to this basket!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Running in Tucson

We have family come visit every now and then. Yesterday while out for a jog in the cold morning (cold day #3 out of a possible 5 this year) I was thinking what it must look like for visitors to run alongside me. About every half mile or so a hooded figure in what looks like flannels or maybe dark jeans would run past me in the opposite direction. I passed a bearded fellow in jean shorts and a hoodie. I've seen these people out running on the trail every single day of the year that it's cold, which is exactly five days. Always wearing the same attire, my fellow running mates could be confused for groups of running homeless. They (we) are not homeless, we are cold runners.

So if you visit Tucson, and like to jog, and it's a cold day, you can best fit in by dressing like a homeless person. Why would we buy cold weather gear for 5 days out of the year? We're not cheap, we're practical, and yes...maybe in debt.
So happy trails in your flannels and over sized hoodies handed down from your sibling's high school days.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Our Tucson

Saturday morning we were playing basketball at our church building. Half a mile away we had no idea what was about to happen. On my drive to the church I thought about my near and distant future. I had to go find some camping gear. I needed to return a Christmas present. Whatever happened, I had to make sure to listen to Car Talk. Next week, I had to make sure to fill out some forms for medical school. I kept wavering between thoughts of seeing True Grit or Tron with Anna. And I had to finish preparing my lesson for Priesthood.

I drove away from the church happy with my game on the court. As I turned on Ina and Oracle, I saw two cop cars speed by, followed by an ambulance. It wasn't until I got home to my computer that I read about the tragedy. In about 2.5 seconds, my life's issues distilled down to the basic elements of fear, survival, and concern for family and friends. My previous focus on material and entertainment issues simply evaporated. It wasn't a conscience choice, it just happened. At the end of the day, and for the rest of many people's lives, it simply is going to be a focus on healing and finding meaning in tragedy. Today I am still struggling with interchanging thoughts of hatred and sorrow for the killer. But he did something that brings me happiness. He has brought out the best of Tucson. I've been witness to a united community that I haven't seen or been a part of since 9/11. It's humbling. I love learning from those who deal with tragedy so nobly. And everyone who was struck has acted nobly. Even the killer's parents, I believe, responded in a way that helped me learn more about the beauty of humanity.

Everyone has shown future victims of tragedy that life can go on with your head humbly held high in the fight against evil. I love Tucson. A melting pot of so many cultures and backgrounds, the people are lively and happy. Here I've learned it not only takes a family but takes a village to create the community where good happens. And as it so happens, I've learned Tucson has true grit.