One of my favorite expressions in German is “Es zieht sich wie ein roter Faden durch das Leben” or “It’s a central theme of life” although the literal word-for-word translation is “It pulls like a red thread through life.”
Substitute possessive pronouns like “sein” or “ihr” or “mein” and you have his or her or my life. And then you have the groovy color element, Red, which is also the name of my all-time favorite movie (and referenced in my blog post a week ago on Valentine’s Day).
My work Tuesday here in a high school in Honolulu began with a poetry workshop. I’m actually an administrator, but my boss, the Head of School, has allowed me to teach two subjects near and dear to my heart: German and poetry that have been constant friends most of my life.
For that matter, so have tennis, distance running, being gay, the bassoon, and Hawaii and Iceland. I’ve had a few ups and downs with all these friends, but we’re pretty loyal to each other.
Never did I imagine I would some day end up in Honolulu, married to a man, and the proud co-parent of a seven-year-old daughter.
But here we are.
So this morning, after a holiday weekend, I expected my students to be tired and not ready to discuss the assignment I gave them last week: write a poem imagining an alternate history in your life — either a part of your history you have already lived or that which is ahead of you.
I had shared with them some of my own history: wanting to be a writer for Sports Illustrated, earning a degree in journalism, applying for all kinds of writing and editing positions, but then working instead at a small law office for an attorney for the German Consulate.
I told them how that led to receiving a Fulbright teaching assistantship, then staying in Austria and working for the Japanese Consulate during which time I saved all my vacation and flew around the world with one of the stops being Hawaii, how I never forgot what I considered to be the most beautiful place on earth, how one bitter cold day many years later in Iowa, I received a call offering me this job at a school in Honolulu where I am now a fundraiser and teach students poetry.
My students and I wrote poems this holiday weekend with a What If theme! They came ready to go!
After I ask their permission later this week, I will share the poems.
And I will get back to my cliffhangers for Teaching Moments posts and tie the red threads together.
I told my students I was proud of them and excited to have shared Tuesday morning with them.
And this was all before 9 a.m!