Friday, April 20, 2012

everything is bigger in texas

I come check the blog each night hoping Troy has said something about something going on in Haiti; I find only things of little interest that I posted.  It's kinda sad.  (For me and for you.)   It is almost like Troy is working, handling a household in a challenging place, taking care of five kids and their massive need list, and once in a while trying to eat and sleep and bathe.  I guess writing about his day isn't making his to-do list. 
... in Tejas - Paige and Britt and a giant tree in Baylor's science building

The state of TX is all at once disturbing and fabulous.  They've got space here.  Lots of space.

We're alternating between laughter (like the crazy kind where the laughter is disproportionate to the thing that happens but your emotional side is so amped up that you gotta put those emotions somewhere) and tears in Texas. It actually does feel scary and unknown and impossible difficult to think of the kid leaving someday. If she wasn't so darn likable this would be so much easier.

We're realizing that the "Third Culture Kid" thing is not a small thing.  Her reality is Port au Prince. Her paradigm is not that of the average junior in high-school. It changes most of what she experiences. It means even the way college campuses are all about pedestrians and tons of people walking freely and safely and having the right of way seems kinda crazy to Paige. Suffice it to say pedestrians don't have rights or safety in Port-au-Prince. We're laughing with/at her a lot. We've seen four schools so far. We have one day left in TX before we head to CA.

From earlier today...

 "I have many observations about the state of our society at large based solely off of the things they focus on during the campus tours. I'd risk offending and expound if it weren't for the fact that American generosity allows me to work and live in Haiti. For now I'm developing my theory as each tour has a common thread. I am measuring and weighing my words. "

I am reflecting on the three "official" tours we have had so far.  It seems like the point is to sell a "college experience" more than a "college EDUCATION".  If I were to come in as a foreigner that knew nothing about the American higher education system I would leave the tour thinking that the four most important things about choosing a school are:

1. The food
2. The comforts and accommodations of the housing/dorms
3. The recreational facilities and options (HELLO - HOW can I possibly go to a school with no rock wall?)
4. Sports and sporting events

The tours have literally been 90% about food, housing, and entertainment. I keep waiting for someone to tell me about the academics -about the quality education - about the depth of character that will be built - the integrity .... the amazing professors ... something.

The tour guides keep saying things are "free" ... I am fighting my tongue and forcing myself not to be 'that guy'.  (Am I the only one that thinks the large student fees and large college tuition plus room and board is real money that is really being paid and therefore things aren't so much free as they are "covered in your fees and tutition"?) They say:'tickets to sporting events are free'.  I think: 'tickets to sporting events are included in your $20,000 + a year cost'.

I sometimes get myself into trouble saying this stuff out loud. It isn't meant to put anyone on the defensive. (And obviously, it is simply ONE observation based off of my limited experience. Ignore me!)  I guess it's just a function of leaving a culture and then coming back to see snippets of it.

I'm not attempting to be offensive, it is more of a head-scratching moment for me right now.  Do American parents care that much about how nice the stinkin dorm room is and how many options their kid will have for dinner?  Is a wide variety of food choices and a large bedroom what our 18 year olds need the most? Am I the only cynical curmudgeonly jerk that doesn't get it - or is that weird?

(For the Baylor junkies, we did not tour Baylor because we already know Baylor and Britt showed us around more. Don't be upset, the tours I am talking about were not at BU. Sic em!)