My bunking of all things communal has left me in the company of blessed, blissful books. I think I’ve been looking forward to this day since school started last September.
The weird part is that the two books I’m reading- The Poisonwood Bible (recommended) and My Education (not)- forge some connection to the Philippines, and the luxury of time has allowed me to research things about this country that I would not otherwise, even wandering the streets in which sections of the book are set, have learned.
It’s disconcerting, by the way, to be still- ten years a history teacher- discovering new perspectives and new atrocities that I’ve never known to incorporate into my lessons, especially as I try to weave community and empathy as my principle threads. Why didn’t I know, until I was basking in a day’s freedom from a relatively cushy life, that this country was attacked at the same time as Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor? Why didn’t I know that the Filipinos endured much more brutality as their attack was coupled with a physical invasion, and followed by the Bataan Death March, during which both our countries’ soldiers suffered and died inhumanly at Japanese hands? Why hadn’t I heard George Takei’s story, which mitigates reflexive racism with a grace that demands we judge people as individuals and not as a culture, if we judge them at all?
I feel like an ignoramus. And yet I’m completely content in my day, having learned the above and vowed to parlay it forward.
Cheers to the written word, y’all, and the freedom to duly interpret.