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500 Words Per Day: Day 14
Kids Break My Heart: Day 14

Kids Break My Heart: Day 14

1.24.15

Day 14

Back in the city tonight, Kuala Lumpur. I used to love this city, thought it felt like SE Asia’s New York because of the grit, construction, and diversity. Now I just feel like it is dirty, corrupt, and inefficient.

The first night I was here, about a year ago, it poured rain and I walked the streets with a hotel umbrella until 3 or 4 in the morning.

The other night it rained and I didn’t even crack the window, I just rolled on my other side and went to sleep.

Couple things I want to get off my chest:

1) Pictures of ground beef never look good on social media.
2) I hate when people go to their facebook to say, “I’m taking a hiatus from social media, if you need to get a hold of me you can try my email.” Or, “I’m doing a social media cleanse, my true friends will know how to get ahold of me.”

First of all, fuck you, because you’re not going anywhere. Secondly, why do you need to announce to social media that you’re leaving social media? You think that you’re better than us? A real divergent would just disappear and not say anything. Bums.

We finished camp tonight. Level 1 is always crazy because they are young and full of fear. I’m sure they go through every emotion in the book during the 5 days with us. I don’t know what kind of camper I would have been. As it stands today, I go through every emotion in the book about every 6 seconds. First two and a half days I tend to find the youngsters a little irritating as they require more energy than I’m sometimes willing to put out, like dude I just woke up can you please stop asking me if America makes better chowder than China, I have no idea.

“Teacher, is America good at martial arts?”

“Yes.”

“Teacher, how come everyone in America is so big?”

“I don’t know.”

“Teacher, will you show me dance move?”

“Practice the one I showed you yesterday.”

And this goes on for 5 consecutive days.

But on day 3 something always happens, like it was scripted, I start to fall in love with the kids. A handful have stood out to me by then with their funny jokes or insightful remarks and I’ll start to pay attention to their interaction within their groups. I start to care about them and look out for them. When they get recognized I want to cry. When they get hurt I want to hurt people.

Everyone says kids are honest and make you look at things differently, and it’s true, but this week I was trying to figure out when the exact moments were that they gave me spine chills and goosebumps.

1) My number one fan, the kid with the questions – all week he hounded me with the most ridiculous questions you could imagine. And it was wearing on me. I started to feel like a mean dad, “Go play with your brother,” would have been nice. Then, I saw him practicing a dance move I showed him in the corner of the room on break while everyone else was out socializing and having fun. I realized that he was an outcast and didn’t feel like he fit in so he was reaching out to anyone that would give him attention. The gods had sent their best fighter down to punch me in the gut. Asshole.

2) Don’t make me sound racist here. Asian parents are slave drivers (mostly) (in Asia). They came in today for graduation and were considerably uptight and staring at us like we were witch doctors from the West when we told them the work we had been doing with their sons and daughters. Just when they started to loosen up, 200 kids came into the room screaming and dancing and gave their graduation speeches and stood up and clapped for each other and when “Turn Down For What” came on, you’ve never seen a beat drop so hard on such an unlikely audience. They went fucking nuts. And it was incredible. Because they could not have been more free. Even though their rigid parents were sitting there behind them they circled the room riding invisible ponies.

3) When kids stand up for other kids on their own, without being prompted, well, that’s it for me. One kid forgot what he was saying today in front of hundreds of parents, and you know what those kids did? They started chanting his name and clapping and he let out the biggest smile and rattled off his sentence. And I’m over there on the side hiding behind my camera because I’m a fucking wreck.

It was great. And by tomorrow all this rawness will be closed again and I’ll be back to bitching about wifi and my developing muffin top.

I’m excited to have a few days off. Wake up when I want, take a walk, listen to music, and choose the conversations I want to have.

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