Big Time – 16th February 2023

Asleep on the grass forever
Amongst the trees, staring at the sky
Nothing within vision
The clouds keep drifting by
Oblivious to the tears
Or the dramas yet to come
No more sadness or joy
At the sight of the rising sun
A dot on the map
A blip on the radar, gone
A marker in the road
That we’re all travelling on

Today I’m feeling:
Happy, then shocked, then numb.
Today I’m grateful for:
Being able to spend another day on this earth. This week’s events bring life into a sharper focus.
The best thing about today was:
Working with 1/6 in the morning following up on the work they struggled with yesterday. My plan went well and slowly, slowly, most students got a better understanding of this minor grammar point I was teaching. It made me happy to see the kid’s own pleasure at getting it and also made me realise I need to slow up on certain points and work out better ways to present them.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
After my first class going well I was ready to grab a coffee but as I was going to the stairs I saw a bunch of primary students coming down from the floor above so I stood and high-fived them as they went past. More and more came and some students who knew me were happy to see me, particularly Nana who always comes and gives me a big hug. As they kept coming Gun from 2/7 came running around the corner and said ‘Teacher, you know about Big? He’s gone, he’s dead!’ and off he went running down the stairs past all the primary kids.
Now, Gun is a bad boy and likes it, so I was a little bit dubious though I thought something like telling a lie like that was even below him. The last of the primary kids came down and I started behind them. On the way up were Aum and Sunwa and when they saw me they just burst into tears and hugged me. I took them up to the classroom and soon other students followed all looking sad, shocked and teary.
Gun appeared again and wanted to show me his phone. I knew what was coming and sure enough, he showed me a picture of Big, who had been hit by a car on his motorbike, his body laying at a weird angle on the side of the road. I told Gun to stop showing this and not to share it but unfortunately, pictures like this are normal here and even on the front pages of newspapers and websites. I don’t even know where Gun got the pictures from. More kids came, some only then finding out the news and it was a very sombre atmosphere. I hung around and comforted some or just sat quietly watching everyone. I could see one or two of the boys who were Big’s closer friends were particularly distraught. Eventually, David came and I left for my own class with 1/7 and some of them already had seen RIP pictures shared on Facebook. I took the class slowly and the kids were good today as I promised they could go early if they listened and finished the work. I talked more with a few students outside and came home.
I wasn’t particularly close to Big as he often didn’t come to my class or would skulk in late without me even noticing him but he still occupied a small space in my brain that will no longer be filled.
I feel sad that someone so young is lost like that and sad at the grief of his friends and I feel in some way his co-students are sad because they know that it could just as easily be them. Big is not sad, but we all are.
Something I learned today?
I watched a wingsuit video today of people jumping from a plane over the Maldives. Looking at the islands below it seems to me that the generic photo used to advertise the sea houses over sparkling clear blue water is right next to the airport. You could just get off the plane and walk across the runway and into one of these houses. I would guess the airport is not that busy but it also shows that the idyllic picture is not quite what it seems if you could see the full 360-degree view!

23rd Feb 2023 – Looking at a map it seems like almost every island of the Maldives has an airport so I guess wherever you might be there would be the occasional rumble of planes going by.

What song takes me back to a specific memory?
Impossible! Too many songs, too many memories. This question is suitable for a casual music listener. I’m transported to so many different parts of my life depending on what I’m listening to.

I took this picture because Tigger loves our house so much. He can lie anywhere and feel good. I do have to double-check sometimes to make sure he’s still breathing!

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