Written on the return flight Monday, June 30 (and toyed with ever since):
I’m at 35,000 feet as I write, mercifully that height and about three hours away from closing my responsibility for the eight students still with me. One was dismissed, two left early to attend to family matters, and one is continuing in Europe. I love Paris; I dislike the role of trip leader.
I expect the students have mixed feelings about me, and I have some about myself. After 100,000 requests (from the valid to the ridiculous to the juvenile) and judgment calls over 19 days, I know I did my best to be fair, patient, instructive, and fun. That few of the students would see my effort as good enough (I have to assume) is a tough pill given how hard I worked on their behalf – whether they liked the form that work took or not.
But it’s not just me. I’ve not been singled out. It is most of these students' view of the world and what it is supposed to do for them. The limits of my ability or willingness are received as an inconvenience rather than as a meaningful boundary. They are always right in their own minds, and unmoveable in that there is no other possibility than their rightness.
And then, home for 24-plus hours:
What am I to take away from all this? That I adore Paris – ADORE it – is not the hard thing to come to. It is the obvious thing, the thing that rescued the experience. What else?
And now another day-plus beyond that (and more consistently alert):
I am going through baguette withdrawal.