Monday, January 19, 2009

Leaving Ecuador

I slept about two and a half hours last night!!!! And I am still awake, catching up with news and everything I have missed these past two weeks. Today is Martin Luther King Day and the night before Inauguration Day. I missed a dynamic concert at Lincoln Memorial in DC and am enjoying the music and all the excitement about this momentous occasion via HBO. I wonder if I would have attended the event if I had the chance. Many people from Baltimore are traveling to DC tomorrow to join the celebration. Maya's school day is canceled to mark the occasion.

I had hoped to sleep during the plane ride today, but Maya was awake and energetic and busy. The trip was complicated by a three hour visit to immigration in Miami. My green card was stolen four or five years ago and someone else must be using it and the authorities need to check that I am legitimate. What I do not understand is why they do not catch the person using my card unlawfully and record permanently that with my fingerprints and iris scan I am who I am. I did ask what could be done to prevent this occurring so frequently and was told that they were doing this for my protection. It makes no sense and angers me. I had all the students waiting for me and wondering what had happened. Maya was distraught and tearful. As an alien, I am not well treated. We are herded into a room packed full of waiting travelers, we sit on torn up chairs and watch one or two immigration officers crawl through the piles of cases on their desks. When I ask any questions, I am told to sit down and wait. Whether I miss a flight or have a child waiting is not their concern. I cannot use my cellphone or computer or drink or eat or go to the bathroom. There is a sense of threat in the room; if I object or pressure them in any way, my experience will worsen. I am reminded that I have no rights in this country. I pay taxes and contribute much too --- taxation without representation.

I was worried that our drive back from Reagan International Airport to Baltimore would be horribly slow because of traffic associated with the Inauguration event. Truly it was not as awful as I expected. The students piled into vans and were whisked off to Johns Hopkins. I hardly said goodbye to any of them. So much closeness and togetherness for twelve days and such incredible experience and then everyone is off to their lives...I wonder about the impact of this trip on their view of the world.

I learned that my dog Pippi has been unwell and is likely fighting cancer and may need to be euthanized tomorrow. I am feeling so very sad. I love Pippi, he has been part of my life for twelve years. Tara and Maya have grown up with Pippi. He has been good and gentle and obedient and loving and steady and all who have known him have loved him. He has been looking unwell since we returned from Canada after Christmas. I knew that I would have to face this, but I suppose when it happens, one feels unprepared. I have many tears; tears have come, are coming, are here now. I must decide whether my nine year old should be part of this, how to say goodbye, how to be peaceful about his death.

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