royal wedding vs. the nfl draft

I win the Friday night battle of the remote, and he's out cold in 90 seconds. Apparently the only thing that wears Ryan out more than talking about his own wedding is talking about the royal wedding. Sweet dreams, prince.


overheard 006

At a crowded Indianapolis sushi bar, at 10:00 on Friday night...

Very chatty and sweaty 35-year-old man: "Everyone! I have something personal to share! I've been doing coke since 2 p.m."


a place of refuge

Since September, I've spent Wednesday nights teaching English to a small group of refugee students. Most of my students are from Thailand and Burma, and range from 20 to 70 years old.

To be honest, after working an 8-hour day, sometimes the last thing I feel like doing is teaching a 2-hour English class. But many times it's the best 2 hours of my work week.

My students live in small apartments with large families. They struggle to find jobs, to pay rent, to feed and cloth their children, and pay back their cost of airfare to the US government. Many haven't seen their families in three or more years, and don't know when they'll see them again. The language barrier prevents me from knowing exactly what kind of traumas they left behind in their home countries. I only know that several wear prosthetic limbs, and occasionally, when the classroom door slams shut, they jump like they're scared for their lives.

And yet, they are some of the happiest people I know. They're glad to have a dry home, a warm bed, a country without landmines, enough food, freedom to speak their mind and practice their own religion. Nothing is expected, and nothing is taken for granted.

They are always smiling, always laughing, always eager to shake your hand, thank you, and learn something new. Wednesday nights have become a refuge for me — a dose of reality, a reminder that whatever "problems" I have are surmountable, and a steady source of wonder at the resilience of the human spirit.


recipe for a lazy saturday morning

• 12 hours of sleep

• Fleece bathrobe with teddy bears in argyle sweaters

• Random visor that Ryan plopped on my head (probably to tame the mane)

• ATL coffee mug the size of my head