Except it isn't quite yet.
Government orders? Check.
Pack out dates? Check.
Plane tickets? Plane tickets? Bueller? Anyone?
No plane tickets yet. This is a little aggravating, since I did the paperwork in February for orders, got caught up in the government shutdown, waited patiently until May to get said orders, and I've done everything else I can possibly do. I'm just in the queue, waiting for tickets. And waiting. And tapping my foot. And trying not to freak out/scream/blow up someone's email/vent. You know, waiting. . .
Patience, patience. . . not my finest quality.
In the meanwhile, music has been soothing my soul.
|from Twelfth Night|
Substitute "life" for "love," and you have me.
Why? Because our music was better. Of course.
I listen to the Cuban stations and try to practice listening in Spanish (for me, the hardest language skill) and I'm occasionally blown away by a piece of American music thrown in between "this day in history" (Communist propaganda) and more traditional Cuban music. It's the Whitney Houston and Air Supply and Michael Jackson that makes me laugh. As a result of spending long stretches of life between long travel days back to the States, an American song from the past, no matter how cheesy, brightens my day. Nostalgia warms my curmudgeonly old heart.
Recently our NPR in the morning was replaced by some conservative idiot who blames Obama for everything. (Would someone please tell him that Barry left office a while back?). It makes me angry. Even if it's a couple of miles from my door, over a big hill, dodging iguanas and kamikaze guinea fowl, I don't like to be mad when I'm driving. In its place I have found a station called El Taino out of Havana. Unlike the station I've listen to for 4 years that's out of Caimenera, this station has a top 10 list of songs en esapañol in heavy rotation. The propaganda is only news snippets, not folk songs with children singing about The Revolution and occasion mention of El Comandante Líder, the late Fidel Castro. I'm sure they love him there, too, but this station is about music.
They play themed play lists. One recent day it was all about the beach and ocean. Today's list include all things "suave" (smooth), which is more of an attitude and less of a physical description. I heard bands from Mexico, South and Central America. There are songs in English I've never heard---mostly from European bands. I love the variety of music in mostly Spanish, and my iPod's playlist has increased exponentially.
Last week I was leaving work and heard the unmistakable chords of the intro to "Hotel California." I don't care if you think the Eagles are cheesy, overrated, or even embarrassing---I love them because their music reminds me of my childhood, and because it's one of the most endearing and well-used nicknames (amongst many) for GTMO. "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave"---truer words have never been spoken of life on a 45 square mile strip of land surrounded by a fence and a beach with rocks for sand. After the initial shock that I am in Hotel California and listening to Hotel California, I laughed and sang along---loudly.
I was a kid in the 70s and 80s, graduated high school 30 years ago this month, and attended the prom all four years. Purple Rain was the theme one year. A Morris Day and the Time cover band played another year. It was a great time for music for dancing, for singing, and for chillin'. After being a prom sponsor a couple of years ago, I have a newfound respect for any teacher who takes on that daunting endeavor, and I have since sworn to be a chaperone and help any future prom sponsors. This year's event was at the Bayview restaurant, which, if you can deal with the swarms of horrid, painful mosquitos, has a beautiful view of the Bay.
I was more than happy to realize that I have, in some weird and small way, had an influence, albeit small one, on my students. We start many days with "song of the week" (SOTW) and I basically choose anything I want to hear (the Pixies, the Dead Milkmen, David Bowie, Lauryn Hill. . . the list goes on). This is the beauty of having your own classroom: you get to make the rules, and you get to choose the playlist.
I make it work with themes, with characterization. We find literary and sound devices. Most importantly, we SING (with all apologies to anyone who has taught next door to me). The students' all time favorite SOTW is Earth, Wind, and Fire's "September." You would have to be a serious GTMO grouch to hate that song.
So how did the prom end? With a set of songs, all from the set list of SOTW. I was ecstatic to dance with sweaty, goofy, and gahd dang lovable teenagers to "September," "Come on, Eileen," and watched in amazement as they sang Every. Single. Word. to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." That night I get in my car and my newly favorite station, 105.9 "El Taino" is playing hits from the 1980s.
From their website (sorry for the auto-generated weird translation):
(And this, kids, is why you don't use Google Translate to help you with your Spanish homework---it sounds like this, but in Spanish. In other words, a little ridiculous).
I love to go way, way back to the days of careless dancing (and not hobbling because I wore The Most Ridiculous Pair of High Heels for the second year in a row), moving like nobody's watching (and honestly, I'm PCSing, so I really don't care what anything thinks of my moves at this juncture of my GTMO stay), and singing off-key to "Take On Me," another SOTW that is meant to be annoying in its impossible high-notes in the chorus.