I had the best time ever last week in our book club! If you haven’t gotten to read the comments, go, read. So fun. In case you’re new here, welcome! and we’re reading Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan. Feel free to get it and jump in.
Speaking of fun, if you haven’t seen fainting goats (and I hadn’t), this short video will rectify that and inform you a tisch. If you’re reading this in an email, click here to watch.
Once again, many nuggets woven into the stories of her daily activities. Isn’t that true of you too? Or at least it is when we step back and notice them?
In the section we read for today, I was struck by how often she commented on feeling competent or incompetent. Since most of what we read was during the first few weeks, it brought back a lot of memories of my first few weeks on the field. After the sheer excitement that I WAS FINALLY HERE wore off and the reality sunk in, incompetent and later boredom were also themes of my transition.
From chapter 8:
“As I opened one after another envelope containing cleverly disguised junk mail, I was experiencing such a precious loss of status that at any minute I expected to get a nosebleed. I hadn’t realized it was possible for a person, especially me, to be treated so differently based on the job they held.
“My whole life I’d been treated like Miss Smarty Special Person. I’d assumed it was because whenever anyone looked at me, that’s what they saw. It was now becoming apparent that I’d been treated well because I’d been standing next to well-known, smart, powerful men: a federal judge, a congressman, a senator. I was quickly discovering that when I wore a $29 outfit and sat on a wooden stool answering the phone, my genius was no longer obvious to passersby.”
Anyone else laugh at this line: “I perceived an overlooked distinction between the phrase ‘let him go’ and ‘make him go’ ”?
In chapter 9 when she talked about how many of the kids spent quality time with their dads on the tractors it make me wonder how you spent quality time with your dad, or grandpa, or other significant male, when you were a kid. When I was really young, my dad was on a softball team and it was fun to go to his games. He loved to play catch in the back yard with us. I now marvel at his patience!
Chapter 10 brought a smile when Carolyn said she and her dad were in a “standoff about meals”. Cross-cultural living involves so much about food, doesn’t it? My teammate and I were at a “standoff about meat” our first three months. She had been so traumatized by the meat market. Enough said. How about you, what part of food have you or a kid been in a standoff about? I’ll admit, I never really made friends with eating organs, though buying meat wasn’t a problem after the first three months.
I adored in this chapter when she said, “After the first week, I intentionally blanked my mind with respect to time, otherwise I was pretty sure I was at risk for spontaneous human combustion. I didn’t want to think of myself as a prisoner making scratch marks on the wall either, even mentally, so I spaced out”.
Yes! Me too. Before we knew people and had things to do, my teammate and I played hours (or it felt that way) of Skipb0 and Yahtze. Even some mornings after breakfast and before class, we’d play. This seemed to capture the low I felt about it … who plays games in the morning after breakfast and before work? Bored people. For the love, when would it get better?
(Eventually it did!)
The phrase “health hazards” stood out to me in Chapter 11, as Carolyn compared the health hazards of her two lives. I remember being horrified when I moved to the field and my local friends had excruciating chilblains in winter. It was awful. Weren’t they supposed to only be in Dickens’ novels? What are the health hazards in your two (or three or seven) worlds?
“I sat and wondered how much I really love ‘the good people of the great State of Tennessee’. Was that just something I like to write in speeches for the Senator? Did I really care about any of them? The answer seemed to be ‘Yeah, but only from about 500 miles away’. And even then I wanted to be able to dress up and eat well while I did it.”
These are thoughts I’ve had too.
I know I haven’t even touched on Chapter 14 or many of the other themes. So, let’s talk about them in the comments!
P.S. Here’s the reading plan:
June 2 — Chapters 1-7
June 9 — Chapters 8-14
June 16 — Chapters 15-20
June 23 — Chapters 21-25
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