So, I never actually made it to the lake like I promised in my last post. I went to visit a friend who was wiped out– we ate salt and vinegar chips, fancy cheese, took a nap, bought McDonalds, hit up Goodwill for books and a much needed pack of gum, and then hung out with camp students from Mexico and Korea.
My friend has a bit of an obsession for pool. Not anything too serious, but she really loves playing and she gets this very intense facial expression every time she plays.
Regardless, about three shots in, I hit the eight-ball in like the champion I am. We played the rest of the game anyway. When we finished, two students decided to play with us– one named Jesus (Hey-Suess).
I’ve never been good with crowds, but especially after student teaching I often have to leave the room if too much is going on.
By the time my friend and I finished our first solo game of pool I was ready for my second Exodus, but along came Jesus and his friend to play pool and I couldn’t leave now.
Unlike plummeting from a cliff in a car into the ocean, Jesus made everything okay. We could barely speak to each other. He was here to learn English and I was on sensory overload. But, he thought it was hilarious when I would be unsure of where to hit the ball, or whenever I would sink a ball in only to scratch right after that. Can you tell I’m a pool legend?
I began to forget that I was surrounded by a crowd of people and it was just me, my friend, and Jesus… and of course his pool partner.
I always liked working with ELLs (Engllish Language Learners) or having ELL friends because so much of your communication is wordless. I generally only like words when they are typed or written. I don’t like to talk very much– I’m a rambler and I feel like I can’t say what I mean half of the time.
But, Jesus and I just laughed or cheered or booed and it all made sense. It was nice. After having phone interviews and writing resumes for two or three weeks to prove to people that I am worth their time and money, it was nice to be interesting just because I made funny facial expressions or acted surprised after the ping-pong ball from the players across the room hit me for the seventh time.
I didn’t need to prove anything but that I was a safe and fun person to be around.
It reminded me of just how much we all have in common no matter where we come from and how sometimes words can actually get in the way of communication.
So, if you are ever in over your head and want to talk without talking, just go find your Jesus and play a round of pool with him. It will all be okay.