We are back in Kuwait, normalizing sweat stains and working off one HECK of a case of jet lag.  I’d elaborate on this further, except for that I’m too embarrassed to give you the cold, hard facts given that we’ve been living in the Middle East for ten years and SHOULD BE old pro’s.  #nope

ANYWAYS, each year we come back a bit earlier than required in order to settle in, get groceries, make sure the car has survived the summer heat (it required servicing this time around!), and begin to establish some sort of a school year routine.  For Phil, summer is now over and work is BACK IN SESSION.  For me, I’ve been going in a few hours here and there to make my Sunday start a little less overwhelming.

Yes.  As much as I love back to school time, it really can be quite overwhelming, don’t you think?  Setting up the classroom, figuring out your year plan, figuring out your FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PLAN….anxiety over class rosters…..anxiety about classroom management……anxiety about your jokes being cool enough for 8th graders (this might just be a LINDSAY thing).  And you can imagine how this feeling of SO MUCH TO DO can be made even worse if it’s your first year of teaching (WHAT THE HECK DID I GET MYSELF INTO, EVEN?!) or if you’ve decided to teach abroad somewhere new (BUT REALLY, WHAT THE HECK DID I GET MYSELF INTO, EVEN?!).  I mean, if people that have been doing this for years are laying awake at night, how are the first year teachers OR the new-to-the-country teachers OR the first year AND new-to-the-country teachers sleeping AT ALL?

The good news, and it’s something I’ve learned as an international teacher, is that STRANGERS WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.  It sounds weird and I know that “strangers” have a bad reputation in most conversations, but I can think of many strangers that have shown me kindness…

I will never forget Emily and Kelly inviting me to live with them during my first year in Cairo.  I won’t forget the time that Tanya allowed me to call LONG DISTANCE (!!!) to Canada on her cell phone so that I could tell my Dad that we arrived safely in Kuwait.  And I won’t forget Kerri’s cheerful delivery of “HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL” cookies when we moved to our current school.  All of these gestures, delivered by strangers, made me feel so welcome and cared for.  Their gestures reminded me that, despite being overwhelmed, everything was going to be OKAY.

Since we are back in Kuwait early, we are here for the arrival of the new hires.  It reminds me of our new hire experiences and the “strangers” that helped us along the way.  One of them, now, my best friend in the world.

It’s time to pay it forward, people.  It’s time to be the stranger that shows kindness.  It’s time to make these people feel welcome and cared for.  It’s time for BACK TO SCHOOL!!!

And, although overwhelming, it’s going to be AWESOME! xo


  1. Barbara

    Yes! I well remember the stranger who called us up during our first few days in Egypt—with an invitation for tea at ELK Lodge! Lines you are going to continue to rock this ?, and for you I will be forever grateful. Missing you?


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