64 and ْStill Swinging


Today was my last day of teaching, as well as Salma’s 64th birthday. We celebrated with curry, pakora, homemade yogurt, and cake. I also want to share that yesterday Salma told me that sometimes she goes to the park after midnight to swing on the swing set. I very much hope this wasn’t something lost in translation, and she really does. What a fantastic human. ! عيد ميلادها سعيد


“We are staying home”


One of my students is an Iraqi woman who has been in Chicago for a while. Her quirks include shushing the others when they talk too much in languages that aren’t English and bringing candy corn for everyone to share. She is also always the last to leave and she always apologizes for it. Let’s call her Salma.

At the beginning of class, I asked Salma what she did this past weekend, and she told me the usual “going to shopping,” and “walking to the Devon market.” I asked her to use the past tense, and got some impressive went’s and did’s. She also told me that she “watched the T.V. news,” and that there was bad news. She passed me a note:

55_Ilham's Notebook

She added, “We are scared. We are going home, just, we are staying home.”