Our So-Crazy-They-Just-Might-Work Ideas {for (In)Courage}

I’m honored to share at (In)Courage today. You can read the full post here.

Sun sliced through the window of our third-story vintage (aka old and falling apart) Chicago apartment and I thought again about this idea I had entertained over the past several months. I missed living overseas, teaching, and interacting with other cultures. What if I emailed the nearby college and asked about volunteering in one of their ESL classes? I cocked my head to listen for the sleeping baby and tiptoed to the computer.

Flipping open the laptop and searching the school’s website, I scanned the list of ESL instructors. I smiled. One of them was an alumnus of my college. Searching for the right email, my ringing phone pierced the silence. I jumped up, but it was too late. The baby wailed from the other room.

Months later, I finally sent that email and got a prompt reply. Yes, there is a need for volunteers. Yes, you can bring your baby. That’s great that you lived in China and speak Mandarin, but the need is in a class of Saudi Arabian students. Can you come on Monday?

My eight-month-old on my hip, I met the instructor at the door to her classroom. The room was full of shy Saudi men and women. Some girls wore western clothing, but one donned a full burka and all the women wore the traditional hijab, a head covering of a scarf or hat over their shiny black hair.

I visited the class just four times before the teacher approached me after class with a strange question. A student had asked if she could live with us …

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