I feel like I’m swimming upstream as I walk across campus from the cafeteria, where I’ve just had an early dinner with a friend. Class has just let out in both teaching buildings and all the students are surging towards the one cafeteria that feeds this university’s twenty thousand students. It’s a good thing that I’m not carrying much because every few steps I wave to another student I know. Some don’t see me – the girls who refuse to wear their glasses in public and those so intent on reaching the cafeteria because they only have 15 minutes to eat before they go on to their next class.
By the time I reach the teaching building, the stream of students has tapered off, and I take my time up the 104 steps to the sixth floor. I get my things from my office and go into the classroom across the hall. The sun is setting, casting an orange light into the dusty, gray classroom. Brandon is head down, asleep on the desk. Angela is munching away on some sweet Chinese bread. Tony stands impatiently by the door. “What are you waiting for?” I ask. “My dinner, my classmate is bringing me some bread and water.” “Bread and water for dinner, it sounds like you’re in prison!” I guess he didn’t have enough time to get to the cafeteria after his class today.
In the afternoon, I’d taught an oral English lesson about food and had brought in some American snacks. Since only 5 teachers came, and one left early, there were some leftovers. I open a tin and offer the rest of the PB and J sandwich to the students in the classroom. “Delicious!” they all exclaim. Just as I offer the last piece, their classmates start to arrive for our 6 PM Intercultural Communication class.