power through

You’ll be in the middle of it, whatever it might be.

And everything that seems important stops. Lights, fans, A/C. All still, all silent. All off, instantly.

Life in a country with a sometimes irrational power grid demands flexibility. And a good flashlight. But the benefits of a sudden outage help to keep us, like a good wire, grounded.

There is silence.

When everything that makes noise halts, and everything that is lit goes dark, it sheds light on how much we’ve been missing. We catch our breath, we pause.

We hear what isn’t there. And it’s beautiful.

Today I lived a different kind of power outage. Not the grid, myself.

Life near the equator means yucky tummy. It comes and goes, more often than it should, wreaking havoc with regularity, adding urgency to the most important question, how quickly can I get to the loo?

And low. Low. Low. Energy.

But this energy, like a blackout, can be good. It slows me down, alerts me to the things I take for granted. Reminds me I need to power up to make it through the day.

First jolt, a hug from Elephant as he’s on his way to lunch.

Second jolt, a whistle (and one back) across the playground to J as she gracefully makes her way, reminding me what’s most important.

Third jolt, a quick chat with a beloved colleague. She empathizes, she smiles, she wishes me well. It picks me up.

Fourth jolt: a shared laugh with Ms M. We have a routine. I see her across the playground or pop into her room. WIthout a word, she points and follows with a deep, grand, heartfelt laugh, straight from her belly. I respond, without hesitation, in kind.

Final jolt: these nine -year olds with whom I spend my day.

I share with them.

I’m not at my best

They respond.

it’s okay, we can help

And so, I’m here, not fully illuminated. But not blacked out.

And so grateful for the folks who power me up.

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

Join the Conversation


  1. Thank you for the reminder of how important it is to take time and be aware of what is important.


  2. Based on your writing today, I’d say you’re fully illuminated. I enjoyed the metaphor of a power outage and the silence that it allows you to pay attention to. This was a tribute to all those you are grateful for. I especially like the short exchange with the nine year olds you spend your day with.


  3. I find such empathy with my students when I am not feeling my best and I share that with them. They are so caring and help lift me up, as yours do. I’m glad you have people around you that can lift you up on your low days. We all need people like that in our lives.


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