i have this incredible urge to make baklava. it has nothing to do with the desert and everything to do with the first time i had baklava.

growing up, my parents home schooled myself and my siblings and one of the requirements of the program my parents followed was that each year each of us delivered a 10 page minimum report on a country of our choice. we had to present the report as a speech to a group of non-relatives and at the end of the report, we would serve traditional or historic dishes from each country. the year that stands out in my memory was egypt - probably because it was the first year i clearly remember both the report i delivered and the food we made for the guests. my traditional/historic desert that year was baklava.

all of the guests we would invite were family friends (mostly from church) and thinking back, most of those friends have now passed away. a long time family friend, L, passed away last week and today is the funeral. all i can think of are all the country reports she attended and all of the time she invested in each of us kids. i don't know if she was there for the egypt year and baklava, but since baklava is all i seem to be able to think about this morning, my mind at least associates her with those moments.

i really shouldn't be sad - those were some of the best times i can remember from childhood. it was always a celebration and a kick-off to summer break. but as exciting as it was for me and my siblings, it couldn't have been too interesting for L. who wants to listen to a 10-year-old's report on egypt? who wants to eat bastardized baklava? maybe no one, but she did anyway. and it meant and means the world to me.


  1. That's very sweet. I bet L didn't mind at all.

    What's your overall take on homeschooling? I mean, I went to a shitty public school where I got bullied almost every day for 13 years and I can count the number of teachers who were even trying a little bit on less than my ten fingers: I was a smart, weird kid, and practically no one (except my mom) tried to encourage me, and practically no (except my mom) fostered my academic interests, and I had some teachers who were frankly hostile to my intelligence: like, literally, "Who the hell do you think you are?"

    I would have loved homeschooling, I think.

    But then, I'm sure there are tons of drawbacks. What do you think?

  2. i was going to post a reply to this a long time ago and i don't know why i never did. i think i went to bed right after i read your comment or something and then never came back later.

    i believe parents have to be motivated and dedicated if they choose to homeschool their kids. kids - even the brightest ones - need help focusing, need to be motivated, and need to be guided. some parents can probably do an amazing job guiding and motivating and focusing their kids (probably way better than a teacher with 30 kids ever could). but then there are those other parents who see homeschooling as a way to cling to their children, avoid the soccer-mom responsibilities, and teach their kids how to cheat the system.

    so if parents have the time, are committed and motivated, and they are willing to go above and beyond to ensure their child is given both educational opportunities and social opportunities, then homeschooling really could be a great option. i liked being homeschooled. but looking back, i also missed out on a lot of stuff (mostly social) - sports, box socials, and whatever the devil children do these days!


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