This week, I gave and am still grading final exams and papers. Once in a while, when I have a breath, I reflect on the differences in education and expectation. At first, when I returned, I was taken aback by how talkative, how argumentative my American students appeared. They are never without some opinion, even if they haven’t done the reading for class. There is a certain openness and engagement that I missed in Bosnia, but they also have no idea how fortunate they are. When I read their papers about how the future of technology will be a seamless transition to internet and smart phones for everyone, I think of the Roma in Mostar. I think of people building illegal houses to replace bombed out homes.
And I think of how optimistic a culture we have in America. We have so many problems here, that is true. We have children who go hungry. We have homeless children. But we also are taught this incredible ability to dream of a better future. Even in the face of news about the disappearance of the middle -class, these students naturally express a positive view of the world.
Even graffiti is erased.