People told me—I thought jokingly— that it’s only after Carnaval that Brazil finally starts the new year, unlike most countries, which start on January 2nd. I truly thought that this was just a silly exaggeration, but it actually turns out to be more accurate than I thought. Everyone, being thoroughly partied out, returned dutifully to their jobs in government offices, at their law firms,
in hospitals, etc. Therefore, as of late, the school (and I, too) has been busy, introducing new students to our methods as they sign up for classes at this beginning of the new semester. As for me, I kept on chugging along throughout the holidays, with my attempt at encouraging student writing through the establishment of a “Valentine’s Day Writing Contest.” My idea was that through this initiative—the chance to win not only the prestigious award, but to win money, alcohol, and sweets— students would get excited about writing an essay.
Of course, being adults with jobs, kids, and other interests, I understood that this challenge may not be as popular as I dreamed it would be; yet, it is almost always worth it to give new things a try, and I must say that the outcome was not disappointing. In all, we had several great essays, 15 to be exact, with one in Spanish and the
rest in English. I was thoroughly impressed, and I think my colleagues were, too. The wit, fluidity, and depth of emotion that our students conveyed in their writing was truly remarkable. Sadly, there could only be one winner, but I think that all students deserve credit for their excellent achievements. On behalf of a few of my students, who requested that I also write an essay about love, I have written this to appease you all:
The Question of Love
When given a question about the concept of love, my initial reaction is to delve into a euphoric description of the romance, the yearning, the sting of pain that we feel— because when you love someone—truly love them— you wish to, but cannot ever fulfill the ideal conquest of becoming one and the same person. However, is it naïve to spout lyrical gibberish about love? Is love more mundane and realistic than the fiery passion that ignites the initial sparks of “love”? These are wholly valid questions and I think that they should be explored in more detail.
Love. Love. Love. The holy trinity of love. Yes, there is no doubt in my mind that it is of utmost importance in sustaining a fulfilling life. Yet, I am still torn by the dilemma: Is love romance and mystery, or is it practicality and the convenience of sharing a life with someone? As of late, indications are leading me to believe that true love is the latter of the two options. Love is knowing someone inside and out. Love is being there for someone when they are in their hour of need. Love is friendship, humor, and enjoying the ridiculous moments in life. Love is sacrifice— knowing when to let someone go because they could be happier without you. Most of all, love is a connection between souls—it is the moment in which you feel—you know—that the other person is thinking of you at that exact moment. Love, however, is fleeting. It comes and it goes between us, but really, it is always still there no matter what.
And so, I conclude this blog entry with my final word about the Valentine’s Day contest—it was, to me, a hearty success. I wish for students to continue spending time writing—it is a vital aspect of second language learning—I can’t stress that enough. Also, keep trying; you just might surprise yourselves by how creative and excellent your writing can be.