Against the warning of a friend, I terrorized the villagers last night (it was just a coincidence that it happened on Halloween night). It was through a series of events – a cancelled vacation, filling in for absent teachers, new classes – that I reached my breaking point. I was tired, I had a headache, my throat hurt and I had 9 children talking over me in Arabic. So I yelled (louder than I ever thought I could), unaware of the echo it would create (I heard someone two floors down asking “Who was that?”) and was henceforth granted their full attention.
After the class I had my small crying-in-the-bathroom-stall moment, sat outside on the patio for ten minutes to unwind over a dwindling sunset, and put on my game-face to attend an information session on our audio language lab. Of course, as soon as I walked into the classroom I was confronted by all the English teachers and French teachers and my manager, all of whom had heard the embarrassing echo. We started out laughing about it, but at some point my laughter turns into tears and the next thing you know I’m half-laughing and half-crying and have everyone around me confused. They start handing me tissues, giving hugs and kisses, and asking if I miss my family. I flee back to the patio and try to pull myself together in between sniffles, then return to the classroom for the information session in which a complete stranger is attempting to teach me how to use technical equipment in a language I don’t understand and meanwhile I’m a mess with my puffy red eyes and smeared mascara. The teacher sitting next to me, who was the absent teacher I filled in for, asks me in all seriousness if I was crying because her students aren’t good at English and this makes me laugh. After that I’m fine, it’s all behind me, the costume is gone, and the smiley girl they’re accustomed to has returned.
And this is how the nice blonde American frightened Tunisian children and adults alike on Halloween night.