Saturday, October 15, 2011

Diēs XLV: My heart is happy.

This morning was a BIG OL' LATIN FAMILY REUNION!!

The first Certamen** of the year is always a blast, and this year's proved no less, even for me, coming back as a graduate. (I, as is common, often say that an event or experience "makes my day" -- I had my day "made" on several occasions today. I will focus on 3 such encounters in this post.)

When I had read my sonnet and we had found the right Saint Stephen's Saint Agnes' campus, I "socialized with" (i.e. greeted) some fellow graduates before heading to the library to help Magister Chang do some final organizing for the day. Always my partner in crime, Woojin helped me read through Level I questions, making any last-minute changes as necessary, and discussing them with our fellow moderators. I never knew that such a painstaking process occurred just before the competition, in addition to the weeks and weeks that go in planning it ahead of time! As we read through the Level I rounds, Woojin and I got to see a bunch of our erst teachers and coaches, including Mr. Williams, Ms. Graham (felicem diem natalem tardum!), and Mr. Cavedo. Also in attendance were Ms. Smerke and the beautiful Whitney and Hailey! Though witty Whit wouldn't give me my hug, she gave "P is for Priya" an extra one to make up for it.

After being reunited with TONS of Latin community friends, it was off to the rounds! I selected room 113 and strolled in to find whom other than Jannah Trisha Babasa assigned there as a helper? Jannah and I refer to one another as soulmates -- we are each huge fans of the other, and have corresponded a lot via the interwebs in between Certamen competitions, but never get to spend much time together in real life. :( How lucky that we got to spend 3 rounds together introducing students to the art of Certamen, at which Jannah is quite a pro!

Reading questions (being on the other side of the table) was really, really fun. There was 1 team for whom I happened to be moderating for all 3 rounds. The first time my day was made was when, after the second round, 1 of the 4 boys (Alex) learned that he would be having me as a moderator again for the third round, and shouted "we love you!" as his team was settling in. I live for these moments.
After the 3 preliminary rounds, it was time to hear results and catch up with colleagues. This time was also when we had a little "photo sesh" and took some group pictures for our school and state publications. The second time my day was made was when I ventured to the far side of my room to say "salve" to Jorge Bonilla, my friend from Governor's Latin Academy. Unexpectedly, Jorge revealed that he had been reading my blog, and went on to make some superlative statements about my writing style. Jorge is very, shall we say, exacting, and such a compliment from him was really something else.

Rushing to my finals round, I ran into Professor Jim Duffy of Randolph College. Professor Duffy is so supportive and exuberant it is unreal. We met at last year's Flint Hill Certamen, and he has always been so interested in my Latin career, as well as my education in general. It was great telling him a bit about my work and travel this year, as he was enthusiastic as always.

In the Level I finals, I had the pleasure of moderating for 3 great teams, one of which consisted of 2 giggly young ladies I had just talked to in the hallway. Grace and Jackie are the most adorable (and intelligent!) 7th graders I have ever met, and meeting them and seeing them play was a treat.

The round itself was very intense, and went into "double overtime" (a.k.a. 2 sets of tie-breakers). Thanks to Ms. Henricks and Mrs. Shearer for their support! After making a fool of myself by leaving the score sheets behind in room 207, I finally got to touch base with Mr. Chang again and let him know what a great day I'd had.

I rode the Flint Hill bus home and got to chat with Varlet #0 Patrick Sanguineti (who really impressed me with his skillz today). As if life could get any better, the third time my day was made was on this bus ride. Mr. Andino's blessing of a son, Sam, was sitting behind us, and he drew a picture of me. We then started passing notes. Sam wrote me some of the sweetest messages I have received in a while, including a "1st Place in Cool" award and many, many "Thank You" messages (for when I would retrieve his notebook from the silly boys keeping it from him.) This is why kids are the best. So often, we forget to tell people how kind or cool we think they are, or how much we appreciate them, and kids can totally just do that. My favorite note reads "for you! from Sam -- nice nice cool nice <-- you are all these things." How many times have you wanted to tell someone that? I'll make it a goal for the next few weeks to tell my nears and dears that they mean "all these things" to me.

After dropping Christophe at his house, we arrived home, where I attempted to sleep for quite some time. When that didn't work, Papa, Nani, and I sat down to finish Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. What a film. The movie is about not waiting to do that thing you've always wanted to, not settling for that decision that seems most convenient or expedient, not fearing that adventure you've often dreamed of. Pretty standard "carpe diem" stuff, but it's presented really effectively. The subtitles were decent, and I'd recommend it to all my readers.
You won't get to live twice.
After quite a full day, I now look forward to working with Priya on an epic musical mash-up we've been putting together. Here's to a beautiful tomorrow.


**Certamen can be mundanely described as a "Latin quiz bowl competition." But I hope you now understand that it means SO MUCH MORE.


  1. Awesome post! It was great to see you yesterday : )
    Do you think you could send me a copy of these pictures?

  2. Alex had such a great time. Thank you for coming out and sharing your passion with the middle schoolers.

    -pattie smith

  3. Thank you, "Adam" -- always great to see you, too! I sent them on over.

    Mrs. Smith, Alex is such a fun guy. It's great to see a middle schooler who isn't afraid to be himself. =) It was awesome to watch his team play!