A Golden Opportunity
Explaining Ti Ti to her Class

Let me tell you about the golden opportunity I had this past weekend. Ti Ti invited me to talk to her English class on Zoom. Ti Ti lives near Inle Lake, Myanmar. After some delay connecting to Zoom, I finally talked with her students. Her English class was in her living room. While we talked, my thoughts floated back to my three visits to my family in Myanmar. While Ti Ti introduced me, I recalled our first meeting a decade ago. Her mother was my tour guide, and she had to pick up my itinerary after I left Inle Lake. She said Ti Ti was home on winter break.

We walked into their home, and Ti Ti stood in the middle of the living room. I was greeted with, “Hi! My name is Ti Ti. Do you want to play some games?” We played Scrabble for a half-hour. When I left, I realized that I had just met my granddaughter.

Talk with Ti Ti

As I talked to Ti Ti’s students, a treasure trove of memories raced around in my mind. I attempted to explain to the young high school students that Ti Ti and her siblings were my granddaughters and her parents were my children. I quickly realized that explaining to students that we were family was beyond the pale. However, two older students seemed to have understood a part of that transformative experience for me.

I told them about how I met Ti Ti. She and I were on winter break in 2013. My winter break was from teaching, and her winter break was from learning. There I explained to her students that their teacher was once my student. She took a college class from me and aced it. She is now taking an English comp from another professor. I tried to express the sense of pride that I felt in my granddaughter as both a student and a teacher.

My mind drifted back to attending a special honor assembly where Ti Ti won first place in math in Shan State.

Proud PaPa Al and Ti Ti

Proud PaPa Al and Ti Ti

I stumbled around to explain to Ti Ti’s English class how proud I was of my granddaughter. I wanted to tell the class that Ti Ti wants them to be a s driven as she is.

I had planned to put my chat with Ti Ti’s class in this essay, but I had some problems with Zoom. My fifteen minutes of fumbling around were lost somewhere in cyberspace. Ti Ti can use this essay in her next class.

So, Ti Ti, thanks for the opportunity that I had with your class. Wait until you get a student visa. Your office in my home awaits you, and Ginger patiently awaits you. After your college education in the States, you will be an excellent teacher in Myanmar.

Ti Ti's Office