Friday, January 13, 2012

What's My Name Again?

(Miss Auntie Lucas Crystal ChRiStY WHAT???)

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about how I was unofficially changing my name to make it easier for Tanzanians to say.   Lately, I've been realizing that I might need to change it more than once.  It might, in fact, become more like a hobby.  It seems that while most people talk about the various "hats" they wear throughout life's challenges, my rotating daily wardrobe change is my name-tag. 

Don't get me wrong.  I've had a great (though busy) week.  I've loved every minute of it.  But I just thought I'd give you a glimpse of what furlough (without Masters classes) is looking like... and the occasional confusion that sometimes happens along the way!

Last Sunday, I started off the day being Crystal.  That worked pretty well for church and an afternoon with my parents.  But by evening, I got a warm welcome of little girls jumping up and down saying "Miss Crystal is here! Miss Crystal is here!" with excitement as I entered their home down the street to have dinner. 

Monday, I was “at work” on the computer, talking to people, ordering needed supplies, scheduling meetings, writing thank yous, etc.  My name was Crystal Lucas.

Tuesday, I went up to Holland to visit my dear friend Anna and her family.  3/4 of her kiddos came into their brood by way of orphanages in Uganda, where the term “Auntie” is applied to every (female) non-familial member.  So I was Auntie Crystal for a day. 

Wednesday, I caught up with some friends via email, slept a lot to get over my allergies/cough, emailed some MKs (and their parents) in Tanzania, and made dinner before a crazy night.  I’m thinking my name might have just been Crystal.  Except in my emails, where my name was either Miss Lucas (for kids in Dar) or Miss Crystal (for kids I'll be teaching in Musoma) respectively.  Yikes.

Then it was time to gear up.  Put on my teacher face.  And pretend to be Mrs. Lucas.  Actually, I was Miss Lucas for the day to a bunch of 8th graders, who of course felt the need to remind me every so often that I was, indeed, subbing for my mom.  Thankfully, it was a pretty low-key day, but I still came home and promptly … well, took a nap.  Ate, then fell asleep again.  I guess I could have been dubbed “Sleepy” since I was so exhausted from the day!  (I’m out of teacher practice, it would seem!)

And today, I woke up with excitement over a snow day that really didn't affect me... but made me giddy and excited and feeling like a little kid.  I got to Skype with a dear friend (I know, it seems I have a lot of those… just wish they’d all stay living in one place!) in Tanzania, where I was properly Crystal... but who often refers to me as Miss Lucas within the school setting of HOPAC.  And then, this afternoon, I’m getting ready to head over to a friend’s house to babysit and hang out with their kids for a couple of days.  So for the next 48 hours-ish, I’ll officially be Miss Crystal again.
Sometimes when I’m with kids, I find I don’t know how to refer to myself.  Am I Miss Crystal?  Auntie Crystal?  Miss Lucas?  Or just plain old “Crystal” who was the now-teenager's babysitter a few years back, before I was old enough to have a distinguished title?  (I guess it's a good thing 8th graders don't make the mistake of calling me "mom" from time to time, as my elementary students used to do!  Hmm...)  I especially have to think before signing an email or a letter to a special little person in my life!  Regardless, I love the fact that I have so many great friends… so many amazing people in my life… and likewise, so many roles (and special names) in the lives of those around me.  I’m so thankful for the people who keep me going along the way… and who hopefully, I can help along a bit as well! :)

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