Friday, June 4, 2010

Isabella in D.C. and other reflections....

I am finally here!!!!!

Thanks for your sacrifice. We pray this never happens again.

Isabella with Mr. South Carolina

I thought it was bigger...

Isabella and Daddy with Eistein

Isabella and "Mr. Kansas" (4th place overall)

Will try again next year

Isabella and I flew to D.C. to participate in the National Geography Bee. We were there for 4 days during the last week of May. 54 children participated in this competition. The winner of each state + the winner for D.C., the winner for the US caribbean islands, Pacific US territories and Department of Defense. Overall there where 53 boys and one girl (Isabella). A preliminary round of 9 questions (different for each child) narrowed the field down to 10 children. Isabella missed two questions (one of which was "unfair" in my opinion, but I am a biased parent of course). 12 children did better than her, so she did not qualify for the final.
Still, a wonderful achievement. As we were flying back home, I thought: "this country is reall big!!" It's amazing that Isabella was in the top 20 students nationally!

I, as a parent, feel as proud as if she had won an Olympic medal and in a way she did. Of course, I wish she would have won, but...s he was part of a very elite group of children participating in a National competition in which about 12 thousand schools take part each year. Wow!

It was wonderful to see her interact with other children, who are so very smart and who have similar interest and yet so very diverse background from ours.

It was very interesting to notice how many of these children have some foreign connections. Many of them were indians (from India), at least four had one or two european parent, two had chinese background...

The experience brought about so many emotions that are hard to convey, but that I hope I'll never forget. It left me speechless. Isabella worked very hard for this and deserved it so much... She wa sso close to make it to the top. That part is a little difficult to accept. More for me than for her, it seems. She receovered so quickly and was back to her hours of reading and music as soon as we got on the plane... She is still so much a child. That is so great and I cannot but be glad for that.

I feel blessed to have helped her achieve this goal. I also feel blessed that I have had the time and energy to dedicate to her. On our return, we have learned about the disaster and death caused by volcano Pacaya and tropical storm Agatha in Guatemala. We were just there 6 months ago. We climbed that volcano, we visited some of those villaged now covered in mud... We wonder why those people have to suffer so much. Their life is so often delicately balanced between life and death. They will never know what the Geography Bee is or even what a good school is like... Why are we blessed with so much and can spend our energy studying geography while they have to struggle to survive every day?

Please have mercy on them Lord. Please help us not waist our gifts, let us use them for your glory and for the good of others.