Monday, April 16, 2007

Touching down

I'm not normally a nervous traveller, but it's different without the cocoon of your family around you. I'm on my own this trip. My nerves go once the airport minibus arrives. We tour round Liverpool picking other people up. There's a family going on holiday.

"Have you got everything son?"

"Yeah, stop nagging."

"Have you got your passport?"

"I'll go back and get it."

Driving down the M62 the mist hangs over the fields like a shroud, trees stand isolated, enveloped.

In the departure lounge I sit there people watching, families of Orthodox Jews, middle aged couples sitting opposite each lost in conversation -not, stressed out executive types clutching mobile phones to their ears.

Travelling doesn't bother me it's the change in New York, clearing immigration, baggage reclaim, customs, finding the shuttle train, checking in for the next flight, handing the suitcase in, clearing security, getting hand luggage checked, more security checks, I'm frazzled!

When I get to San Francisco, my host Rosa from the local union is waiting with a sign. We drive through the city and she's telling me about the American education system - high stakes testing (No Child Left Behind), closing and reopening 'failing' schools (reconstitution), giving schools over for dodgy groups to run (charter schools) and demonising teachers - we've got a lot in common.


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