Read across America…from Dubai

On Monday, the National Education Association kicked off its annual Read Across America program. The year-long program encourages children and teens to read. The annual kick-off coincides with the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. Schools across the US are celebrating by wearing hats just like the Cat in the Hat, hosting Dr. Seuss themed parties, and, of course, reading.

This year’s theme is “Oh, the Places you’ll Go!” to celebrate the book’s 25th anniversary. A friend shared this touching video from US troops who have certainly gone to so many places.

I had never read this book as a child, but as I listened to the verses being read, I realized that Dr. Seuss has a message even for us not-so-small kids. This verse was my favorite:

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

I’ve been down many streets that are not marked. India was notorious for roads with no names or whose names changed so many times that no one even bothered to learn them any more. Dubai does not have an address system, which is quite difficult to explain to those who live in the US.

The last two lines are questions that every expat faces as we take the next step on our journey outside our own country. To take the leap and move beyond our comfort zone is the challenge. Dr. Seuss’s lesson: Life’s an adventure, a risk worth taking. The journey won’t always be smooth, but just imagine “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” As one friend remarked, “Jean, oh, the places you’ve been!” Yes, that’s quite true. So many places and countries beyond count. And, now on to a new place, a new home, a new journey.

Here in Dubai, the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature takes place this week. I will be attending a few sessions on Saturday, so stay tuned for more posts about the event.

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