As usual, the older kids at the orphanage weren't particularly interested in English. "I have A's in English," they all said. Riiiiight.
I could hear the counselor snapping at them to take the opportunity to get help from me while I was there. Eventually, 12 yr old Liosha approached with a textbook and reluctantly sat down at the table with me. As usual, he seemed very distant and spoke with his head down as if he were talking into his shirt.
"Where were you?" he asked suddenly.
"All this time."
"I was in America visiting my parents, and then I came back."
"But why were you gone for so long? You weren't even here for September 1st (the first day of school)."
"I was waiting for my visa," I said.
He gave some grunt to indicate that he would accept that answer. Could it be that he had missed me? Or was he afraid of abandonment, even by a teacher?
We practiced some dialogues together, and as I used funny voices for various characters, I saw the corners of his mouth begin to turn up in a smile.