Sunday, November 12, 2017


I'm still learning to find something good out of a bad experience or situation. Like the diamond in the rough. Just because there's someone who is acting a fool and causing all kinds of trouble doesn't mean A. that its my fault or B. that I can't have success with someone else, even at the same time.

I've had some potholes this week, but have also some major strides with some kids. There were situations that I foresaw being rather stressful and frustrating, and they were, but at moments I also experienced unexpected triumphs. Maybe just crisis aversions...but that's fine, too. I haven't looked forward to going to work, or liked going to work, or even not minded going. Most often, I actually dread going. I never really know what I'm going to face - other than emotional spasms, some mediocre lesson plan, and a little bit of disorganization - and that causes more stress than I expected. Hey, I like spontaneous. I AM spontaneous! I don't mind meandering off the path or whatnot. But this, everyday, standing against defiance and disrespect and a lack of self-control, is quite taxing. There have been some days I felt completely defeated at the end of it.  Like I left without any points.

Lately, however, I've been counting points differently. Some are barely noticeable, but if I stop and pay close enough attention, I can count them because I was able to get a kid to do something or not do something that is not typical for them. These moments aren't like popping up all the time, maybe not even every class period, but there are there.  This past week I've had some kids who are just bent on not being successful; they do not care and there isn't a lot you can do with that. And I will admit: there have been split seconds when I would have no remorse about smacking one of them (or a couple) in the face. I am getting better though. I do have kids that love to talk to me, that look for me in the halls and confiede in me. Sure, there are those who curse me out, ignore every direction/request, and have a general disregard for authority or even other people.... but I guess that's why they're there. I can't be everyone's friend or fix everyone. That's not realistic and I might as well try to hold dozens of corks underwater at one time.  I also might as well go for a hard workout, drink some wine and eat some chocolate, and call it a day. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Bomb Went Off

I'm a tad stressed. Just a bit. Its a restless, tired, I don't know what to do with myself stressed.  Not really your typical mental and emotional strain...

I said the f-word in front of a kid the other day. More like to him; THE f-word, the one when you're angry and want to get your point across. I hear it so much every day, and it still makes me uneasy. And not because Oh my gosh its a bad word! but because it seems to send such a derogatory message, such a vulgar tone directed at someone.  As if to really say, "Whatever happens to you, I don't care."  I didn't go that far; it was used as in adjective but still, the fact that I let it fly showed just how much I was chomping at the bit.

I started the process of looking for another job. Of course I'm not sharing that with most people, well, any people really. But I think this job was only for a season anyway and maybe that season is over. I don't regret leaving my previous position; that job had a season as well and this has allowed some things to happen that probably wouldn't have happened otherwise.  I'm just usually good about reading my temperament and demeanor. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hand Covers Bruise

I am just tired. That seemingly simple word holds so much. So much weight, so much suggestion, and so much mystery.  Tired of what? I just tromped around 4 different countries for 2 weeks on my own.  But here I am, wanting to get away again. Maybe that's not quite what I'm feeling; there's anxiety and frustration as well. I know those feelings too well to not be able to recognize them. Its what to do about them that I am suddenly struggling with. The gym hasn't been as reliable as usual; I haven't been around many people nor are there many people I've wanted to be around out of fear that I'd have to share what was really going on. I've tried some exploring, trying new experiences but there haven't really been many opportunities for that. My lack of focus and energy have been discouraging and debilitating.  For one of the first times I can remember in a long time, if at any point of time at all, I didn't want to get out of bed. I wanted to curl back up and drift into unconsciousness and had to FORCE myself to get moving. It was a foreign incident that kinda alarmed me.....
I know I'll be ok; at least I believe that for the most part. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

So Much Sky

2 weeks, 4 countries, 8 planes (1 missed flight), 3 trains 2 boats, a dozen buses, uncountable steps (only 1 blister!), lots of coffee, a fair amount of beer, some great food and some great music, tons of fresh air, one spectacular view after another, a good deal of courage and grace, little sleep, few showers, no phone calls, no TV, no news, no laundry, sometimes the wrong direction and sometimes no caught in a torrential downpour, got caught in a game of musical chairs with some Germans and Australians, got caught in a drunken Scotsman's birthday party, got caught in a number of ridiculous and fascinating conversations, caught a glimpse of Mel Gibson filming his latest flick, caught a free ride to the mountains, and caught a cold.

I spent a considerable amount of time being alone, though engulfed in crowds of people, yet not being lonely....sure there were a few times I wished to comment on what was happening and share it with another person, but I also had this somewhat weird (and surely selfish) feeling that this experience was "mine".  That's only so-so true, in a singular, narrow-minded regard, but I need to just hold on to things like that and internalize them sometimes. My trip certainly wasn't perfect and I know I didn't necessarily make the most of every opportunity, but all things considered (and there were numerous things to consider), I made out pretty well. There were parts of that trip were absolutely astonishing, and I can honestly say, nothing about it was a disappointment.  The fact that I put that all together on my own, and then went out and conquered it on my own. I've garnered a lot of courage and have learned to trust myself a great deal by venturing out on these excursions solo. And this time I had no one waiting on the other side.....I think that might be a first. It's not that I don't like traveling with people; I am just okay with myself. And that, I've learned, is a very valuable thing. So is the opportunity to just be  in nature.

I need solitude. I need space. I need air. I need the empty fields round me; and my legs pounding along roads; and sleep; and animal existence. - Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

With Not a Lot of Help From My Friends

I'm struggling a bit with this summer school idea. Its longer - no 4 1/2 weeks here. We go the full day,  full weeks (except this week) for nearly 7 weeks. I want to be thankful that I have time to take a trip, but I also feel like I'm rushing things and have very little time to recoup from the actual school year.
I feel a bit behind as it is. But I've kinda felt that way all year; ever since I changed jobs. There hasn't really been a moment where I felt like I hit my stride I don't think.  It's all still a machine I'm learning to pilot.

I'm excited for this trip; a little nervous to leave everything up to myself and a little worried I'm going to miss out on getting to do something....There's SO much to do, and figuring how to get there, the time and the money and what's worth all that is a bit of a crapshoot.  I'm trying to pace myself, but I also decided on 4 different countries when I should have maybe just picked 2.  I'm going to try not to be bummed about not getting to do certain things though and just thoroughly enjoy what I do decide on.  God willing.  But this is all me; no one else to consult or consider. That is liberating and intimidating....
Getting to take on something like this at all is a blessing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Then There's Tuesday

Tuesday has become volleyball night. After school we gather together in fellowship and drunken confessions and shenanigans to meet our defeat in a belly-rumbling display of antics. Well, we've won a few and somehow, the competitor in me has let that go and decided its not all about winning.

Initially, we just got together for the match and maybe hit the bar for a few drinks afterwards. Then we decided to pre-game it with a few drinks beforehand, and if we were victors or failures, we still capped off the night with some rantings and laughs over a few drinks. Once the indoor games got moved to the outdoors (sand is so fun!), we have been pre-gaming it almost as soon as school's out because sand means a park which means a pavilion which means a grill and there are so many more possibilities now that the weather is permitting it. Our Tuesdays have become a gathering for anyone and everyone....those who play and those who just watch, who cheer, those who eat and drink and chat and maybe never even witness the bump or set of a volleyball but enjoying being away, outside, and with others. A few of these nights have ended in the wee hours of the morning, as we've been unable or unwilling to pull ourselves away.  I've gotten to know a number of things about a number of different staff members. Things I'm surprised were shared with me, and I mean that in a good way.  There have been insightful and deep discussions in the midst of these stunts and escapades....both serious and hysterical. 
At first, I was pretty reluctant to attend or participate in these gatherings simply because I don't really know these people that well. For some that may be motivation to attend but I'm not one to just jump into these things without a safety net or parachute; I have to ease into these kind of things. Volleyball has been an outlet for me, and has also enabled me to partake in something a little different. 
Now that we're on hiatus I'm almost a little down about it. For a bit I thought it would be nice to have my Tuesday nights back again, but at this moment I find myself kinda missing it.  What can Tuesday hold now?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Finding Perfect Places

I've been planning and forgetting and trying to plan some more but then just doing, and I have a feeling that's how a lot of this trip is going to go.  The past 3 weeks had been packed full of encounters and shenanigans that have left me feeling both energized and exhausted....
As much as I love connecting and exploring and experiencing, sometimes the on- the-go lifestyle and consistent presence of others gets me feeling overwhelmed and even lost. Between the old crew and the new crew I've been kept plenty busy, which can also good for me but I know myself well enough to tell when I need to stop and breathe. When I need time to myself. It becomes a necessity, and luckily I found a couple nights this past week to introvert and reflect. I like to call it collecting myself after being socially exhausted. Whether its sand volleyball and picnics and happy hour and coffee talks and more picnics and lunches and birthdays and rock painting....yes, rock painting...I've actually enjoyed the encroaching summer months, that time when the days are longer and the weather starts to swelter (that part will be really old in about a week though). It seems almost like possibility. Almost.
And then Scandanavia is on the horizon.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Born To Be Wild.....until about 11p.m.

Prom happened. And then other things happened; a really long night that turned into morning. I haven't been out that late since....ever?  No, there was my last Friday in Korea, and last Friday I was out till 2am. But 4?  I am too old for that.  Fun times for sure,  but a whole day feeling like you've been sacked like a quarterback in the Super Bowl and needing most of the weekend to recover = not so fun. It started as just socializing with my co-workers (I'm still in the newbie phase) and needing something I couldn't really excuse myself out of. I mean, volleyball is going well(now sand!) and Thursday I made a splash (even got a trophy) for writing a kid up....who wasn't even at school....
Yup, that's me, breaking the mold. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

If You Need to Break Down

"Teaching is like trying to hold 35 corks underwater at once."      - Mark Twain

I'm exhausted - physically, mentally, and emotionally. The physical aspect may have been contributed to by a bit of illness which has seemed to subside, but the weight of the last month or so has been very noticeable. It hasn't stopped me; I've ran and climbed and lifted and explored, enjoying a wonderful and needed spring break. But even that week of "me-time" didn't seem to quite shake this feeling of suffocation. I can't quite pinpoint it, as is often the case with my restlessness and/or agitation. It's not depression or anxiety ( I can put myself in a good mood relatively easily),but it does become something I have to focus on ridding myself of. I think that's the tricky part; its not just putting myself in a better mood. I feel like a million things are spinning around at once, and I can't quite sort them out or put them into their proper place. I have accepted that not every kids is going to like me; some will love and some will hate. But when I mess up or don't get it right in front of peers, that really rocks me. There's making a mistake because I just didn't know, and then there's making a mistake because I wasn't thinking right. 
I would generalize that most have been patient and understanding. I'm probably harder on myself more than anyone else, but there's frustration in knowing that I could do better.... 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ink Over Bruise

I still have some adrenaline pumpling through me. I ran a solid 8 miles this afternoon and should have kept going. I feel I could go out right now and just run.  But rather, I'm trying get paperwork done, contain my restlessness and focus so I'm not just out trying to entertain or distract myself.....
Its a bit difficult after yesterday. Yesterday was intended to be a bit daring, a bit of an adventure, but I got more than I think I bargained for. I intended to get inked, and that I did without much difficulty. A little bigger, a little more expensive, a little painful, but I'm highly pleased with what I got. 
I did not intend to have someone break into my apartment. Attempted break in, forced entry...whatever it was, I'm still playing it over and over in my head and what else I would have done if my initial attempt hadn't been successful. I had the door closed but unlocked, and saw someone on my porch who didn't respond to me; within a minute they were inside my apartment and I didn't even think. I reacted with a charge, a shove, and we both stumbled backwards out the door. It took me a bit even after they took off to decide I needed to call the police because of what happened. But in the moment, I had no fear. Fight or flight was at the forefront, and I suddenly was ready to fight. There wasn't any time in the moment to really think about anything; I just reacted and it happened to work. I thought all night about how it much worse it could have been. Even though I felt empored and full of adrenaline, I didn't think any through.
I'm not worried now....I think things have been taken care of and are under control. Its just an incident I that has two sides of: something I don't want to happen but I found out a little of what I'm made of. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Things That Have Actually Happened

At school, while teaching...

1. Spent each class period watching Netflix.
2. Had the glass window of the door punched out.
3. Had a child crawl out the window (escape!).
4. Watched two students make-out.
5. Had a student paint my pants
6. A student had a dildo in his backpack
7. Fistfight, fistfight, fistfight
8. A crap in the urinal (not by me, of course).
9. Police called, police present, and police leading a student in handcuffs
10.  Caught up on my reading...because students sat without making a peep and doing their work.

Each day is the same but different. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

On the Way to Work

I used to be able to get to work in about 5-6 minutes. There was little time to really do much else but buckle up and listen to a song, maybe two before the day really hit me. Now, I have a good  15-20 minutes to get myself together (even after I'm together), which is plenty of time to say a prayer. No, I did not do this on a daily basis and I still don't, but I am more consistant about giving my day up before it starts. I need to ask for grace and peace and wisdom each day, before the need even arises because I know for certain the need will arise. Its not that there aren't good days, but each day has its own set of challenges that I don't, in all honesty, always handle well. So I'm learning to not rely on myself alone to handle them. Whether or not a prayer saves the day I don't really know, in the sense of I don't always know what I'm praying for. Sure, grace, wisdom, discernment, patience, wisdom....but I think they're manifested all different ways I don't even know the entire result for some time. But I do know that I have more peace. I start my day off with a much sounder mind, and that is an answer to prayer.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Though Some Have Called Thee

I still gravitate to the corner of the room. These gatherings where I don't know anyone or there are
people I haven't seen in so long. And coupled with an unfortunate or undesireable circumstance.....the anxiety isn't nearly as bad as it used to be but its still there, and I haven't quite figured out the right approach. That one part of me usually wins, sitting back and waiting and hoping that no one really notices my reluctance or awkwardness. It's an obligation, yes, but I don't want to avoid it just because I'm uncomfortable or apprehensive about being with people. Certain people.
Extended family is just that: extended. Years pass and then we have to gather and everyone knows 7 or 8 years have passed since we've seen or spoken, but here we are, seeing and trying to speak.
After nearly 95 years here, Grandma left. She had few to come and grieve, simply because most of them had gone before her. I know she was ready and is at peace and that should be comforting. But its also definite. Death shouldn't be proud, but it is strong for the mere fact that it can deliver a blow and make you feel week and powerless for time. Though everyone came together under unfortunate circumstances it was satisfying to see them, for the mere fact of remembering that we all still existed.
I can't even think of when I'll see them again....its not really on our To Do list so I'm sure the effort to get it done will have to be above and beyond. And then what?
Right now, I'm just glad Grandma is at peace.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Some days I feel like I nailed it. I came, I saw, I conquered. Each situation was able to be navigated through, and I think I went the right direction. 
Other days I feel like I let the ball drop. More than that actually; its like I get hit head on. First a sideswipe maybe, so I'm off course or out of line because its never just a one hit and done. I don't know if its an unravelling due to not being able to recover if thats just the nature of a "bad" day....
There's still so much of this gig I haven't quite gotten the hang of. And I don't know how much of that will change because there isn't consistency in my schedule. There have been moments I've just stood there not having any idea what to do. At Beasley, I always knew what to do; other people asked ME what to do. Here no one has seemed critical, but certainly they talk....I know its an assumption but I know it has to be true at the same time. 
One thing I'm having the most difficulty accepting but I'm going to have to for my own sanity: not everyone is going to like me. Especially not every kid. AND I can't let that fear keep me from setting boundaries or being firm. I'm having to have one of my first sit-down and talk it out with a student moments tomorrow, and I kinda just want to skip the whole thing *insert sigh*. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Up to Date

Last year I wrote hardly any blogs. Well, I posted hardly any blogs (I think a number were left unfinished or lost...). In the previous years, I have written very few blogs. So my intent is to be more conscious, disciplined, and focused about getting these written and posted this year. And not I made sure to say something about the writting because I don't want to put a blog up just to put a blog up. I want it to say something or relay something, even if it is only for me.
Today it snowed. It started at night and ran into morning and gave me a day off school. Even though that realization didn't happen until I was ready to walk out the door, it was a gift I was ready to welcome. The day was a little hard on me. Even though I feel like I got a good deal of things done, I was struggling a bit physically. I'm not sure what's up but I've had a conviction lately about going and seeing a doctor just for preventative measures. My fear is I'll be the one who says, "I run 5+ miles a day, I eat kale and drink purified water" and then I'll be given the sentence of 6 months to live.  I hardly ever "check up" on things and I don't know what has gotten me suddenly concerned other than stories. I'm hearing stories. And I am getting older I guess. 
Of course I make a list at the beginning of every year, but I prefer not to call anything on there resolutions but simply goals. The pressure to be "on it" all the time or from now on - not biting nails, not eating sugar, not watching so much tv, cleaning up more, writing more, kinda immeasurable in my book. I need specifics, a mark to hit with numbers and checkmarks. This year needs discipline/accomplishment, but I also realize I can't be so rigid. Unflexable isn't suiting me, at least right now. 

*side note: This whole not working but still getting paid deal is fantastic.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


In regards to a lap pool, where many are intending to complete a decent workout.

1. Thou shall not cannonball into the pool, causing a tidal wave into another lane.

2. Thou shall not enter a lane without first asking permission or announcing your arrival.

3. Thou shall not announce your arrival by splashing or smacking on the head.

4. Thou shall not perform a demonstrative stroke (i.e. the butterfly) while sharing a lane.

5. Thou shall not travel from one end to the other with gizmos and gadgets (i.e. flippers/flappers, noodles, weights....) while sharing a lane if they are encrouching beyond your designated side.

6. Thou shall not toss gismos and gadgets in any which general direction of the pool (especially someone else's lane) when finished with them. 

7. Thou shall not travel across lanes if you do not have adequate time to get out of the way of the oncoming swimmer.

8. Thou shall not wear swimsuits that are not sturdy in times of activity.

9. Thou shall not wear non-swimsuit clothing into the pool (i.e. socks).

10. Thou shall not idly socialize in the pool, prohibiting others from utilizing the lane.