Counting for Sanity

One Two Three Four Five Watch.

Morning rituals. Take off five bracelets and a watch. Shower. Put on five bracelets and a watch. Check time – on time. Eat breakfast, get ready, check time – late. Every. Single. Morning. No matter the time I wake up, those minutes dissipate into oblivion over my granola and banana.

The past few weeks have been smeared across the blur of an anxious mind with pinpoints of drama. I can put life into perspective by looking forward to things – Monday yoga, Friday free banana bread, the weekend, end of month pay day, Christmas break… Throw in getting a kid suspended, a new speech client, a change in job description at the school*, a Halloween fun fair, and that permanent little voice in the back of my mind asking what to do at Christmas…

I needed this weekend. Friday we had the Halloween fun fair at school. The students were adorable and super psyched all day. The energy was heart warming. I had one of my students run away from Miss Chloe the vampire, Olivia (who made my cape – see below) literally screamed when she saw me, and I had the grade ones believing my teeth were real – small victories really.

vampirecostume - 1

Saturday I had an afternoon date with little Jinwoo and I came home to a pagne (african fabric for clothing) party at my apartment. We had a tailor come over, Olivia, who is also a janitor at the school. Teachers popped in and out during the afternoon, bringing their pagne and making orders. That night, another teacher had a Halloween party with Peace Corps people and other teachers. I bonded with my fellow Canadian teacher over some wine and before I knew it, I was way past my self-set curfew. Time flies when you’re caught in a moment.

That little voice succeeded at keeping both sides to my dilemma in my conscience this weekend. It reminded me of the real tug-of-war between staying and leaving, even though I’ve never stopped thinking about it. Stay for the people or leave for my health. I realize everyone else here has the same environmental hurdles – the pollution, air quality, food, toxins, mold, disease, sickness, surprise poops… But if you know me, I really care about these things; they’re really important to me (yes – even my poop). The fact that I have constant mucus in the back of my throat from the air I am breathing; the fact that I am eating things I would have never touched back home and only drinking bottled water; the fact that I am carb overloading because it’s freaking hard to be a vegetarian who is still too cautious to eat any vegetable that hasn’t been bleached and peeled..

Tomorrow starts a new week, a new month, and the same ritual. Take off five physical mantras and a watch. Think about an alternative life with salads and clean air. Check time – yep, still alive. Put on five physical mantras and a watch, remove myself from reality and let the auto drive take over. Check time – still late.

One Two Three Four Five Watch.

All my heart,


*Not sure what I think about this change. I am no longer teaching middle school phys ed.. Instead I will be helping out in the grade 2 classroom. I am excited because I really like the teacher and I think I can learn a lot from her. It is also closer to the age group I want to work with. I am not so excited because I enjoyed teaching my phys ed class and, changing my career path towards OT, it was the most relevant thing I was doing at the school. I feel like I am loosing a challenge I was keen on conquering: figuring out the middle school students and finding the groove of being a fun teacher they still respect. We are just starting to feel comfortable with each other and now I am leaving. Although I am disheartened about giving up PE, second grade will bring new challenges and rewards and I am ready for it!


3 thoughts on “Counting for Sanity

  1. Rachel Krauss says:

    Chlo! Sounds like the change will be a good and bad and am also very interested in the OT drop there! And side note, love the enthusiasm with Halloween because as I think we both know, it is an amazing holiday!! I hope you will find resolution to the voice in the back of your head soon, but you will when you are ready too or really when it is needed. Keep on trucking beautiful!!! Can’t wait for our adventures (which I can hopefully partake in, all depends on money and school blah) but that is still getting me through the remainder of this semester!!
    Love you and sending a ghost hug (which is a new term I am using for hugs to people I cannot actually hug) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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