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.
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!