Photo by Anne Schmidt
Today is my second wedding anniversary with my husband, David. So I thought I'd take a minute to talk about him, our story, and what two years means to me.
Photo by Anne Schmidt
David and I met my sophomore year of high school, which I think was 2004 ( that seems like a really long time ago all of a sudden! ). We were both on the Civil Rights Team and had a few mutual friends. David is the kind of person whose personality fills the room. He can captivate an audience and make a room full of people laugh. I have always admired him for that and think it's a kind of magic power.
Let's just get it out there: I was smitten from the moment we met. However, at the time, he was dating someone else. This worked out in the end because ultimately I don't think things would have worked out that well if we had dated in high school. For one thing, it gave us the chance to be friends and build a great relationship. Over the years I discovered that David wasn't just the funny persona I had come to know but also a true friend. I confided in him about personal struggles and he really listened and wanted to help. I could tell that he really cared and he made me feel important. Over the years, he's only continued to show me how important I am to him, whether it's a text during a busy day or going all out for my birthday.
David is a year older than me ( or really a year and a half ) but we stayed friends even while he started college and I was in high school -- something I really wasn't sure would happen. I thought, maybe, he'd have too many other things on his plate and our friendship would fade, but he made sure that never happened. In fact, he and one of our best friends visited me in college, 6 hours away from them, during the spring of my freshman year.
Just before their visit, David and his girlfriend broke up, leaving us in a place we'd never been before--friends and both single. We grew even closer over the few days they visited and then I came home on my break the following week. We realized that not only was there something there but the timing was right too. We spent a long time talking about how we were risking a great friendship but that if things worked out we'd be getting a great life together. Even then, when we had been dating for just a few days, we hinted at wanting this to be the real thing and thinking that it could be. The same week we had our first kiss, David met most of my family, but he still wasn't deterred. He's pretty unflappable, that one.
Of course, at the end of that week, I had to drive the 6 hours back to college. We had been together for a week but then were long distance for months before the summer started and we could be together for more than a few days at a time. People have a lot of opinions about long distance relationships but I'll just say this: Being together long distance was better than not being together at all. In a lot of ways, it helped us: We had our own lives, we learned to communicate better, we learned to balance our relationship with our friendships and other activities, we had time to focus on our classes, and we learned the value of being present--when we were together we truly valued that and didn't take it for granted.
Over the next three years of college, we made it work. Every few weeks one of us would drive the 12 hours round trip to see the other. Our friends were great about coming with us or putting up with one of us crashing, and they could see how important our relationship was to us. When we graduated, we were happy to have a chance to start a life together, but it wasn't quite that simple.
It turns out that in 2011 not many people wanted to hire brand new graduates.. I applied to 17 schools before getting a call and, when I did, I wasn't sure if I should take an offer -- it was an hour away from where David was working at the time and I really wanted to be done with long distance. I had no idea if he could even find a job there if I got a job there.
In the end, he was the amazing, supportive partner I've come to know him as. He knew how excited I was that the school offered me a job and told me to take it. I did but it would be years before he could find a job in the same location. So, we spent almost two more years "long" distance--we'd shortened the distance by 5 hours but we were still not living together or even near each other. Much like being long distance in college, I think it worked out: In my first year of teaching I worked until 5 most nights then came home, made dinner, and pretty much went to bed. I think being short distance allowed me more time to get my feet wet in teaching and find a work-life balance. Even though he ended up getting the raw end of that deal--me picking where we lived and him continuing to travel a lot and not getting much attention since I was so focused on surviving my first year--he stayed patient and loyal through it all, always supporting me and cheering me on.
Finally in 2013, David and I moved in together. It had been a very long time coming and we were so happy to be able to start our lives together. After being apart for so long, it really made me appreciate us being able to be together, all the time. That December, David proposed in front of our high school where we first met. Obviously I said yes!
We had a long ( 18 month! ) engagement and were finally married in June of 2014. It really was one of the best days of my life -- I married my best friend and was surrounded by the love of all of my family and friends. There is no greater gift than all that love squeezed into one place.
Photo by Anne Schmidt
After all of the obstacles we had to overcome during the almost 5 years of long distance and our 7 year relationship, I ( super naively! ) thought that our first year of marriage wouldn't be as hard as everyone says -- after all, we had lived together, planned a wedding together, and dealt with long distance and other challenges-- but I was wrong. In February of 2015, seven months after we got married, David's father suddenly passed away. Being David's wife had never felt more important and at the same time I was trying to deal with the loss of someone who had become a father to me as well. I didn't know if we would ever feel like ourselves again, but as I said in Thoughts on Year 5, people are more resilient than we dare to believe. In a time when relationships were strained with stress and loss, David always made family a priority--whether it was phone call or finding a time to be together. I've gained two brothers, two sisters, three parents, and more family that have become friends than I could have hoped for--and that's in no small part because of David. He takes care of his family and he helps us all make each other a priority.
Even from the very beginning, I knew that if nothing else, no matter what happened in life, he could always make me laugh. One time in college, I was trying to find something to wear for a Halloween party and we couldn't find anything-- it had been hours. I was exhausted and frustrated and cranky and we sat on a bench in the middle of the mall and David pretended to be popcorn ( mainly by yelling pop and springing up ) and it was so unexpected and brazen that I just burst out laughing. He didn't care if he embarrassed himself-- he wanted to make me feel better. I don't often tell him, but I love that he's goofy and fun. It's endearing and it makes life fun, too.
There's so much more that's happened in the last 12 years of our lives knowing each other, the 8 years of being together, and the 2 years of marriage we've shared, but what's important is this: There's no one else I'd rather spend it with.
David is the type of person who is becoming rare in our society now: He is dependable, thoughtful, kind,
really smart, strong, brave, sincere, honest, and trustworthy. David is the kind of friend who will pick you up in the middle of the night when your car breaks down or bring you dinner because you're going through a hard time. It doesn't hurt that he can make just about anything from soufflé to beef bourguignon to waffles or that he's totally handsome, and I mean those blue eyes? Stop it.
Happy two years, my love! Hopefully you won't blush too much reading this!
It's been a little while since I've done a recap post, so I thought I'd jump in with another one. Some highlights:
I finished teaching for the year! Did you read my thoughts on 5 years of teaching?
I made the best cookies of my life ( by adapting this recipe slightly ) for the end of the year awards -- lucky kids!
I finished this book, which is one of my new favorites. Review coming soon! ( P.S. Did you see my summer reading list? Can't wait to get started! )
Obviously, I ate some food. We'll talk more about that, soon!
I went on this amazing sunset walk with David. We are really loving the trails in our area.
WE MADE PIZZA CONES. If you don't know what these are, Google them. We used a kit from Little Caesar's and they were really good. I mean, I know I don't have food like this very often, but seriously good. We brought them to a neighborhood party and the kids loved them. They were gone in about 5 minutes.
I've started my summer organizing spree where I feel the need to go through and organize places no one will ever see, like all of our drawers, while leaving clutter on every surface. At least something is getting organized?
I finally got a haircut after two months, and it feels so good!
We celebrated Father's Day with my father and my husband's step-father and ate a lot of amazing summer food, like this caprese panzanella -- recipe details coming soon!
We also went boating and, even though I don't love the motion of the boat ( I get so motion sick easily ), I love being out on the water, especially with these two and my parents.
Our best friends' baby turned two! She was born right before our wedding and is just THE CUTEST. My husband and his best friend are attempting to macgiver a piñata solution here.
Of course, I meal planned and prepped--what makes me happier?
Probably the best thing I've done in a long time was teach my parents Snapchat. Yes, I'm on Snapchat and it makes me feel really old but I also love it. They got a kick out of it and have been snapping me and each other ever since. It's the cutest. Plus, I wanted to send them a video of something that I'm hoping to announce soon -- when it becomes official!
What have you been up to? Any great summer plans I should steal?
You may or may not know that about half of all teachers quit within their first five years. I remember in one of my early college Education classes having a professor basically try to talk us out of teaching. He told us how exhausted we would be. He told us all of the jobs that would pay us better ( spoiler alert: it's a whole lot ). He made careers I had never given a second thought to, namely truck driving and garbage pickup, sound appealing. He told us that more likely than not, we wouldn't make it. He didn't do this to be mean, but rather to be realistic and honest. I wondered if I would make it. Part of me was sure I would: I am a bull-headed, stubborn, determined person, and I've always wanted to be a teacher. But, there's no telling in life, right? Maybe I wouldn't make it.
Knowing the five year statistic, starting this year felt strangely and arbitrarily important to me. So, on this last week of my 5th year of teaching, I want to reflect on some milestones for me. Not just to memorialize what happened but also to relate (if you're a teacher) or maybe educate (if you're not).
In year one, I had one of the hardest groups of students that have come through our school--many people told me that and the phrase "trial by fire" was thrown around a lot. I ended up really loving that class but I'd be lying if I said they went easy on me; they did not. In many ways, I'm grateful for that because it tested me, made me work hard, and I learned a lot. At the same time, it was definitely a year of wondering if I could really do it.
In the last five years I've been the keeper of hearts and secrets. Students have told me stories of rape, suicide, depression, anxiety, loss, death, neglect, sorrow, heartbreak, struggle, and resilience. I've learned the value of listening and sitting with someone. I've learned that life is more than content, that my job is more than teaching spelling, grammar, reading, or english.
When one of my students died my second year of teaching, I knew my role had to be being there for my students. I did the only thing I knew how: I baked cookies and I was honest. When I got to homeroom, of which he was a member, I passed out cookies and looked at my students. I didn't put on a brave face. I told them they were all important, that even though it wasn't the same for me as it was for them that I felt this loss with them, that, even though it seemed impossible, we would get through this, and that I was there for them. I was 22 and I didn't know crap, but I showed up anyway and I tried.
What's important to me, and hopefully to my students, is that in the last five years that's what I've done: showed up and tried. In five years, I had three years of perfect attendance. Of course, I don't have kids and I do have a wonderful, very helpful husband, but this year I taught 5 classes, spent a lot of nights and weekends grading and responding to student work, took two graduate classes ( or three if you could the one I started in the last month and a half of school ), edited the high school yearbook, managed the JHS webpage, ran an at risk committee that I made homemade, gluten free baked goods for every 7am meeting, joined two committees and attended those meetings, and of course also got colds and did not feel well at times from my stomach illness, and dealt with personal issues and stress. Even so, I went to school every. single. day. I'm not saying that to brag ( well, kind of ), rather I am very, very proud of doing all of that and still showing up every day because despite whatever failings I may have now or have had in these last few years being a new teacher, I've shown up and I've tried.
I've realized my job is getting to know a person's heart, dreams, skills, needs, and fears for 8 months and then never seeing them again. My job is holding on when I don't want to and letting go when I have to. My job is a sometimes a teacher, sometimes a friend, sometimes a mentor, sometimes an advocate, sometimes a guidance counselor, sometimes a parent, and all the time a champion of all of my students, even when it's hard, even when I want to quit, even when they've insulted me, even when I'm tired, even when no one, not even them, appreciates it.
Teaching is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Middle school is a time of intense personal struggle for most people and I watch it play out in front of me daily--in mean words and hurtful comments, friend politics, awkward crushes, physical fights, and stories students have written or told to me about how hard life can be. Through it all, I've realized one thing:
People are more resilient than we ever dare to believe.
You see, I've laid awake nights wondering how these students, these people I am entrusted to care for, will make it through. How can they survive when their best friends die by suicide or car accidents, when the hardest parts of life like rape, depression, alcoholism, and poverty show themselves, when they lose hope in themselves and their futures, when they don't have anyone as their champions, or when they just don't care about school? I've wondered how I would make it last year when we lost my husband's father. His death was a tremendous loss to our whole family and it left a gaping hole in our lives.
But the truth is, we are more resilient than we dare to let ourselves believe. I've seen students write beautiful poems and pieces about the friends and family they've lost, I've seen students turn their lives around, I've watched people, myself included, dig out of dark situations and come back stronger. Somehow we let ourselves believe that we are not strong, that life can beat us down, that we will never recover, but, while we'll never be the same, we will come back, we will carry on. Teaching has given me so many gifts but to me the greatest one of all is seeing people do such incredible things. Teaching has taught me that we are all stronger and better than we dare to believe; we just need to start paying attention to it.
It has been a busy few weeks! Most importantly, I went to Vermont for my college reunion and to visit friends.
In case you thought I only eat healthy food, let this post be a testament to my belief in balance. . . and cookies. The best part about our hotel, or maybe second best to the 24 hour gym, was that you get cookies when you check in! They keep them in a warming drawer . . .
Our first stop after the hotel was Lee's Chinese, which is not only a big college throwback but also home to the best boneless spare ribs I have ever had. They have this beautiful char on them that in any other circumstance I would not be into -- but in this case I can't resist them. I tried to balance my plate with some healthy steamed shrimp and vegetables ( and uh some (steamed!) dumplings and crab rangoon ).
The second stop was Healthy Living where we picked up some supplies for the picnic we were having the next day. First pick, this popcorn--SO good!
I also grabbed some roasted red pepper hummus which looked really good. It was delicious-- a little spicy and had a deeper, more complex flavor than the regular, plain hummus. Before we left home, I also made the most delicious raspberry crumble bars from Oh She Glows, which are a go-to favorite.
The next morning we hit up our favorite place, Mirabelle's, for breakfast.
It is cozy and full of bright colors, sunshine, warmth, and, most importantly, amazing baked goods. David got a Mexican corn cake stack and I got a raspberry rhubarb yogurt parfait, which was amazing.
The orange dream, a combination of milk ( which you get can get as almond milk! ), orange juice, and vanilla, is also amazing and highly recommended.
After breakfast, we had to get some treats so we both ordered our usuals: David loves their "pig cookies" which are adorable lemon shortbread cookies, and I love the macarons. I also added a passion fruit meringue and it was one of the best cookies I have ever had.
After breakfast we went for a walk downtown. Church street and the farmer's market are two of my all time favorite places. I was definitely in my happy place!
Flower & bakery stand, tropical juice with coconut and sweetened with maple syrup #Vermont, and the church street sign
Then we met up with friends and basically rocked picnic-ing. We had hummus, veggies, popcorn, guacamole, chips, fruit, lettuce wrap sandwiches, and the raspberry bars I made.
We spent the afternoon snacking, talking, and shopping at our favorite stores on Church Street. After, we headed to dinner at probably my all time favorite restaurant ( though I think that's the third time I'm saying that! ) -- Pho Hong. It is a small, family run Vietnamese restaurant and the flavor is just out of this world good.
I started with a shrimp and green papaya salad and it was amazing.
Next I had their spring rolls, which would be my desert island or last meal request.
Finally, my main dish was chicken with noodles; it sounds boring but it is so lovely between the crunchy peanuts, tangy sauce, noodles, and fresh herbs -- there is just so much flavor.
After dinner we headed out to our 5 year college reunion! It was weird to see everyone after 5 years and, since I only went to Vermont to see the friends I was with, I ended up doing a lot of people watching at the actual reunion, which is always interesting. It's a unique form of the memory game trying to figure out how you knew someone and figuring out their name after five years of not seeing them, but we had a great time! Our hotel even had a banner out for the reunion.
The next morning I met up with my friend Andrea, who is an amazing middle school teacher who I met at Saint Mike's. We met at Bagel Market because I was craving a salt bagel with cream cheese. These had just come out of the oven and as you can see I couldn't resist!
Before we left, we hit up Healthy Living again to grab some fresh vegetables and healthy snacks for the road and that night's dinner. It was hard to leave a place I love that is home to so many people I love but it just means that I can't wait to go back soon! I also can't help but love a place that has more cows than people. Until next time, Vermont!
Next week I'll be talking about the healthy snacks I picked up to keep my days balanced and our road trip on track, how I fit in my workouts while traveling, and the mini-meal prep I did when we got home since we didn't have very much time plus a new book review ( spoiler alert: new favorite! ) and my summer reading list so be on the lookout! It's also the last week of school so it's going to be a great week!
If you spend any time around me, then you've probably asked me this question: "So, what can you eat?" There was a time when I would pretty much eat anything and I thought being healthy meant not having seconds, but nearly four years ago the power to eat whatever I wanted was swiftly taken away.
It was November of my second year of teaching. My job had shifted this year from teaching 10th grade at the high school to teaching 8th grade at the junior high school and 10th grade at the high school. I ended up bouncing from school to school at least once a day. Luckily the schools were close, but I knew, and felt very guilty, that I could never be in two places at once and was rarely available to either group of students. The month before, in October, I was stunned and shaken by the sudden and tragic death of one of my high school homeroom students who had died, with another student, in a car accident. It rocked me to my core -- why bother to teach students if they die?
So, I was already really stressed. Then we went out to dinner one night in November of 2012. The next day I woke up feeling like I had the stomach flu. Little did I know I would feel this way for nearly a year and have symptoms well beyond that.
I'm not the type to seek a doctor but after a few weeks of feeling like I had the stomach flu I left work in the middle of the day and went to walk in care, since my doctor was still an hour away. The first doctor wasn't sure what was wrong ( this would be a recurring theme ) and put me on prednisone, which did not sit well on a stomach already in turmoil. I called my doctor in Bangor and got an appointment for the next week. She ran many tests but was also not sure what was wrong. Since she was an hour away, communicating with her was very difficult and ultimately very inefficient. So, after a lot of phone tag, it became clear I needed a doctor closer to me. My new, local doctor basically saved me. She's a nurse practitioner and spent lots of time getting to know me and was like, we're going to help you; it was the first time I felt like things could get better. This was already several months into feeling terrible and my symptoms had not improved. I was still teaching, still going between schools, and still stressed, even more so now that I had an illness no one could identify.
Image from cartoonstock.com
My new doctor referred me to a gastroenterologist to try to get a better handle on what was happening. They ran a million tests as well-- I will spare you the details. At this point I had spent more time in doctors' offices and doing lab tests than I ever had before and we were no closer to finding out what happened. At my second, or maybe third, meeting with my gastroenterologist, she laid it out for me: The most likely scenario was that when I went out to dinner that night I came in contact with a nasty bacteria of some kind. ( We still don't know how this happened as my family and I all shared the same food. ) This bacteria created a (giant) disruption in the delicate balance of my gut bacteria. ( I learned a lot during this time about gut health and now find it super fascinating.) Basically, you have good bacteria in your intestines, or gut, and bad bacteria. When you're sick, or take antibiotics, your good bacteria gets depleted and your bad bacteria takes over, and this makes you more susceptible to other illnesses (colds, flu, stomach bugs, etc.) and not feel well. So, when that bad bacteria hit me, it wiped out nearly all of my good bacteria and my immune system couldn't recover and repopulate the good bacteria -- so my gut was still, months later, out of whack.
Picture from freegrab.net
I was put on several medications to try to get it under control but, while they reduced some of the symptoms, they ultimately weren't a lot of help. Throughout this time, I experimented a lot with my diet. The first thing the gastroenterologist suggested was recording everything I ate and my symptoms. The first doctor, from walk in care, said to eat lot of carbs ( dream come true? ) to keep my diet basic so that my body could recover. After this there was probably a period of six months where the only thing I could really tolerate was bagel thins and dairy free cream cheese. Just thinking about that makes my stomach turn and I don't think I'll ever be eating that combination again.
I started to wonder: What is healthy? I didn't feel like a bagel thin was healthy but then again if that was the only thing I could stomach then maybe it was. Next, the gastroenterologist suggested it might be a gluten allergy or intolerance so I was instructed to eat a lot of gluten ( yay bread! ) and then to stop and record my symptoms for both. What happened was that my body was overwhelmed at both extremes ( lots of gluten and no gluten ) so this proved more frustrating than helpful.
I started to wonder: What is healthy?
I got so fed up with not knowing what to eat and trying to eat the "right things" --and then still feeling absolutely terrible anyway. I am a true food lover and not having control over what I ate-- or being able to eat what I wanted-- was so hard for me. One night I basically threw the adult version of a temper tantrum and went to the store, bought a frozen pizza with cinnamon sticks, and ate a ton of them. No, really. I threw caution to the wind and had like half a pizza and about 5 cinnamon sticks. ( Spoiler alert: It was a bad idea. ) The subsequent pain was some of the worst of my life. I sat, rolling in a ball on the bathroom floor for nearly an hour crying and begging to go to the hospital. My then boyfriend -- now husband -- reminded me that I'd have to get up to do that, which didn't sound appealing. He ended up calling my mom, a healthcare professional, who assured us both that the searing pain and burning sensation going through my insides would pass. It did eventually but let's just say it's been three and a half years since I've eaten frozen pizza or cinnamon sticks and I don't think I will ever eat them again.
These restrictions and adjustments to my diet caused me to do a lot of research on types of eating. My gastroenterologist was amazing and gave me a lot of literature on various diets that had helped people like me. Many of them seemed impossible to me -- no gluten? Dairy? Sugar? WHO ARE WE KIDDING. A life without bread isn't living! Yet, slowly I started to adapt. I found blogs like Minimalist Baker, Real Food Whole Life, Paleomg, and others that helped me see that eating cleaner and healthier with more whole foods was possible -- and even delicious. It wasn't something I changed all at once: I held onto that bread, cheese, and pasta for all my life, but over time I realized what foods made me feel better and worse.
Also during this time I got engaged and my fiancé moved in, which as an introvert was also a big but wonderful change. In preparing for our wedding, not feeling sick on our wedding day and feeling good about how I looked was really important to me.
Feeling great on our wedding day.
I found Barre3 and their nutrition philosophy showed me how eating healthy could be possible and delicious. Between the strengthening workouts and whole foods, my health dramatically improved.
picture source: Barre3.com
I never thought of myself as an unhealthy eater ( I ate my veggies, didn't drink soda or alcohol, and almost never had fast food ), but I realized that didn't make me a healthy eater either. I had been eating a lot of simple, white carbs and these ( more than the actual gluten ) didn't make me feel good.
Seeing how much my diet could change my life, I stopped seeing my illness as restrictive and started to seek out foods that made me feel better.
Changing my diet was the one thing that really helped and was in my control. Seeing how much my diet could change my life, I stopped seeing my illness as restrictive and started to seek out foods that made me feel better; after a string of doctors and appointments and medications that did very little, I felt empowered that simply changing what I ate could transform my physical and mental health. So, I'd like to say that I woke up one day and just said, "I want to be healthy!" but I didn't. I resisted it, actually, but was hooked when I figured out the power it held.
Years into my stomach issues, I was desperate for answers. My new gastroenterologist told me about a study that was done on people like mine; he said that most of them had reduced symptoms over five years. And, what about after those five years; did it ever go away? He said, "well, the study ended." That's where my story is at today: Has it gone away? No. Do I feel better? So much so.
In the beginning I was really only eating bagel thins. Now, I eat most things. When someone asks me what I can eat, it's a hard question to answer since there aren't specific food groups I don't or can't eat. I eat some dairy -- yogurt, for example -- but other dairy ( namely milk ) is truly awful for me to ingest. I eat gluten but I also try to limit while starches since those generally aren't healthy and don't make me feel good. I eat meat, though less so if it's fatty or harder to digest, like steak. I eat rice, though I prefer quinoa which provides more protein. I eat fat if it's from nuts or avocados but I really can't tolerate much fried or things like mayo in larger quantities. Today, healthy means that I mostly eat whole foods -- fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, mostly unprocessed, and not much from a box.
Most of all, my illness means that I don't know what any given day will be like. One day, I will be fine and have zero symptoms. Another day, I won't feel well. Sometimes, this is because I splurged a bit and ate things I don't usually: a night or two out to dinner, or a cheese plate, or some ice cream, etc. But, the hardest part is that some days I won't feel well for no reason at all. That's what this illness means to me now: Life and how I feel is out of my control. For a type-A person, this has been a real lesson: You can't control everything. When I first got sick, the one thing I really wanted to know was if I would wake up feeling like I had been repeatedly punched in the stomach after eating a bag of hot peppers every single morning, but that's not how life works: Sometimes you just can't know what's going to happen.
In many ways, this has been a blessing: I've learned to let go ( a little! ), to eat healthier, to listen to my body more, and to be mindful about how my actions affect my health. This is something that has changed my life so you'll be hearing a lot more about it; if you have questions I'd love to hear them!
Having a stomach illness is often stigmatized and even more often humorized
Having a stomach illness is not something I usually talk about or go into much detail on since, much like mental illness, it is often stigmatized and even more often humorized, like in Along Came Polly. It's not socially acceptable yet to talk about your stomach problems or gut health so I generally try to avoid the topic, but the truth is it's worth talking about: 60-70 million people are affected by digestive disorders. I've learned a lot about the power of food, what it means to be healthy, and how my choices affect my physical, emotional, and mental health and that's one of my main reasons for this blog: to help you learn about those choices and find your joy, too.
You know how sometimes when you're enjoying your weekend at the movies or the grocery store or a restaurant and you see your teacher -- and it's totally weird because you have to acknowledge that teachers are people too who watch movies, shop, and eat? Finding my blog is probably the internet version of that situation.
It's weird for me too. We have one relationship -- a teacher-student one -- and seeing each other outside of that relationship and context is confusing. Do I say hi? Do you want me to or would that be even weirder for you? Like ugh, my teacher is embarrassing me and I'd like to pretend she doesn't exist. I get that.
So, it might be a little weird for you to not only have to know and acknowledge that I have a personal life but also to see it so publicly displayed here. It's weird for me too and weird for me that you're reading it. That's okay, though; let's embrace this mutual weirdness together!
Here's one reason why it's weird: Being a teacher means that I represent our school and I happily do so for roughly 182 days a year, anywhere from 6-10 hours a day ( and of course I work beyond that-- but more in a behind the scenes way than in a public representative way-- during vacations, summers, weekends, etc.). However, this blog is 97.3333% not about school and not about me as a teacher or representative of my school, district, or organization. While this doesn't mean that I will act in a way that doesn't represent my school well, it does mean that the opinions I'm expressing here are my own. I say that because, without meaning to or thinking about it, we lump school and teachers together and think they're one in the same. I think this distinction--of me as a person outside of (or maybe beside) my professional life-- is important because I want you to know that I'm representing myself here, even though I might talk about things related to the school.
At the same time, I think it's okay (maybe even good?) for you to know that I write in my free write. I take classes to better myself as a person and a teacher in my free time. I like to cook and bake in my free time. I try to be healthy and I work out in my free time. I also read in my free time ( but you already knew that, didn't you? ). If you have stumbled across this blog, in your free time, I hope you realize that I practice what I preach -- I write at home, read at home, and take care of myself to be healthy just like I encourage all of you to do.
So, this is the proverbial grocery store run-in, and I won't know if you turn the other way and dart down a different aisle. Whether you choose to follow along here or not, I hope you find me a little more human, because that's a good thing: When we see our teachers as people, we can see when they take their own advice and when they make mistakes and learn from them. Those are good lessons to teach, too.