June 30, 2015
Today I made a snap decision that was not really a snap decision. On Thursday, I begin my travel back to the US. I will only be there for 3 weeks, so I am planning my time carefully.
It has been my dream to attend nErDcampMI since its inception two years ago. This summer marks the first summer in a while that I will be in the US, so I planned that into my busy three weeks. For months every time a tweet or blog post added more information I smiled to myself- I will be there! I looked up other literacy-based events that will take place during my time in the US and had some decisions to make. I looked at the Scholastic Reading Summit and ogled the workshops, speakers, and books! There was even one nearby- on a day I could make. I tried to register but found that I had to be a staff member at a local school, so I emailed for help. I was assured that they could update my information once I registered, but still I hesitated. I was already committed to nErDcamp, and although the event is free I was staying in a hotel and flying in (and definitely will be buying raffle tickets for the great art that is there). This morning Mr. Schu (an amazing librarian I follow on Twitter) said he was now signed on for all of the reading summits- this was a change, as previously he was not scheduled to attend Boston. This was the sign I was looking for and I immediately signed up (although if I had waited just a few minutes I could have saved some money by signing up as part of a group with someone I “know” via Twitter).
So, three of my precious 21 days will be spent with “strangers”. I will not go to either event knowing anyone (although at camp I will meet some people who will also be at the summit). I know I will learn a lot (and likely laugh a lot too if what I know of some of these people by their online presences is any gauge). I will be spending time with “my tribe”. It is true that I have not met any of these people yet (in real life), but I am so excited I feel like I am going to a reunion with former colleagues. With only three weeks of real vacation, this will be a rejuvenating part of my break. I like my new colleagues very much, but I miss the ongoing, informal PD I had with a few close friends at my last school. Even then, we were all passionate readers, but I was the one who focused on kid lit. This time with like-minded ( read book crazy) colleagues I have not yet met will be a chance for me to put a face to the “voices” I know via Twitter and blogs. There are so many of my heroes of reading and writing that I will meet- published authors and illustrators, teachers, and librarians. I need this time to be the real me. There are so many people I will meet that I am already indebted to (from the Nerdy Book Club crew who inspire me daily, to Lesley Burnap, a teacher from MA who generously sent her ARC of El Deafo around the world to share it with as many people as possible. I was one of the lucky ones who got to read that copy and later when Lesley met the amazing Cece Bell at a conference she bought a new copy of the book, had Cece autograph it for me, and sent it to me in Malaysia. I will meet the authors of a great many of the professional books that guide me in my everyday practices as well as friendly people who are all over the world being advocates for kids. Little do these people know how the time with them will feed me.
I am so looking forward to my 21 days in the US and think that it will be the perfect mix for me. I will have the “professional” time those three days and I will get to see family and friends as well. I will stay with my mom, who has recently had surgery and is recovering well. I will get to spend lots of time with my 24-year-old son who is at a crossroads in his career planning (and I have not seen him for 19 months!). I will get met at the airport by my ever so supportive dad. My sister and her fabulous family live nearby as well, so I look forward to that time too. In addition, I am making plans to catch up with some old friends. I will also fly to Arkansas for a weekend to visit my younger son. He has recently graduated from university and hs last few weeks have been filled with firsts (job, apartment, car). I can not wait to see how he is settling. Somehow I also need to fit in book shopping and bargain hunting for summer clothes (living in the land of endless summer I still need more clothing, as I did not go with much). I have great plans for reading lots (kid lit and professional books- both stimulating and relaxing to me). I have made it through my first year in a new school in a new country and I know what I need to feed my soul this summer- three weeks is what I will have, and I am so ready!
I have made it through my first year in a new school in a new country and I know what I need to feed my soul this summer- three weeks is what I will have to do it, and I am so ready!