Monthly Archives: June 2018

Hurry Up and Wait

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#sol18- June 26, 2018

I definitely have a love/hate relationship, as I suppose most people do. I am always excited/anxious about travelling, so it starts with not much sleep the night before. Then, no matter what time I am taking off, I just want to get “there” (in this case at least to the airport).

This morning I was feeling melancholy- although I have had a great 6 days in Chicago (visiting my son, attending a Scholastic Reading Summit, meeting up with some friends, and exploring Chicago a bit), this morning signalled my goodbye to my son and the knowledge that I likely would not see him for a year.

Rather than go out and do anything I decided I would just go to the airport early (my departure time was 2:10PM) and eat lunch there- knowing that I always enjoy people watching in airports, which might be good slice fodder.

Before I could even get out of the apartment I had an email- my flight was delayed until 3:56- sigh. After emailing my son (who was already at work) and my mom (who is my next stop) I decided to head out anyway. I struggled with the lock box where I was to leave the key (my son is at an Airbnb for the summer as he is interning in Chicago) while a team of landscapers looked on, but managed in the end.

Chicago has a great train system, so I headed out to the Blue Line and about 30 minutes later I pulled into the airport. O’Hare is big, but pretty clearly labelled, so I found Spirit Airlines, checked in my bag and was left with just over three hours until departure time.

Afer wandering a bit (and finding Barbara’s Bookstore that John Schumacher always raves about whenever he flies) I filled a few minutes looking at books. I wandered some more before grabbing a quick (and unhealthy lunch) and then began the drama of trying to connect to the airport wifi. Somehow my phone and computer always struggle with this, so it took several restarts and more patience than I would have liked to get connected.

So then I glance up at the gate sign and notice the flight is even more delayed… 5:17 is the new time now, so I am back to a three-hour wait. Happily, I am not in a time crunch, so I will fill the time with reading (and ARC of Resistance by Jennifer Nielsen from the reading summit- which seems sort of timely with recent news) and people watching.

After today it is 12 more days until my next flight (that one leaves at 7AM and will take me to NerdCamp, so I am sure I will be too excited to sleep the night before).

Travel is exciting (for sure), but there is always that hurry up and wait time!

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Treating Myself

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#sol18- June 19, 2018

For those of you who have read my posts in the last few weeks you will remember that this is guaranteed to be a busy summer- a combination of moving schools/countries, visiting friends and family, and several PD opportunities. School ended on June 8 and to put it mildly the logistics of leaving Malaysia were time-consuming and stressful. My past school was preparing to move to a unified campus and there was a stipend offered for people who would be willing to stay 3-5 days after school ended to supervise packers- sounded like easy money, but it played out differently. Turns out to get anything accomplished we teachers were packing for the most part while the packers were making boxes and taping them up after. It turned out to be hot and sweaty work, so the 5 days I planned on helping I cut back to 3. Couple that with many trips running all over town to get all kinds of last minute errands done (returning the modem to the right location after an attempt at another place is just one example) during the last days of Ramadan when the city is filled with tourists, empty of taxis, and devoid of many people who genuinely are so tired from fasting all month that they really do not have the energy to help you problem solve.

Just a few days before I was set to leave I got an email from the airline saying that I could upgrade the first part of my journey. My leaving school had paid for the flight, so, I rationalized, maybe I could spring for the upgrade, never having flown business class. The first flight was nearly 7 hours and left at 2AM, so the ad promising a flat bed for the trip was quite convincing.

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Not me, but priority boarding, yes, please!

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Also not me, but I looked at the upgraded menu on line…

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Okay, not me again, these are all from the convincing email from Emirates. 

After conferring with my friend, Ellen, I did it, I splurged! Another friend told me she had yet to ever regret upgrading on any of her flights, so that sold me. I then got so excited that I tried to upgrade on the second flight (14 hours), but no luck- those seats were already sold.

I have to admit the trip in business class felt very decadent! I can not believe that for many of my students this is the only way they do long haul travel.

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The side area of my seat- two different remotes for the huge TV (not pictured), so I did not have to stretch at all. 

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Literally more than a thousand entertainment choices. 

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My Bulgari toiletry bag!

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Yes, there was a bar on board!

The good news is that I ate well, slept some, and was ready for the second flight after a three-hour layover in Dubai. 14 hours was long, but I think the luxurious first flight had relaxed me enough to be calm when nobody was there right away to meet me at the Boston airport.

Now back to reality as an intrepid traveller, as tomorrow I will take my next flight of the summer, this time to Chicago via Spirit Airlines where I was shocked to see I would have to pay for a carry-on.

Last Days by the Numbers

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#sol18- June 12, 2018

The end of the school year is always the end of an era and even more so in schools where the population is transient (like international schools) and so many faces will be gone from year to year.

Today I was reflecting on the passage of time through some numbers:

  • 26– I said goodbye to my 26th class on Friday (I took off 7 years when my sons were young)
  • 12 and 29 the smallest and biggest classes I have had
  • 8– in August I will begin teaching at my 8th school
  • 9– next month I will move to my 9th country
  • 22– today I moved out of my 22nd home- yikes, with all that practice you’d think I would get better at it!

There’s a lot I miss by being so transient, but I know there is also so much I gain.  Today I am remembering all of the amazing colleagues I have taught with throughout the years. Leaving here after four years feel so short in some ways. Saying goodbye to friends here is sad.  Even while I am enjoying a string of “lasts” a tiny part of my brain is already whispering with excitement that soon enough I will be experiencing all kinds of  “firsts” yet to come.

The Things We Can’t Control

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#sol18- June 5, 2018

The last few weeks of school are always a cauldron of chaos in one way or another. This year the angst has been amped up by the fact that I am moving (to a new school and new country- Cambodia), our school is moving (from two campuses to one shared campus that is not quite finished yet, and 4 or more students from my class are moving.

A long time ago it sounded like a good idea to volunteer to supervise packers at the school for five days once school ended (good money and it did not sound too onerous). I booked my flight home accordingly, with two completely free days left to run around KL after my obligations and before my flight. But that was before my son got his summer internship in Chicago and I decided to combine visiting him with attending the Scholastic Reading Summit, which meant I would only have a few days to stop by my mom’s in Boston and ditch two suitcases. Still not too bad. This meant I had to pack out of my apartment and school before school ended (school ends this Friday and my stuff left Saturday- luckily the condo is furnished). That felt crazy at first, was crazy in the midst of it all, but now feels great that it is done. Turns out there are way more hoops to jump through to leave Malaysia than I would have guessed and although the light is shining at the end of the tunnel it still feels like there are miles to go.

Today I had to be out of my classroom for the whole day to work on some curriculum planning/writing (ugh, sub plans!), which meant that I could not use snatches of free time to take care of administrivia.

I may have sobbed a little after school on the phone today trying to get a big thing dealt with- as yet unsuccessfully. I did, however, easily get back the moving deposit I had to pay at my condo (in case the movers damaged anything while here). I also successfully changed my dentist appointment to one of my totally free days.

I rewarded myself by buying a frozen pizza for dinner. It was not until I popped it into the oven that I realized I would be eating it off an old cutting board, as I do not have any plates left in the house. Ah well.

Tomorrow we will make our summer writing notebooks, I have my last duty of the year, and we have our faculty farewell party. I am trying to keep my focus on the third graders and truthfully, if not for this I might be even more of a mess! Definitely lots of emotions swirling around.