Quarantine day 8

I’ve been here* a week. A week! In any vacation I’ve taken this would be about the time I start to reach a halfway point, when the vacation days get shorter and I start to get wistful leaving this new place full of all the things I haven’t seen yet and going home. I’m not going home. For all the whinging I’ve done about my doubts, my career, my life’s path, right now I am standing on this precipice and I finally am turning my head forward to look out. I may grow a new, second home here, and the next place. Pieces of my heart growing all over the world.

*Here: A hotel room with a big window, so, my observations are obviously quite limited. But here’s some anyway. In a list. I love lists so much, it’s worth mentioning. As an external processor, nothing gives me more pleasure than laying everything out neatly in front of me, so I can finally see what was inside me.

  1. Food + Chinese culture: one observation. Cuisine in China is very hands-on. It’s not the easy-to-eat cuisine of America. You are given problems to solve with your meal. Shells to peel off eggs, shrimp. Bones to pick around in various sizes, some small enough to crack a tooth or choke on. You are forced to eat slower, more mindfully. Chopsticks only pick up so much rice, especially if its soupy morning congee. You can’t eat this type of food in one hand driving a car. You have to attend. You have to engage. You have to put in some effort.
  2. I feel and function better when I alternate activities of the mind with activities of the body. Of course my body and mind are always both working together, but some activities are more mentally or physically dominant, and I feel better if I go back and forth between these. Notably, I don’t always feel better in the moment, but I feel better overall. This is a principle I want to do with my students. Little kids can’t sit still all day (and neither should we), and remembering to do a physical activity after making their brains work will help everyone.
  3. The effects of changes are not felt instantaneously. I need this reminder on the daily. I struggled with headache and fatigue for several days because I was drinking caffeine, something I am not used to. I stopped, and the next day I felt better. I struggle in a Mandarin lesson, despair, get frustrated, think I’ll never get it, and days later when I come back to it somehow it feels much easier. Synthesis takes time. Maybe I should remember this with my students as well. I suspect a lot of our learning and growth will be bidirectional.
  4. I’m going to take a stand right here and outwardly reject the notion of success vs. failure. What kind of restricted self-sabotaging concept is this and why are so many people burdened by it? Mistakes are quite literally how we learn. I want to encourage myself and my students to try, to do their best, and I will meet them at their level. Trying is what counts, and effort is what will bring results eventually. How can you fail? By who’s standards? Who are you in servitude to? Who do you owe the measures of your life? Hint: it’s you.
  5. Speaking of meeting them at their level, maybe I should meet myself at my level. I’ve been pushing through knee pain in my post-surgical rehab for months, and have recently been diagnosed with synovitis (an inflammation of the joint capsule). Had I met myself at my level of functioning rather than trying to push past it, I might be further along in my recovery. Learning, slowly, to listen to my body and meet her where she’s at.

Short one today ❤



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