Sunday, June 26, 2011


Sometimes it's fun to imagine possibilities. And I love my life right now. I just like to imagine for the future...

I think it would be great to:
get up every day and do yoga
become an urban farmer
have dreadlocks or really short hair
live in community
(am i a hippie?)
make sweet works of art
have perpetually dirty nails from working on my urban farm
have a horse or two and chickens
only eat food from my urban farm
live in a house with no TV or computer
go to sleep and wake up with the sun
carry my future children around in those straps of cloth that you use to wrap them to your body
speak english and spanish every day

that was fun. you should try it!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

full hands

I've started a new job. Actually, it's kind of like I've started three new jobs. Let me discuss.

1. I am now an ESL instructor. I don't think I can describe how much I like this. I feel like all of my years of learning Spanish are combining with every single job I've ever had (except for maybe doing the football team's laundry) to make a really great fusion of classroom time. My students are Chinese, Taiwanese, and Saudi. I am writing syllabus and finding homework. I am making lesson plans. I had to make lesson plans in Spain and it was so terrifiying. I had no idea what I was doing. But I've been in schools for two years now. And suddenly, I just know how to do it.

I'm a little scared that I am not doing good enough. I'm scared of being too easy and I'm scared of being too hard. But I'm learning (over and over) that it's about trying it out and making mistakes and learning how to be a teacher. Each day is dynamic and I'm learning when to yield and when to push.

The top question on my mind is this: What does it look like to have a classroom of students who come from a variety of academic backgrounds? I'm trying to assume nothing. I know that some of them come from a culture where children go to "cram school" on the weekend and some come from a country where women and men are never allowed together - and the women's classes consist of a male teacher lecturing on a TV screen.

I want my classes to inspire creativity and imagination; but learning another language is sometimes necessarily repetition and drilling. It's like with playing an instrument: you can't compose music if you haven't learned to play the notes. So I guess for now, I'll keep explaining why we do each drill, even if it's obvious.

This is probably the most highly motivated, responsible group of students I've ever had. (Not hard when you compare them to Spanish teenagers and low-level 1st graders - both of whom I LOVED working with)

I just think I'm going to have to keep being flexible and amping the level. One part of me wanted to be consistent, but if my students are going to keep being awesome, I'm going to have to keep bringing my "A" game.

So that's one job. The main one.

#2. I'm tutoring some fantastic kiddos also, but don't get paid for that.
#3. I'm interpreting in some hospitals. Which is amazing, except that every time I do it, my heart is filled with terror of messing up. Oo. Messing up is a great idiom. I should teach it to my students. Hmm...

In conclusion, if it seems like I've fallen off the map, it's because I sort of have. But I'm pretty happy down here, if only a little tired.

Friday, June 3, 2011

how to make lap swimming more interesting

  1. Pick a pool that is filled with playing children. Then don't get mad - obstacle course!

  2. Think about how you are outside. Swimming in a pool. NOT doing a workout video.

  3. Think about how you are NOT on the computer or watching TV.

  4. Do a no arms lap.

  5. Do a no legs lap (significantly harder).

  6. Speak to yourself in a foreign language. Probs not out loud.

  7. Don't count your laps. Boring! Then you have to think of numbers the whole time. You're getting exercise, don't worry about it.

  8. Pretend you are a dolphin. (very fun when combined with #1 or #4)

  9. Compose blog posts about how to make lap swimming more interesting in your head.

  10. Watch the small children (from #1) do hilarious things underwater.

  11. Reflect on your day.

  12. Do a blind lap. No goggles. No peeking underwater.

  13. Go back and forth between two lanes. Or more. (This may happen unintentionally while doing #12)

  14. See if you can laugh underwater.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

beyutifle* things

"Above all, remember that the meaning of life is to live it as if it were a work of art. You're not a machine. When you're young, start working on this great work of art called your own existence."
-Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

I like this quote.

I also like this picture.

*This is a first grade spelling of beautiful. I think it's quite lovely.