I made a choice recently - a decision that I didn't think twice about - I mean I didn't decide to rob a bank, shoot herion, or hurt someone. We make choices about a million times a day, don't we? How quickly the tide can turn; and a simple choice changes the course of everything you've worked toward. Your life suddenly dissolves right in front of your eyes.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I made a choice recently - a decision that I didn't think twice about - I mean I didn't decide to rob a bank, shoot herion, or hurt someone. We make choices about a million times a day, don't we? How quickly the tide can turn; and a simple choice changes the course of everything you've worked toward. Your life suddenly dissolves right in front of your eyes.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
The challenge for me is how to make sure my students master basic number sense, at the same time keep up with the curriculum that has been mapped out by my school district. This is my mission for this school year...and if it kills both the students and me, we will find a way to be successful. Success...something this group has been be told since first grade they will not achieve...well, I'm here to change that.
This educator says she thinks it is best if she takes her special education students out of my general education classroom. That she can't teach them because she has to pay attention to the general education students, and it's too many students for her. Seriously? You're a teacher who can't teach more than 8 students at a time?
I smile and tell her I respect her decision, and ask about the VGLA portfolios (what LD students do instead of standardized testing). You will love this: she says we can still plan together and she will use all the lessons and VGLA assessments I create....but the LD students cannot be taught in my classroom. Will I agree and support this decision? Are you kidding me? She's either stupid or has balls the size of Bolivia for asking me to do her work for her.
I smile again...tell her I respect her decision and she can do what she wants, but I don't agree it is good for kids to be pulled out of a general ed classroom. Not smiling, I said she will have to plan her own lessons. Good luck on putting those VGLA binders together.
Here's the bottom line: this teacher doesn't like my teaching style. She doesn't like that I teach LD students the same way I teach all students - as individuals. She doesn't like that I have the same high expectations for ALL students - I don't care about labels. She doesn't like that I put student learning first, and changeable words from an IEP second. She doesn't like that I don't want to give 5th grade students 2nd grade worksheets. She completly hates that I base accommodation on student need and not a text book. Know what? I don't dig your teaching style either. Your low expectations and constant hand holding will cripple these students.
My agenda? I just want the kids to learn...and the conflict with this woman will end one way or the other...It is killing my teaching...students aren't getting my best...unacceptable.
I don't know how this will pan out...the only thing I do know is that I just have to, "Focus on what the students are good at, and go from there." This clueless teacher can be my opportunity.
These are times when I wish I was still friends with HIM. He's an administrator, he knows education and the lame games we play at elementary schools. Yes, I would love his insight here...what would he tell me as my friend, as administrator? Ha!...wouldn't he just love GIVING his opinion...Come on, he would...
Monday, October 12, 2009
Those who are in the know say these feelings are normal, especially for women. As we enter our mid forties women start thinking of all the things that, "should have been or might have been." Admittedly I am in that place.
I have thought a lot of what "might have been". You know what might have been had I stayed in California? What might have been had I waited for HIM to deal with his issues. What might have been had I just stayed in Spain this summer.
I've posted in the past the way I would like my life to proceed. I've posted my "plans" to get myself there. I've always been able to manifest the things that I want...to accomplish my goals, but lately it seems like I've been looking at my life from inside a glass wall where I am unable to make my dreams come true.
I am feeling stuck inside that glass. Stuck in a world where I am destined to live this boring, unfulfilled, unloved life. As I said last year at this time it was all clear. I felt like I was doing great things as a teacher. I lived a life where I socialized with people. I was loved - or at least believed I was loved by someone special.
Now I go through the motions of my life. I give my all to teaching...doing the best I can within the prameters of this new school. I have a couple friends. I don't think I can really speak about the love part - not today anyway. But like I said, I'm just watching...I'm not really participating.
I want to know this...where is my passion? Why can't I find it? I keep searching. Trying new things. Staying positive, being thankful for everything that the universe has given me...thinking joyful thoughts. Where is that passionate woman that I was? I got to know her in Spain...I miss her...where is she?
The logical side knows that these feelings are coming to the surface because my birthday just passed yesterday. The day come and not one of my "friends" here in Virginia even acknowledged it...not that this is a requirement for my friendship...but it just...I don't know...it just made me feel a little sad and really alone here.
My two best friends; who as I've said before do not live here in Virginia, tell me that I need to leave here...that I've out grown this place...who knows maybe they are right...the question is where to next....where am I going to find my passion?
Monday, October 5, 2009
I am frustrated to the point of anger. Anger directed at myself because I do not know what to do. It is like I am talking to a box of rocks with these kids....and this is only the beginning of October.
The special education teacher I am co-teaching with says that we have to force them to memorize the concepts. I bite my tongue when she says these things reminding myself that this is her first year and no matter how much book learning she has done, she really has no clue about teaching.
A group like this doesn't memorize to learn...they really have to LEARN the stuff or it just ain't gonna stick. On top of that there are ONLY low students in this group...so there is absolutely no peer tutoring, which in the past has helped the lower students I have worked with.
I sometimes wish I was like many teachers and just not give a shit about the students who are not getting what I am teaching...but I've tried that and it just isn't me....I do care...probably too much.
So here I am the beginning of October with a group of students who are not learning math. I have a co-teacher who doesn't bring a fucking thing to the table...she is too busy to come up with modifications that could possibly help the children learn, and she is entirely too busy to spend extra time teaching the students - like during their lunch time. So the modifications and accommodations are left to me...the extra time teaching is left to me...I know I sound resentful...sorry it is the mood I am in right now.
On top of that it is my birthday this weekend. I turn 45 and am not liking it. It isn't the getting older part. It is the feeling like things are not turning out the way I thought they would part. Work isn't what I thought it would be. My personal life is well...definitely not what I thought it would be. I keep thinking of my birthday last year...and that just makes me cry because I was truly happy then...and now...my life is not turning out the way I thought...
Sunday, September 27, 2009
As I posted last week, I met Larry at the wine festival. I didn't really know if I was attracted to Larry. I mean with some men I'm immediately drawn to them from the second we meet...this was not the case with Larry. But I haven't been on a date here in the United States since I quit seeing HIM and it is definitely time I make myself available out there in the universe.
Larry called me during the week, calling me by the wrong name...he used a nickname that I never use because I hate being called by that nickname. I let that go, and agreed to meet him at a restaurant near my house.
For a woman the whole ritual of getting ready for a date is something I've always enjoyed. Not to sound conceited, but I am a pretty cute girl...some would even say I am pretty. So as I put on make-up, did my hair, and chose a sexy, but not too sexy outfit, I was in a pretty good head space...Selfishly I've always gone through this ritual more for myself and how it makes me feel rather than worrying about what the guy will think.
I meet Larry in the restaurant bar. I look at him and I notice that his jeans have been hemmed to the ankle straight legged style and he is wearing flip-flops. OK...this is so superficial, but come on, it is Saturday night, we are at a nice restaurant, and this dude made the choice to show me the most unattractive part of a man's body - his hairy feet and toes. My gay husband would've left right then - I just didn't look down for the rest of the night.
Larry has already been drinking wine, explaining to me that he hasn't been out on a date in 14 years and is a little nervous - he's divorced. Not a big deal, right? However, I can tell he's been sitting there drinking for a while - a big turn off in my book.
I am pretty good at the first date talk. Sharing just enough so the other person gets to know me, but not revealing too much - no one wants to hear about baggage on a first date, right? Larry didn't get that memo. He proceeds to tell me that he is the youngest of 8 children, but that six of his siblings are now dead. I'm not sure if he's looking for sympathy, but then he tells me that his family name will die with him as he is unable to conceive children....so far entirely too much information on a first date!
By now Larry has had four glasses of wine to my 1 1/2. and we've only been sitting there for about an hour. Growing up with an alcoholic father, my brain is screaming, "danger, danger". On top of the drinking, each time Larry orders another drink he snaps his fingers at the bartender in order to get his attention - if I was Susie, the bartender, I would've spit in his wine.
As Larry continues to unload all his family secrets, I'm informed that he comes from a very old family dating back to the Mayflower, is related to Robert E. Lee, among other war heroes, and he grew up in a haunted house built in the 1700's. Oh and of course he has a lot of money. I have found that when people talk about themselves this much on a first date, very little of it is true.
Just when I think I have heard everything, Larry tells me that three of his dead siblings died from alcohol, and one from a drug overdose. He tells me that he comes from a long line of alcoholics, but he didn't get that gene because he doesn't have to drink....he's just ordered his sixth glass of wine. Oh....we haven't even ordered dinner yet! Starving, I ask Larry if we can eat...
After we eat - I had the sea bass, which was amazing - I begin to plan out my exit. I didn't know what time it was, but I was done listening to Larry unload every piece of dirty laundry that he's been keeping in the dark trenches of his mind. He also felt this was the time for us to make plans - like going on vacation together...I almost RAN right then. After what I think is an appropriate 10 minutes after they have cleared our plates, I tell Larry that it is time for me to go.
Larry walks me to my car, I thank him for dinner, give him a peck on the lips. He tells me that he is going back in for another glass of wine. He asks if I want to go out again. I smile and tell him to give me a call, leaving Larry standing in the rain in his ankel jeans and flip-flops....I will be screening my calls for the next week....sorry dude, but if you are looking to get laid anytime soon I would rethink how you approach a first date.
As for me...I'm ready for my next first date!
Friday, September 25, 2009
We are now into the first week of "real work". I'll put grades in my grade book this week and I'll start sending home student work in Tuesday Folders....this means I've been grading papers...the one job I avoid as a teacher.
My learning curve at this new school is in overdrive. I'm learning to hold my tongue. I think that is the key to all this....you know...live the life of smiling, nodding, and keeping my mouth shut. I think this is the safest place to be for an elementary school teacher.
In a way is excellent that the administration just stays away. When I think about it, everyone just stays away. There's no connection between anyone in that school not between the teachers on my team, nor with the teachers in special education or ESL. We all share students, but no one shares what they do in their classrooms....it is a little weird and creepy.
But like I said the administration just stays away, they just trust that we are doing the right thing in our classrooms....this could be a very good thing...however, I sorta wish they paid more attention. Because there is so much disconnect between teacher and specialist in that school. Plus the students are pulled so many different directions...I question if this is the "best practice" for teaching.
Many teachers talk of "best practice". While there are many different ways to define this, I find that for the students I teach "best practice" is for students to have as much uninterrupted instructional time in the general education classroom. While every teacher today has students who receive services through special education or ESL, I've found that having those specialists "push-in" the classroom is the best way. That is, I believe students should be completely included in the classroom.
This way of thinking is not the practice at my new school. Instructional time is constantly interrupted by various numbers of students going to band, strings, or chorus. The rule is that I am supposed to stop teaching when students are pulled for these classes. How does one do this and teach everything that is in the curriculum?
I fear that my students who receive special education and ESL services are losing out. Are they really learning how to read and comprehend? Are they really learning math concepts or being forced to memorize a bunch of rules that mean nothing to them?
Instead of complaining or fighting a battle I will surely lose, I'm rethinking my approach to teaching. I am desperately trying to find ways to integrate reading and problem solving in everything I do with my students...this would mean when I teach content subjects like social studies and science.
I am not saying that my "best practice" is the only way, and I'm not saying that the special education and ESL teachers are not doing their job. However, there is little communication and these teachers do not really seem interested in talking about how to combine our efforts. I understand this because for many teachers this "practice" takes more work and effort and a new way of thinking when it comes to educating children...again a battle I will not win...so I do what I can when I can, and not rock the boat or ruffle the sensitive feathers of my co-workers.
Maybe that is my lesson in all this....
Monday, September 21, 2009
So I didn't get the house that I mentioned in my last post. The bank took another offer. This is the sixth offer I've made on a house! What is the deal here? I made a really good offer, $17,000 over asking price, asked for $5,000 in closing...a good offer...even the LISTING agent said it looked like I had the best offer. But no...apparently they were just...joking.
The listing agent said it was because I was going to go for an FHA loan. First time home buyer thing, you know? She said the seller wasn't sure the property would qualify. My first question is why have five of the nine homes sold in the same condo complex been sold to first time home buyers through FHA??? Why didn't my real estate agent ask that right away?
The seller is a bank...so banks look at the bottom line, that is why I bid so much over the asking price. I thought that was the smart thing to do (I've learned somethings in placing six previous offers). I did exactly what they asked me to do, even rushing around Saturday night signing an extra form for the seller AND getting pre-qualified through their bank....then they turn around and say NO to me?
It just pisses me off this is just wrong. I've sent my agent on a mission to find out why? What is their deal? I hope I get to talk to the bank guy who said no. My agent is afraid to be confrontational...he just accepts things....I let him know tonight that I didn't like that...not sure I will have this guy as my agent much longer. He doesn't have to be a pushy asshole, but I want him to go in and ask questions, fight with a smile for me...without me telling him what to do.
Every other offer I've been like, "OK...universe you know best...you'll lead me to the right direction." This time I am truly pissed off. Not at the universe, but at the bank people, the listing agent, and my agent. None of them realize how personal buying a home is...especially when you plan to live there. To them it is just another name on a paper they've said, "no" to...the listing agent made a sale and the bank sold the property. My agent, well he has other clients, I guess. I think that is what pisses me off the most....these people are not seeing me as human...I'm just this faceless name on a paper in front of them....it's just wrong!! I think I deserve to be treated like a human being even in a business transaction.
As far as the universe goes...I know you are leading me in the right direction...things are peaceful right now..thank you for that...but can you give me a clue...what am I missing here?
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Yesterday was a perfect pre-fall day...75 degrees and sunny...I went with friends and we took a picnic and drank a lot of wine on the grass....just lovely.
A man named Larry hung out with us for a while, asking me for my email when we left. This morning I get an email asking if I want to go out next Saturday...OMG a date on a Saturday night!! I'm not sure I'm attracted to Larry, but a free dinner and conversation...it sure beats take out and Law and Order repeats...plus every woman likes to be seen as a woman now and then.
I received two lovely emails from people I had met in Spain. Ester, is teacher who lives in Madrid. I thought Ester was a really cool lady and I am glad she reached out to say hello. I asked her if she wanted our students to be pen-pals...Was that a lame thing to ask her? I mean, school is in session, people, and those 5th graders are supposed to be able to write letters.
The other email was from "J"...remember... I wrote about him when I came back from Spain. He just makes me smile...he has this amazing way of using the English language...it is not always correct, but it is quite beautiful. I bet he is a really great writer in Spanish....I wonder if he's heard of Gabriel Garcia Marquez ? I think I need a pen-pal, don't you?
Keep your fingers crossed that this time next week I will be "under contract" as we say in the real estate business. Just a little condo...but mine...and tax deductable.
I met Andres Friday night for a beer and some conversation. I gotta tell you it is hard to speak Spanish during happy hour. There was a lot of "Como? Como?", but I just rambled on in my rickety Spanish and Andres smiles, corrects me, making me repeat things over and over again to get the pronouncation just right...
It seems like I'm having a life....
Sunday, September 13, 2009
My approach to the way I teach has changed a bit...well how I structure things anyway. This was difficult for me...to fit what I think a good classroom is into this school's structure and schedule. Of course I fought it for a minute...then I took a step back and re-thought my approach...how would the new Gracie handle things? Once I relaxed into their schedule and went with the flow, ideas just started popping into my brains...I can be a kick ass teacher and make it all fit into their world...
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Right off, let me just say that there are many people who have been very nice, helpful, and have made me feel right at home. However, the learning curve one goes through when starting at a new school is like walking into an alien spaceship or a foreigh country. All of a sudden everything I have known about being a teacher is not understood by those around me. I is like I am speaking another language and have no dictionary to refer to.
Everything I mentioned about doing in my classroom was answered with a, "we don't do that here." or "I'm sorry, I don't know you as a teacher so I am not sure you can teach these students." Talk about getting slapped into insecurity zone from the get go.
Of course being me, I took everything VERY personal and cried most of the week. I HATED where I was at for the last 3 years, but in those moments I so wanted to be back there...at least they knew I do good things with my students...
Again, being me, with the emotion that was seeping out of my skin like sweat off of a fat guy, I shut down completely. This was exactly what I DIDN'T want to do...but there it was...me with a HUGE wall around me that the largest sledgehammer couldn't break through. I came off exactly as I was...unapproachable, emotional, and really unhappy about deciding to teach at this school.
I did rally back Thursday night and went in Friday with a happy face agreeing with whatever they said...outwardly agreeing anyway. I am hoping this attitude will last. I know frustration will rear its ugly head...then what?
Frustrated...that is the key word here. One example is that I am working with a BRAND NEW special ed teacher for math - in a co-teaching situation, which is great....I love co-teaching. So today this woman tells me she has doubts that this will work...that special educations students will not learn with general education students. She hasn't even met the students! How does she know what they can or cannot do? I smiled and said that I am going in with the attitude that we will be a successful team and produce successful students and am hopeing she can see things the same way...she said she would try...WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN? How can a person walk into a school with the attitude that students are not going to succeed?
You know, all I really want to do is teach and make students successful. I want to be shown a little respect and treated like I am a credible teacher. I want my own place to buy and to move. Iwant to make enough money so I can travel next summer for the entire 2 months. It is not a lot to ask. I am not even asking for some guy to be my boyfriend, or for HIM to like me again, or for people to hang out with...so why does it feel like I am constantly swimming upstream to fight a battle that I am not sure I am even going to win? These ARE attainable goals...aren't they?
Saturday, August 29, 2009
The Gracie of the last school year would fight, kick, and scream to get her point across...and her way. The Gracie of today is not sure what to do. Do I express my views hopefully finding words that will not give the perception that I am NOT, for lack of a better word....a bitch? Do I just keep my mouth shut? This is really bugging me...I am trying to do things differently...I'm just not sure how...I keep reminding myself to just surrender, the answers will come...
As for my something new... I have decided to improve my Spanish. So I will be more prepared when I go back to Spain next summer. I posted a request for a tandem language partner on Couch Surfing....and you know what? Someone answered....so I will follow up and hopefully find a friend to meet with once a week where we will speak English for a while then Spanish for a while...you know TANDEM...we both learn a language...kinda cool, huh? Even more cool is that by next summer I will be speaking great Spanish for my return trip....
Friday, August 21, 2009
Just surrender. That is what the voice in my head keeps telling me...just surrender, Gracie. Have faith that you will find the contentment and peace you are looking for. I am all for faith and for listening to that inner voice. So why am I having such a rough time coming to terms with this just surrender concept?
This started when I found a condo I wanted to buy. I put an offer in all seemed good. Then, I find out that there are all these obstacles: the seller wants to wait to approve, it is in short sale so I need to wait for the seller's bank to give an approval, my agent doesn't want to push the listing agent. All the while I'm thinking to myself, "Hey people, I made the decision to buy a place, this is part of the plan of my life...will you just make it WORK OUT for flips sake?"
So woman makes plans and God laughs. I've heard this a million times over...nice joke...thanks. Now what? That voice again, "Just surrender..." The old Gracie wants to fight kicking and screaming...the new Gracie knows this will only bring sadness and stress. But the old Gracie is screaming at me, "Only WIMPS surrender...you are no WIMP!"
I know that there is strength to be found in surrendering. I just cannot see it yet. I think that is what is troubling me most. I cannot see what is on the other side. I KNOW this is where the faith comes in...knowing that the other side will be wonderful. Can't I just get a peek? Come on what do you say?
All this is making me very closed off. I do not want to talk to anyone. I definitely do not want to go look at more houses with my real estate agent. Just the desperate look on his face and his voice telling me that condo X is a great place...it doesn't matter that you can get mugged as you're going home or that you have to go to the basement to share a community laundry room, it's perfect for you, Gracie...I just cannot do this anymore.
Buying or not buying my own place is just a catalyst or a crossroads or a fork in the road, maybe even a test. The important thing is how I handle this situation will determine how my new life will proceed. I do not know how I know this...I just know. I am not sure how to just surrender. I want to think it doesn't mean to just give up...because even the new Gracie is not a quitter.
I'm sitting here and I realize that I am totally and completely afraid to just let go and surrender. The thought of just going on faith at this time is terrifying me...So much so that I have stopped momentarily and that is even more scary...this is a problem...
I am a person of solutions...there's a problem I want to immediately find a solution and put it into action. Trouble is I cannot exactly find a solution...I know just surrender...but what does that mean? Once I figure that out I'll let you know....
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I have two weeks until I go back to work. I see this time as the calm before the storm. Please do not take this as a negative statement. This is truly a gift of time that allows me to continue taking charge of my life...putting into action the decisions I talked about in my last posting. However, as I am taking action my brain goes on overload with thoughts and ideas of what exactly I am accomplishing here..and the new life that I am about to begin...yes folks, I am about to begin a brand new life.
Monday, August 10, 2009
You are the only one who will make your life different.
Your personal growth and betterment is related to how much you want to lead in your own life. That is how much you will manifest. Today take charge in those areas where you have given your power over to others.
For me, TAKING CHARGE comes in stages. First, I figure out why this has started in the first place. I have this part covered: before going to Spain I was looking for a home to buy, psyched to start a new school, and in a place where I had let HIM go....A nice little safe package. I come back from Spain and I do not know if buying my own home is the right thing to do, I'm ambivalent about starting a new school, and HE has responded to my writing like a jealous, left out boyfriend, who supposedly wants to be my friend, which is not only confusing, but sort of pisses me off. I can hear the wife now, "Gracie, you've given your power away!" I KNOW this...that is what I'm trying to resolve here.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret is about a young girl as she enters that confusing time just before she gets her period. Confusing is putting it mildly; and yes, I even wondered if God was around during that time of my life. Everything changes for a young girl during this time...her body, her thoughts, her wants, her needs, and definitely her mood. Everything comes into question. I know, you're asking yourself, "Gracie, why are you bringing up puberty?" Well, my friends, what I'm going through now with this friggin' perimenopause is a lot like going through puberty.
Everything is changing. My body, my thoughts, my wants, my needs, my flipping mood. The only difference is that I'm no longer an innocent 12 year old. I have years of experience to add to this crazy mix. So...Are you there, God? It's me, Gracie...what the hell is going on here???
The books I've read about menopause say this is normal during the 5-7 years before the BIG M hits me in the face. Women question their choices in life during this time. You know, things like, Did I make the right choices? Is my life going where I want it to go? I MUST make DRASTIC changes NOW or I will just die. So God...It's me, Gracie...what's the flippin' deal here?? I'm feeling like a nut case.
God...there's an interesting subject during this time of my life. I have never been very religious, never went to church as a kid. However, I've always believed that there's something bigger than us out there. My Christain friends will cringe as I say this, but I'm not sure that "God" is just Jesus. I think God is whatever you perceive him/her to be. For some, God is the Buddah, Allah, Vishnu, or Mother Earth. I ask you, does it really matter how we perceive God? Isn't having faith the important thing? Is God listening to me as I go through this crazy time? I truly believe he/she does listen, at least I sure as hell hope so.
The question I propose is: does God answer us back? I have always talked to God...even as a kid...but my conversations are not really formal prayers...they are just conversations. I have always talked to God like he/she was just a person hanging out with me...again the Christians are freaking out...relax people...I mean no disrespect. I ask again...does God answer back? I think so...that is if we REALLY listen and pay attention.
Music has always played an important role in my life. Whatever, right? Many people like music, Gracie, you are getting off topic. Let me explain. For me music has always been the way God talked to me....you know, got the messages I needed to hear through my thick skull. You know that song by Bruce Springsteen, "Dancing In The Dark" from Born in the USA? That record (yes, I mean RECORD ALBUM) came out in 1984. That song spoke to me in such a way that at age 20 I packed my bags and moved by myself to Los Angeles with a dream of being in the music business. That song was God's way of telling me that all would be OK...that I would make my dreams come true...and you know what? All was OK...and I made many dreams come true during my 20 years in Los Angeles.
What is totally freaking me out is that same song, "Dancing In The Dark" keeps coming up. The radio, my IPod when it is on shuffle, in the mall, in elevators. I'm laying at the pool today and there's Bruce singing,
OK, God, it is me, Gracie...I get the "sitting around crying about a broken heart and worrying" stuff, and you are right....that gets me nowhere. But Bruce Springsteen is just one example. As I was laying there in the hot sun, songs just kept coming up, Semisonic's, "If I Run", Sarah McLachlan's "Surrender", David Gray's, "This Year's Love", Smashing Pumpkins' "Mayonnaise". I understand those songs may not mean squat to you people out there, but for me they have always had a certain significance. Take a listen, maybe you will get where I am coming from. Now God, that play list has over 400 songs on it and THOSE come up? What the freak? What are you trying to tell me??
Since I came back from Spain my brain has been spinning with so many thoughts and questions about what I'm doing here, how to finally fix "things" in my life, and the biggie, what do I really want for my "what's next"? See, I do ask that sometimes...I do not always live in the moment.
I do know that the answers to my questions or my "what's next" are not going to be found outside. This is all about me. It is not about moving to another place, whether I want HIM as a friend or not, making friends, or even a boyfriend. Those things will be the icing on the cake as I find my answers. I also know that the answers will be shown to me when the time is right. God, it's me, Gracie...have I got that part right at least?
I remember when I was 18 and I had my first real boyfriend. I could have wrangled my way into a marriage with this guy...really, I could have. Even though seeing me married off would have made my mother very happy, I just knew that there was so much more for me to experience. So much more for me to do, you know? I have had many, many experiences in my 44 years; yet I keep thinking there's so much more out there...Spain really showed me that.
I want my future mean something and not just be this empty vessel of cities I've visited or lived in, men I've fucked, jobs I've had, or people who have come and gone. I can hear the people in my life, "Gracie, you have accomplished so much. You've reinvented yourself a couple times over and have been successful, you teach children and impact their lives, blah blah blah." I know all this, but I am feeling that is not enough, you know? That there has GOT to be more for me...I do not mean to sound like an ego maniac or a narcissist, but I want, maybe even need my "what's next" to have a larger impact on the world than my experiences in the past have had. God, it's me, Gracie...are you getting my drift?
So here I sit faced with a new school year that starts in a month. Wondering what my "what's next" is. Do I stay in Virginia and buy my first home? Is it time to move on and reinvent myself again? Is going to Spain the answer or was that just the catalyst for what is going to happen in my future? I do know that I do not want to lose the woman I became while in Spain. I love her and think it would kill me if I allowed her to die as I get back into the grind of life.
I have well meaning people in my life who tell me to leave Virginia, that this is not the place for me. I have also been told, "If you go, I will follow you on the computer, keep in touch, etc." Before Spain these things would have influenced my decisions, but now...WHATEVER...my decisions are only about ME...that's the narcissist talking. The confusion I am going through is part of growing up and I just need to find some comfort in it all so it does not become too overwhelming and make me crazy. God, it's me, Gracie...I'm listening. You WILL give the answers when I need them, won't you?
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I do know what I need to do once I leave Fantasy Land on Sunday...I need to take care of business and take care of myself so my head is back in the game. Going to Spain put some perspective on how I can deal with the "things" that are haunting me here in Virginia...because once dealt with they will become a distant memory and I will be able to say whole heartedly, "Yo soy muy contenta!"
Sunday, July 26, 2009
While in Spain I discovered "falling in love" in a way I never had before. Of course I've been in love...if you've read my blog you know that I spent a year being in love with someone in a way that I had never experienced. My trip to Spain blew that love out of the water.
I decided before I went to Spain that I the most important thing I could do for myself was to be open to all that could possibly happen. So I opened myself up and I met many people. You've read about some of the people I met in previous postings so I won't bore you with a recap. But at the end of my trip something happened and that is what I want to write about today.
J is a bit older than me and has worked for the same company for over 20 years. He has a family and I could tell he loves them very much. In our conversation he told me he has a dream of buying a Harley Davidson motorcycle and going to live in Paris and that within the next 5-6 years he will begin to make that dream come true...in that moment I think I fell in love. Why? Because I think anyone with a dream like that could truly understand me and my constant wonder-lust.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I've been involved in this program called Vaughn Town where I spend a week with businessmen and women teaching them conversational English. Basically, I have numerous conversations with Spanish people. I must tell you this is one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences I've ever had.
The people I have met are quite simply...AWESOME! I cannot even begin to tell you how much these people have enriched my life.
Both sides, the Anglos and the Spaniards, have many different lives. Yet we all came together for a common purpose...to learn. As we talked we learned about each other. At night we put on small skits, dance, sing, and thoroughly entertain each other. O f course there were those of us who explored the Salamanca night life. I have danced like I haven't danced in over a year. My two favorite dance partners are my Spanish sister, Laura and a lovely man named, Joan.
As a teacher I was thrilled and intrigued on how these adults went about learning English. Some were very concerned with grammar while others just wanted to know that they could speak and be understood. I completely understand all this because I had just spent the three previous weeks wandering around Spain where I was desperately trying to learn the language.
During this week I've learned a lot about communication. First, a person doesn't really need perfect grammar to communicate. Second, it is imperative that a people listen closely to each other...this goes for people even when they are speaking the same language. Finally, communication is more than talking. It is facial expressions, tone of voice, and use of body language. These are all things I've known as I've taught many students who don't speak English...the difference is this is the first time I have really been on both ends of the learning to communicate part.
Like I said before the Spaniards I met have totally enriched my life. I cannot begin to express how blessed I feel by meeting them. Of all the Anglos, I was one that was a bit different...the reoccurring theme of me not "fitting". But you know what? These people just accepted that I didn't fit and loved me for it.
Just like the feeling I had in the mountains...I can go back to Virginia and be at peace with "not fitting". I like that I don't fit, and I know that I will continue to bring people into my life who appreciate me simply for who I am.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Leon was a pretty cool...the best wine I've had yet. Yet there's a certain depression that I felt there. Like people are just going through the motions of life. I was in Leon with a friend and we spent a very drunken night eating various tapas at many bars. What was VERY cool was that whenever you order a glass of wine they give you a tapas for free...on my budget this fits in quite nicely. I ran the next morning along the river...I was REALLY HUNGOVER so in order to not throw up I did like the people of Leon...I just went through the motions. Definitely not one of mybetter running experiences.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Hannah is from Finland and came to Spain to attend culinary school. She's a chef but working at Ca'Melan as a bartender. She told me that she came to Spain and didn't know the language at all and was forced to learn very quickly in order to get through school. I greatly admire this as it takes a huge amount of courage to go to school not knowing the language...talk about putting oneself into a challenging situation. I hope to visit the resturant that I know Hannah will own someday.
It was a bit rainy today, quite different from the last four days of sunshine...I didn't really mind. I decided to go into another village called Covadonga which is about 12 km away...that's about 7.2 miles for my American friends. The bus ride took me up into the mountains even further than I already was.
How long this peace will last I'm not sure, but in that moment I told myself that I needed to remember this always...especially when I get back to Virginia.