The resounding song in my universe since returning from nine months of travel has been entitled: “Appreciation!”
There is nothing like being away from something for a time to make you re-see it in its original glory.
That said, life isn’t always a happy-shmappy song. Right now, for instance, I’m in a nutty mood. My daily 5:30am alarm this morning was not enough to force me out of bed fast enough to catch the Orange Line train I wanted, so I missed the 6:30am bus connection at Ruggles station, so by the time at I arrived at the weekly faculty co-op breakfast (how nice is it that we have that?!) I had only 2 minutes to stuff banana bread and coffee into my face… not a moment too soon because without my usual addiction-feeding coffee at 5:55am, the caffeine withdrawal headache looms!
Then the piercing Homeroom bell shrieked, and I sprinted (or rather, shoved my way, as through a clotted artery) down the student-choked halls to enter the pitch dark classroom (the sun hadn’t quite risen) in which fourteen students were already sitting, waiting for me to turn on the light, because only a trained teacher can turn it on, given that the light fixtures are from roughly the year 1830 and are activated by (I kid you not) sticking a paper clip into a metal socket in the wall until you flip an internal wire.
Pant, pant, pant. Whine, whine, whine.
And yet… this life is EXACTLY what I want right now.
In my career as a Boston teacher, I have seen major craziness (FAR crazier than sticking a paper clip in a wall socket each morning), but I have ALWAYS felt fulfilled, and felt that the work was worthwhile. Now, having been away from BPS for a year, I appreciate it so much more! (This rejuvenation in the classroom is a major reason I started TeachingTraveling.com: to urge and assist more teachers to take time to travel!)
The list of things I re-appreciate after a year abroad stretches on further than my long and gangly legs. On an extremely practical level, I now worship my Medical Benefits and steady paycheck. What a difference that foundation makes!
But what I’m currently particularly excited about after a year’s hiatus are the SEASONS. If you note my exact Around the World itinerary (Southeast Asia -> West Africa -> Iberia), you’ll realize: I have not seen winter in 2 years! As for visuals, in wonderful Thailand (a Buddhist country), there were smatterings of Christmas decorations, but not many, and there was certainly no Hanukkah decor. There were also no rainbow-colored leaves in autumn, and no graceful, bare trees in December. There were oceans of wonderful things, but there was no family gathering, nor staff holiday party!
So stroll with me around Boston with these photos, friends (whoops– I almost write “fiends,” which you certainly are not!), and feel that glow with me!
As splendiferous as palm trees and crystalline beaches are, there is nothing in the tropical world like the emotion of holiday lights on naked trees, glittering through wintery air.
What about you? What are you appreciating lately, and why?
The author, Lillie Marshall, is National Board Certified Teacher, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a full-time public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have visited this site over the decade. Lillie also runs Teaching Traveling Global Education Community and Drawings Of… Educational Cartoon Site. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow on social media with the links below!