It hit me as I was proctoring Study Hall this past Friday, gazing at the sea of sweet Boston students clad as: Lady Gaga, a bumble bee, a red M&M, and a giant Teletubby.
I suddenly realized I had absolutely no memory of what I did for Halloween, 2009.
I racked my brain. My Vietnam visa ran out at the end of October, 2009, so I was likely in Laos on October 31. But did I dress up?
I clearly remembered that on Halloween of 2007, I dressed as my beloved Amy Winehouse. (The resemblance is uncanny, minus the pesky drug habit and anorexia.)
I also clearly remembered going to work dressed as Amy Winehouse (again) for Halloween 2008… and having a student’s parent show up for an impromptu conference.
“Er, sorry,” I said to the parent in my best Spanish, “My hair is two feet tall and my eyes are ringed in black because I am dressed as Amy Winehouse. Now let’s talk about your son.” Awkward!
So what the heck WAS I doing on Halloween of 2009? Luckily, this question is very easily answered when one has a blog!
First I used the search box in the upper right-hand corner to seek “Halloween.” No matches. Hmm… strange!
Next, I scrolled to the Archive list at the bottom of the right sidebar. I clicked “October 2009,” and sought the matches for October 31. Cha-ching! The answer was evident: Because I was outside of America, I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT HALLOWEEN in 2009!
Rather than dressing up, or even being the slightest bit aware that Halloween existed at all, I spent October 31, 2009 in the country of Laos, writing not one, not two, but THREE articles! Check out the random assortment:
October 31, 2009, Article 1: An explanation of a reason it’s SO EASY to travel through Southeast Asia.
October 31, 2009, Article 2: Eating like a beast through the food paradise of Laos’s capital, Vientiane (including a photo of deep-fried bugs!).
October 31, 2009, Article 3: (One of my favorite articles ever.) Sightseeing by stalking a pack of orange-robed monks through Vientiane, Laos.
The lesson is clear: When you travel for an extended time outside of your home country, your entire understanding and experience of holidays you’ve taken for granted your entire life becomes warped. It’s a really good thing! Yay for perspective and mixing things up!
So what did I do this year for Halloween, 2010? Well, given that I have 150 students and just collected one essay test and one final term paper, it seemed inadvisable to rock it out too hardcore with a pile of 300 items to grade reminding me that Term 1 grades are due this week. And thus, a teacher friend and I took a brief break to walk around downtown and crack up at the hilarious costumes afoot before turning in early.
There were fewer Laotian monks in my life this year than last year, and less Amy Winehouse than in 2008 and 2007, but I felt content and happy.
It’s exciting and good that every year is different!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!