The Things I Overlooked.

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I’m relearning, and it is happening slowly, but it is happening.  The hours spent writing and revising are now free and finding their way to the people around me.  I didn’t realize how much I was missing when my nose was stuck in my laptop.  I mean, I did.  It is no fun watching people play and feeling like the one sitting on the fence at recess, but you get what I’m saying.

Surprisingly, my camera has surfaced very little in the past few weeks.  With all of this time on my hands, I’ve been practicing harmonica and reading and staying up past my bedtime for late night discussions.  (A side note about the harmonica: you should know before you begin playing that with all of the inhaling and exhaling that you’ll get unbelievably lightheaded and maybe pass out.  I haven’t exactly figured out how to get around this, and I’m generally terrible at this instrument, but time is my friend, right?)

I took the photos above in San Andreas Xecul, a little city not too far from Xela a couple months ago.  We spent an afternoon walking the streets, chatting with little kids who squealed at having their photos taken and demanded to see them immediately after.  The spontaneous giggles and snorts that the kids couldn’t hold in reminded me that there are things I’ve missed in the last year.  Oh, the things I overlooked while being so singly focused on school.  It is embarrassing to admit, and I hate to imagine all the times I kept walking or internally sighed when a child wanted my attention- or a friend.  I never ignored anyone intentionally, but I wonder, who did I not see?  Where was I blind?  What opportunities to love did I miss?  It feels like a failing of sorts, not being present enough to embrace those around me.  There’s nothing to be done, except move forward with resolution.

And so, I begin again- committed to seeing and searching and loving.

Priorities

This week made me feel like I was running on a hamster wheel, willing my feet to fly, but getting nowhere.  The accreditation process has been a marathon, a valuable one at that, but time consuming doesn't even begin to describe the odyssey it has become.  Belly-aching aside, I appreciate the commitment to academic rigor and the changes that are surfacing that will ultimately better our students and community.

Today was busy with discipline and revising documents for our internal review, meeting with student council about spirit week, and taking one last look over the literacy week schedule to make sure we're ready for all things reading and Dr. Seuss on Monday.  The icing on the cake was a surprise meeting with the local Rotarians about our microfinance non-profit, making the entire day  feel cramped and rushed.  Yesterday, the little girls in third grade came into my office, proudly carrying a large water can.  They planted little trees for science, and are faithfully maintaining them.  Last week, I trekked out with them to check progress, and though it is dry season, their trees are faring well.  Back to yesterday, I told them to be sure and let me know when they plan on watering, and I'd go with them, as it is at the far end of campus, too far for the recess supervisor to see.  Wouldn't you know that they chose today, ten minutes before I needed to leave for my meeting.

Impulsively, I wanted to tell them that they could wait, that what I was working on was more important than what are essentially twigs, strapped to sticks so they don't fall over.  Thankfully, my brain and my mouth didn't connect, and what came out was, "Perfect.  I need a break, let's go."  We talked about the surprising things they've learned, like the fact that trees need nutrients, and that cow poop makes all the difference.  One of the little girls ran off and started rolling down the slope, shortly after covered in dry grass and dust, and I was reminded that she was me, not long ago. 

I made it to my meeting, and we spoke of more pressing issues than trees.  We talked data and evaluation and bureaucracy, and while it was important, I wished I had stayed to goofing around with my kids.  Balance has been tough to come by lately.  Documents and artifacts are important to this school improvement process and so are schedules and curriculum mapping, but they drag us away from the kids that inspire us to come back every morning.  My priorities weren't on track this week, so I'm writing this and confessing, with the intention that next week will be different, and that you'll check in with me to make sure my head is on straight, and that I'm covered in dry grass, playing.

Checking in.

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Long time, no see.  Bronchitis hijacked my lungs for a couple weeks, and that set me back.  My doctorate is also time consuming, though not enough lately, and I need to get back on my game.  Work has been great, but stressful, and busy.  We are going through the accreditation process which is about as exciting and tedious as it sounds.  However, the silver lining is that we are finally going to be updating our website, and I get to take the photos.  It has been refreshing to bring a hobby into the 9-5 (or in my case 7-4), and take pictures of my goofballs learning and playing.  What a welcome relief from the hectic.

I'll be back in no time, and by that, I mean Friday.