Last fall I decided to move from my home in Washington State back to Big Flats, New York, on my beloved Allegheny Plateau. I had been missing home for many recent years, and the thought that I could perhaps live more cheaply and not have to work for my mortgage was very appealing. Plus, Dad had been gone for 8 months already and my step-mom was living alone. She still is; her health seems to be stable. So, I made the decision...and it was tough.
As I look back, I had really been making this decision for the last 5 years. When I finally said it out loud to a colleague last June, I felt like I had given birth. A burden was lifted. I admitted to myself in real words with real intent that I wanted to go back home.
And so I struggled.
I had accepted a position as a chemistry teacher at our brand new district high school... a job for which I was trained but had never actually done. I worked in an alternative program for 16 years and wanted to try something new. I was terrified. The staff, school culture and diversity got me through the year. It was a good, hard year.
And now the burden is lifted. I go to clean my classroom out tomorrow and say goodbye to my newest dear friends. I cried last week when my students left. Some of them cried, too. When my supervising administrator asked me what I was proudest of this year, I replied, "I tell the kids every day that I love them....and some days they tell me they love me back."
An adventure in love is what this year really was. Loving my content, loving my students, but most of all loving myself, and allowing myself the bravery to change.
So, here's to a good, hard summer...of packing and cleaning the house, accepting a good offer on it, signing the sale papers and road tripping back to New York! With two cats, no less! (And hopefully a friend and her dog.) Should be a marvelous event in history!