Last year at about this time, I was on an airplane leaving Marseille. I remember leaning my head against the window and saying to myself, in a voice so loud I'm sure even those outside my head could hear, "I am never going to make it." We had three weeks til Christmas break, and I felt like my bones were going to splinter under all the pressure.
I can't believe it's been almost a year since that plane ride. That we're almost to another Christmas break. We have only two full school weeks, three half weeks, and twenty-five research papers to go. There's been such a distinct ebb and flow to the semester: first, the month-long euphoria of smaller classes and a year's experience. Then, the drain of October, of assignments collecting dust in the grading bin. The November peak, the holidays ahead, the nestling in of the classroom, the routine. Now it's a steam train plowing toward 2013, to Lord of the Flies and Anne Frank. And my head is in such a mess of it.
I wish I'd kept better track, even if it meant writing down one-sentence summaries of the days:
Biked to Alcala and ate potentially rancid hummus on the sidewalk outside the Asia Store.
Got a visit from a friend and introduced her to one of the most integral parts of Madrid: Hello Kitty.
Scary man on the street yelled at Sarah in Spanish: "You are a big problem for my friend!"
Alas, I've been asleep for the past year and a half. How painful to realize that, potentially, the biggest legacy I'll leave for future generations is a string of semi-coherent facebook statuses.
Sometimes it feels like there's nothing to say, only because there's too much to say. The days blend together into a mess of weeks, and I'll flip back through my lesson planner, trying to figure out how on earth we got from there to here when it seems like we just started! I wish I'd written more! I wish I'd captured every minute of it! The end of November makes eighteen months in Spain, leaving just six more. Six! A fraction of a second. And the life I was so sure would crush me last December has become the most normal and--dare I say it?--enjoyable thing.
My kids keep asking why I'm leaving and what I'll do next year, and I don't know what to say to any of them, but I wish I could pack them into suitcases to carry with me. Don't grow up, I'd tell that. Nah, that's bad advice. Grow up wise, but always keep your childlike hearts. I get nervous for their futures on their behalf, maybe more nervous than I get about mine.
These days, it gets dark so early. I'm ready to hibernate by 9:00. The most important man in my life is Michael Scott. I am not as tired as I used to be. I want to hold on to every minute.