Skip to main content

New Year Adventures

I spent several days with my family in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador. I live in Quito with my husband and 11-year-old son. My two oldest daughters live and work in the U.S. Christmas is one of the few times we see each other during the year though we always look for ways to get together more often.

As I was writing this, it was raining. I wondered where the monkeys were hiding, especially the big fat one and the smaller ones we had been watching swing from tree branch to tree branch. My daughters took pictures and videos of them. They were really amazing and we never tired of watching them play and eat the bananas that the resort owners gave them as a treat.

There were also lots of insects. The annoying kind and the fascinating kind. They were all amazing and we were mesmerized by the strength of the ants as they carried tiny leaves and other debris to their queen.

On New Year's Day we went to the Cavernas de Jumandi. I am not an extreme sport person and I'm not enamored of camping in the great outdoors. I respect and admire nature, but from a distance. However, this is my year for being ambitious - succeeding at whatever goals I set for myself. And one of my goals is to conquer my fears or at least to confront them. So, although I was wary of spending an hour underground in caves used by the indigenous tribes of the area to hide from the conquering Spanish armies, I faced this fear and plunged ahead. Wow! What a truly amazing experience.

We swam through a small laguna, squeezed through cave walls and crawled through even narrower passageways. Our guide was constantly warning us to watch our heads, our backs and our shoulders. We had head lamps to help illuminate our way and to make sure that we didn't unknowingly step into a water hole, which I did once. The water was crystal cold and refreshing. On our way out we had to climb up a stair of uneven rocks and I did it! What made things much easier for all of us was that the rocks were never slippery so we felt relatively secure as we clambered around the cave. It bares pointing out that our young guide was barefoot.

On New Year's Eve we ventured into the town of Archidona to join the traditional festivities of the quema del año viejo (burning of an effigy representing the old year) and some dancing. The band sang songs in Spanish and Quichua, one of the indigenous languages of the region.

On our trip back to Quito all I could think about was that in two sleeps I would be heading back to school. Although I had done a lot of professional reading and writing, I had not done any planning. That would happen in bits and pieces over the weekend. Instead of worrying, I decided to enjoy my family and relax.

Here's to a wonderful New Year replete with ambitious projects and experiences to conquer our fears.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Teacher I Want to Be

The
I have been dismayed to realize that despite my self-image as a teacher with a learner centered classroom, I am far from truly achieving that goal. 

I have been listening carefully to myself lately, and I don't like what I hear myself saying to the kids. Instead of empowering my students to take ownership of their learning, I am still the director on the stage. I still ask leading questions rather than ones that push the learner to figure things out for herself. I realize I often spoon feed my students hopeful that they will give me the answer I'm looking for. An answer that will make my job easier. Answers that will fit with what I expect students to say despite the fact that 30 years in education has taught me nothing if not that students are unpredictable, and if we prepare for anything, that is what we should be prepared for. 
Teacher
An anecdote. The other day I was talking with a student about the fact that she was abandoning more books than she was finishing. I was as…

Searching for Balance

I have been doing a lot of soul searching over the last couple of days. 
And, I've come to the conclusion that I must change my attitude - shift my stance - so I can assume a new perspective. So that I am more aligned with what's important and may add value to my life.  
Focusing on the negative is not making me stronger or healthier. In fact, I am often stressed because I worry a lot about unimportant things. I obsess over situations out of my control. I dismiss positive experiences that would help lift my spirits and align my focus towards what's important. 
I need a distraction from my own thoughts.
I need balance in my life. Not because I work hard to prepare my classes. Not because I read a lot of professional literature. Not because I wrote a lot this summer and will continue to do so now that school has started. But because I have been obsessing on the wrong things. Mostly, I obsess about what someone said or did and what it says about me as a teacher. I obsess about …

Sitting in My Usual Spot

I am sitting in my usual spot.
At least it has been my usual spot for about a week now.
It has become my work space.
It's where I sit to participate in online summer PD activities.
It's where I read.
It's where I write.

My usual spot is in a corner of the couch.
The arm rest is unusually wide.
I can pile my books, notebooks and even my laptop there.
And, I do.

I used to have a more conventional work space,
but then my husband, who works from home,
and was struggling to stick to his side of the desk,
finally spread out,
invading my work space.

One day, after many attempts at getting organized,
and not succeeding,
he told me that he was going to add an extension to our house,
so I could have my own work space.
I told him it was cheaper to tidy up.
That was months ago.

Before claiming my usual spot,
I set up a temporary, wobbly table against a wall in my bedroom
for a work space.
I used that for a few months.
Not ideal, but better than nothing.

I've reclaimed my conventio…