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Sunday, April 24, 2016

lessons learned from the back of a scooter

Life has been crazy busy lately. We just finished up third quarter and are moving into the last 10 weeks of this school year, which makes me happy and a little sad because I adore my current batch of students. The end of the quarter means we just had midterm exams, and I had 120 of them to grade (and I was the idiot who didn't make them multiple choice). 

On top of that, I am going to be the mentor teacher to a student teacher starting tomorrow, which is a circumstance that will last for the next five weeks. I am excited and nervous at the same time. I have never mentored a student teacher before; my personality means that I am petrified about this and eager about it all at the same time, which is actually a pretty exhausting state to be in, so I can't wait to just dive in tomorrow so I can stop anticipating it. 

Even more, I had a house full of chores that could not be put off any longer. I am talking a cockroach in the sink (which was a shock to me, otherwise I obviously would have done the dishes sooner), a 3-foot tall pile of laundry to tackle, and, even worse than the cockroach, we have been using napkins from takeout as toilet paper for a few days. 

Suffice it to say, on Friday morning, I was not exactly looking forward to the busy weekend ahead. 

But then, on Friday afternoon, right before I left work to go home and grade, a friend mentioned scooting to Sheipa National Park on Saturday. We had talked about it in passing earlier last week before I realized just how slammed I was going to be with work and life. I left work telling her I would let her know that night if I wanted to go, fully anticipating the answer would be: sorry, I can't.

Husband and I went home from school and ended up having some serious and unfun conversations about work. Feeling like we needed a pick-me-up, we went out on a date to one of our favorite restaurants in Hsinchu. I came home at 8pm and realized that I didn't get anything I had planned to do upon returning home from work done, mainly the manic grading of a stack of exams. 

Instead, I had fun with my husband and felt good. 
Before I knew it, I sent my friend a message saying: let's do it.
It was complete impulse and something that I just felt I had to do. 

So I woke up early Saturday morning and had quite the adventure in the mountains. The long drive was so much better than last time because there were no rainstorms, mud slides or heavy fog impeding our journey (and this time I didn't even want to cry once). However, I did almost run out of gas in the middle of nowhere and my scooter did backfire quite a few times over the course of the five hour scoot. We hiked, took a lot of pictures, talked a lot and had a wonderful time. 

I returned home Saturday night feeling awesome and hunkered down to work.

And I finished after 6 or so hours of intense concentration. 
Just like that.

What would have taken me days to do took hours because I had the focus and the will power to finish. And I realized it had everything to do with putting off work for long enough to date my husband and enjoy my friend and the mountains. 

So much of the time when we say I can't!I'm busy! what we really mean is I don't want to because I have too much other bad stuff to do.

But making a crazy busy weekend even more crazy busy by finding time to treat myself to joy and friendship made life so much better, crazy busy work weekend and all. I also somehow found time to buy adorable succulents and get a fresh fruit smoothie and grab lunch with my husband too. Now, we are about to hunker down and watch a movie. 

The funniest part? 

I am convinced that if I had decided to have a different kind of weekend-- the one in which I was planning to have inclusive of staying in my PJs and "working" the entire time-- I still wouldn't be done with grading 120 exams, annotating assignments for my student teacher, making Prezis for class, doing the laundry, dishes, and grocery shopping, Skyping family & friends, and I'd be a total grump. But instead, I am done with everything and then some and feeling awesome about the good times I had this weekend. 

So this is the lesson I learned from the back of my scooter: 
don't kid yourself-- you are rarely so busy that you have no time for some fun!  

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