Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Struggles

Summer used to be my favorite season and it is still a very close second.   When I was growing up I loved going to the pool and watching movies with friends.  I liked being able to hang out with friends and go on vacations.  A few years ago I realized that my favorite season now is probably fall.  I love the colors and the cooler temps.  I love watching football and going to games and the excitement of a new school year.

I was wondering how I would feel about each of the seasons we would experience in Stockholm so here is a brief rundown since we've officially been here for all four seasons.

I really enjoyed fall.  It was exciting since we had just moved and we were experiencing so many new things.  I didn't have time to be sad about missing friends and family because we had so much to do.  The weather was great.  It was cool but apparently a pretty mild fall for Stockholm which was great.

Winter in Stockholm this year was one of the mildest ones in the last 50 years.  It snowed just a few times but it wasn't anything like I thought it would be.  Olathe seemed to get more snow than Stockholm and they had the whole "Polar Vortex" thing this year as well so our winter here was mild even compared to back home.  The hardest part about winter was the darkness.  When the sun rises at 8:45 am and sets at 2:30 pm it makes for a long, dark day.  It is dark when you get to work and dark on your way home.  It was nice to come home and light some candles and snuggle up on the couch without feeling like you were missing something because everyone stays inside in the winter.

Spring meant SUNSHINE!  I remember when it was still light out at 4:00 pm and how that was such a big deal.  Spring was great because it meant we could start traveling again since the weather was nicer.  The trees around our apartment greened up and are full of life again.  I love looking out our windows and feeling like we live in a tree house.
Spring also meant lots of walks down by the water.

Summer was much anticipated.  We were in Stockholm for 10 days last June but by the time we moved here at the end of August summer was pretty much over.  We were excited to finally enjoy the warm weather and long days full of sunshine.  School didn't get out for me until June 13th so summer started about 3 weeks later than it would have in Olathe but since everyone was still going to school it didn't seem that strange.  Summer also meant visitors.  Jake's parents were here for about two and a half week which was a lot of fun.

Summer has also brought some unexpected struggles.  I miss 95 degree days lying on a raft in the pool talking for hours with a friend.  I miss my daily summer routine of sleeping in, working out, having lunch with Jake at home (since he biked home for lunch every day), and then usually hanging out at the pool in the afternoon with a friend or working in my classroom.  I miss my classroom.  I miss going up there in the summer to do all the things I wanted to do during the school year that I didn't have time to work on.  I miss collaborating with colleagues and coming up with new things for the next school year.

I have a feeling this fall might be tough since I'm not going back into the classroom.  I'm still hoping to sub this year as much as I can but I won't be in a full time teaching position.  I did interview for a few full-time positions in math and English for this next school year but I decided to turn down the jobs.  I know, or at least think I know, that we will just be here for a short time and I don't want to be tied down to a full-time job when we want to continue to travel.

One of the things that sticks out the most for me this summer is that I miss teaching.  I miss the kids and my colleagues.  When you work so closely with people day in and day out and they see you on top of your game and at rock bottom it is hard to not see them still every day.  I miss showing up everyday doing something that I loved.  Teaching was my hobby and I just happened to get paid to do it :).  It wasn't just a job or just work for me.  I loved having tough kids and low kids and figuring out how to get them to succeed.  Every year I had tough kids and every year I told Jake I wasn't sure I was going to be able to connect with them and make a difference with that kid.  They were different than all the others and it was going to be too hard.  And yet at the end of that year that tough kid was the one who gave me the biggest lump in my throat when I said goodbye.  I miss plan time laughing about funny things kids say and I miss having friends come to my room at the end of the day telling me they were "done with this day" as they plopped themselves on my couch just waiting for 4:00 so they could leave.  But by the time 4:00 showed up more people joined in and we were all laughing and lost track of time and pretty soon it was 5:00 and then we'd all head home.  One of the only things I really don't miss about teaching are the staff meetings :).  Maybe I was spoiled by my first principal but his philosophy was "why would I have a staff meeting if I could put it in an email?"  Amen. I know I'll be back in the classroom again and it will feel like I never left but I miss it so much.

We have been looking forward to the summer weather and so far it has been pretty good.  June was pretty rainy and cold, mid 50s for a couple of weeks, which made it not feel like summer.  July has warmed up to 65-75 degrees and mostly sunny.  We still have lots of sunlight but it is hard being here in the summer.  I don't have a friend to go to the pool with or a classroom to go work in or work friends to hang out with while we plan the next school year.  I miss my friends and family back home.

Being here in the summer just reminds me how alone I am.  I don't have subbing or volunteering to fill my days and Jake is at work.  I'm not very good at going out and doing things by myself so I feel pretty trapped in the apartment.  Skyping and phone calls with friends and family are definitely highlights but it is still hard.  I am not a very outgoing person but I also can only handle hanging out by myself for so long before I start getting stuck in a rut.

I realize that we are in the middle of a once in a lifetime opportunity living here and traveling all around but it is hard not wanting to trade it in to be at home sometimes.  If anything I've learned this year that life is the most fun when you can share it with people.  Jake and I have definitely grown closer this year and we will always look back on this time with great memories but I hope that when we move back home I remember how much I longed to hang out with friends and family.  I don't want to be so used to being alone that I "forget" to hang out with friends and family.

If anyone wants to Skype or catch up with a phone call I would love to hang out with you!  Hope everyone is having a great summer and I hope all my teacher friends are having fun setting up their classrooms and getting some sleep in between the back to school nightmares :).  (I had a back to school dream and it was awesome to "be back" until I woke up and remembered it was just a dream.)

I should hopefully finish the last post from when Jake's parents were here and then I can finally get around to posting about our trip to Germany and France but I wanted to make sure I remembered how I felt about each season even if it isn't always easy.  Thanks for reading.

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