a year abroad: 2018 adventures

2018 marks the first full year Dave and I have lived abroad. And what a parade of adventures it has been! Of course, my plan was to blog extensively about each and every one. But alas, time–and a stupid Iphone photo configuration issue {GRRRRR}–has prevented that. But as I look back on the year and get excited for the next, I can’t help but revisit the places we’ve…well…visited. We spent January in Rio learning Portuguese. I wrote about that here and here. For carnaval in February, we road tripped through Curitiba (cool little Brazilian city) to Florianopolis (Brazilian island) to Read More

creating positive adult culture

The post that appears below is the original draft I submitted to Edutopia, an amazing website of all things education! (To all my readers working in schools, it is highly valuable and worth following.)  Some of the best professional advice I keep coming back to is designate time to what you want. If a teacher wants a stronger classroom community, he/she needs to “sacrifice” instructional time to accomplish this. If leadership wants more collaboration, they must allot time in the master schedule. If a school wants a strong adult culture, this goal must be given proper time and attention. And Read More

weight and Light

My heart has been heavy recently. As Timehop likes to remind me, this week’s history carries its own weight. Three years ago: our cat died. Five years ago: we were cleaning out my Mom’s house to put it on the market after she died. Six years ago: one year before she died, she had part of her lung removed to combat cancer. I carry all this with me, in my bones, in my blood, viscerally, almost as if the years are on parallel planes. And…in the future, this week will now carry the weight of a heavy diagnosis for someone Read More

mindfulness in high school

The post that appears below is the original draft I submitted to Edutopia, an amazing website of all things education! (To all my readers working in schools, it is highly valuable and worth following.) Some classrooms have a certain “aura,” don’t they? Upon entering, there is a sense of peace, community, clarity and active presence from all stakeholders. That is the kind of classroom I want to create. One way I have sought to accomplish this is by taking a course in mindfulness for educators. Since then, I have lead daily mindful moments in all of my classes. It has Read More

grace: microscopic new beginnings

There is something so dramatic about New Year’s Eve, isn’t there? Even the fireworks declare, “hey, even you can start anew?” I like those kinds of new beginnings. They are easy. They are believable. Not so easy when it’s, say, minute 4 of meditation and I’ve been struggling to be present for the last 3. I just want to quit. Escape. I don’t want a minute 5; I need a New Year’s Eve: a dramatic restart, a new year, a grandiose gesture that I can start over. But I realized on my most recent meditation retreat that it is minute 5–not Read More

gates and guardians: a reflection on the state of a sorrowful heart

Dave and I have spent the last seven days in silence. No, we’re not in a fight. Well… Not with each other at least. Rather, we have spent the last week at a six-night meditation retreat. I did something similar a few years back and wrote about here (in prose) and here (in verse). This retreat was a completely different experience and style, but no less impacting. Reflecting with Dave on the way back (finally out of silence!), I remarked on the oddest thing: to see forty people sitting in various states of stillness–some on cushions, some on chairs, some Read More

taking attendance (or practicing presence: part 2)

Present. I sit this morning in stillness, reading a soul book a soul friend gave me. Present. I sit this morning listening to the song of birds. One little fellow is having himself a good ol’ time: a solo act of twirps and tweets and toots among the branches. I practice mindful listening, acting as a conscious port of entry for guest-sounds that come and go. I don’t attend to this mental door enough. Just recently on the way to school, I asked Dave a question. Next thing I know he’s saying something vaguely in the background. And by background Read More

tri it on: my first open water swim

Last November, Dave and I were in Guaruja when there happened to be a triathlon. Fascinated, we spent much of the morning watching swimmers, bikers and runners compete and transition from one event to the next. A little seed was planted that day. And now, I’m registered for my very first sprint tri! Gulp. One piece of advice I kept finding in my research was to practice an open water swim before the actual event. And so, last month on a beach trip to Boicucanga, I did just that. Of course, it wasn’t quite that easy. It took quite a bit of courage-mustering, if you Read More

photo journal of our trip to Rio

It’s a tough life to constantly be several posts behind on the trips we’ve taken. But I’ll take it! We spent the first weeks of 2018 in Rio to study at Caminhos Language School. The mornings we spent several hours in classes. And then some afternoons, we had private lessons; most of those were about and about exploring Rio, and one was even at a bar. My kind of learning! Here are a few glimpses of that world. Of course, our favorite thing was the beach. Our go-to beach was Leblon, and we stayed away from the “popular” beaches as Read More

my compass and North Star

I grew up taking road trips in vans. You know the kind. Long, bulky, with a back seat that served simultaneously as a trampoline for no more monkeys jumping in the bed and a torture chamber for big brothers to pick on their siblings. There wasn’t a road trip we went on where we didn’t lay that back seat down and camp out there. No matter the budget, my Mom made sure we traveled. We left before the sun rose, just like she worked. And our trips were always fully stocked. She was sure to pack a cooler with ice-cold Read More