What We Miss in the Rush of Life

You might have noticed that it’s been awfully quiet around here for a few weeks.
The reason is that I have been traveling for the last five weeks.

One week of a TCK conference.
Oh, it was so comforting to talk to new and old friends and ponder the deep questions in life.

One week in Brno/ Czech Republic with the school choir.
It was really interesting engaging with my students and colleagues outside of the classroom.

Two weeks in the Philippines.
No work, just rest. Sleep, beach, crystal clear water, friendly people, culture shock. This break was so desperately needed and I have seen some of the most breathtaking places on earth.

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One week in Wales with a student exchange.
The girls were very open and easy to handle, so my colleague and I could also enjoy ourselves and get to know each other a little better.

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Five weeks of travel.
Five weeks of meeting inspiring people, admiring creation’s beauty, sharing deep connections, making new friends.
Five weeks of blessings.

This sounds great, right?
Well, yes.

But while I still smile at the memory of a conversation or a funny experience, I realize that I’m not grateful.

I can’t be.
Not yet.

The new inputs have been too many in the last few weeks, my mind and soul are too over stimulated to feel much of anything.
After every trip I got home and unpacked my suitcase. I did a load of laundry. I repacked the suitcase for the next trip. I didn’t even bother going shopping, so I just stare into an empty fridge or just buy take-out.

In the midst of all this, I have no time to unpack my heart.
To let memories flash past my inner eye and marvel at what I saw, heard, felt.
All I want is to sit by the window for a bit and daydream of  what I experienced.
To write, to reflect, to process.

Can you relate?

Life dictates us around so often – faster, faster.
But the more I travel, the more I realize – slower, slower.
Only when we stop for a moment, we discover the richness of our experiences, the depth of connection, the value of home.
Only then will we be truly grateful for all these blessings and how they will shape us.

P.S.: I hope to find some time to write and share about my time in the Philippines very soon!


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

Why I Stop Taking Pictures

My colleague threw herself into the chair next to me. “What’s wrong with us? This week is horrible as if we have no time to breathe at all.”

She was right.

The last two weeks were crazy. Well, rather perfectly normal for end of term.
Grading papers through the nights and finishing all grades for the report cards. Conferences and meetings.
Spening all day at school.
My apartment looks like a big mess because I’m hardly ever there to clean up. All I do there is sleep. Since I don’t have time to cook I mostly eat sandwiches and fast food. So much for healthy eating resolutions.
I am just rushing from one thing to the next.

I must admit I do appreciate a certain amount of stress in my life. I like it to have several things running at the same time and seeing the tables turn my way.
But there comes a time when stress becomes too much.
You know how I know?

When I stop taking pictures.

When my heart can’t detect beauty anymore.
When my eyes have seemingly become blind to the gifts surrounding me.
When my soul has become numb to the creative sparks around.
When I breathe in beauty, but have become unable to exhale gratitude.

Last Friday was such a day.
I just needed some breath of fresh air.
There was still so much to do.
There were unanswered emails, unprepared lessons, unopened letters on my desk.
I. didn’t. care.

The sun was out, so I bundled myself up in a winter jacket, gloves and hat and went for a walk. I had no specific destination, I just needed to walk.
Walking despite all the things I still had to do.
Walk off the stress of this week.
Walk against the exhaustion of these countless meetings.
Walking off the frustration with people and schedules.
Walking towards a new perspective, towards restoration.

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It took a while, but then it happened.

First I recognized birds chirping in the cold winter air.
Then I saw the snow flakes glittering in the sun.
I inhaled fresh air and felt it fill my lungs, my body, my thoughts.

It seems ridiculously easy to recharge ourselves.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Go for a walk.
Have a glass of wine.
Let work be work and treat yourself.
Read a book, just for yourself.
Take a nap.
Let the sun shine on your face.
Inhale fresh air and let it fill your lungs, your body, your thoughts.

What does a breath of fresh air look like for you?


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

When People Surprise You

For those who’ve been around this space for a while know that I am a newbie teacher who just started to experience ‘real work life’.
I work 100% even though it often feels more like 250%. I get up early, make some coffee, go to work, run around school all day from class to class, get home exhausted and prepare for the next day.

Continue reading “When People Surprise You”

When the Sky Surprises You

Last week was super busy for me. It was the first real week of teaching and I got the full load of classes, admin work and students.
Additionally, we had parent’s meetings. Three days in a row I spent about twelve hours straight in school, preparing, introducing myself, answering questions… Continue reading “When the Sky Surprises You”

This Is Not Real

I walked out of the building and just stood there.
This was not happening.
This could not be real.
Just a few minutes ago the examiner had said, “Congratulations, you have passed.”

You see, this “Congratulations” was the last one to a long series of practical and oral exams as part of my teacher training.
And now it is over.
I am a teacher now.
Time to grow up and be a ‘real’ adult.

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I can’t really describe how I feel.
I am still dizzy from excitement and a bit giddy that everything went to well.
I am still doubting that this really happened and it’s really over.
And yes (you know me), I am a bit nostalgic.
And era in my life comes to an end. Two decades of learning and training and education. From now on I get to teach and to train and to educate.
This is exciting, but immensely scary at the same time.

Life is full of transitions and changes, and you know what, that’s good.
Time passes by so quickly, and if we’re not careful, it passes us by.
So let’s enjoy now because you can never get it back.

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Live in the moment.
Take in the beauty of today.
Spend time with the people around you.
Be thankful for the time that has passed by, for all the goodness you have seen, for all the grace you have received.
For all the treasures you’re able to pass on to the next day or person.


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

And Yet

Just one small candle, its flame hardly seen against the bright blue sky.
But it was there.
Shining.
Making a statement.

Twenty something students and I had just visited a concentration camp to get a first hand experience what our dark past had been like. The memories of torture, suffering, and death where looming over the hill. The lives of so many who had died here were still somehow present.
And now we were here to remember them.

It was an eerie feeling.
These people had died at the hands of those who no longer seemed to be people.
They were animals.
They had taken away whatever humanity had still been left in the victims and treated them like a piece of waste.
No dignity, no honor, just shame.


Silence.

We remember those who suffered in the past, but realize the suffering of today as well.
The people who are forced into slave labor.
The people who suffer in prostitution or the porn industry.
The many refugees who wait at the gates of Europe and are met with nothing but hatred and spite.
The people who don’t fit into our little view of the world and we so often judge.

People are still cruel today.
Humanity and dignity is lost in so many places.

And yet.

One small candle makes a difference.
As more and more people light candles we come closer together.
We are all individuals, but we are also all together.
And together we can make this dark world a little brighter, a little better.


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.