things I should be doing: grading finals, cleaning out cabinets to avoid moth outbreak over holidays, packing for trip to Patagonia, handling responsibilities, considering resolutions for the impending new year.
things I am currently doing: staring at how pretty our Christmas tree is, updating kindle library, scratching the sunburned skin off my roommate’s back, sipping a wine cooler out of a mason jar, signing every petition I can find that pressures the electoral college to do the right thing, swinging in a hammock, listening to rain and avoiding my bedtime and real life. Loudly shouting “I WANT A DOG!” “i love the internet!” “people are cool!” every five minutes or so, to no one at all, as I scroll a combination of twitter/facebook/tumblr in my avoid-reponsibilities quest.
The end of the year is tricky for teachers – we have a thousand things we need to do, with zero motivation to complete them. We have cats to herd, musical programs to attend and smile through the joy and pain of, homemade cookie gifts to pretend to eat, classrooms to clean.
Teaching internationally means we also have to say goodbye to a lot of students who are moving wherever mom or dad’s job is taking them. After our Christmas musical yesterday, I heard a shy “Miss Weight?” and turned around to face two sisters, faces splotchy and streaked with tears, leaning in for the last hug we’ll ever share. They’re moving to Venezuela and I will never see them again. I’ve said goodbye to a lot of students and friends before in the last two years, but that one made me break into sobs. So many students coming and going to distant places completely changes the dynamic of a school.
But in exciting news – Patagonia! So here’s the deal – I’ve always wanted to go to the Galapagos Islands. Last year at this time, my friend Leana said she would go with me. Except we waited too long to figure out details and it was going to be expensive. Turns out that was a blessing in disguise, because Leana HATES animals. And nature in general. She had really only heard the word “islands” and pictured margaritas on a sandy beach for a week long cruise. She and I ended up going to Fernando de Noronja, which was amazing. But the Galapagos still called to me.
I spoke to Gma, who is the GOAT, and she said she might like to go. But after considering the heat and athleticism involved in the kind of trip I wanted to do to the Galapagos, ie swim with marine iguanas and camp out, I decided to look at other options. Like ones where we sit and look at pretty water and ice chunks going by, meet lots of people with money who I can convince to fund a kickstarter to send me to each Olympics for the rest of my life, unlimited fountain soda, and occasional shore breaks to taste wine and chase penguins.
“What about Patagonia?” I asked.
My grandma also likes to look at pretty water and ice chunks go by. She was in.
I’ve never been on a cruise before. I’m actually a little skeptical of boats that big, but maybe that’s just the leftovers of seeing “Titanic” three times in one day when it first came out. But I am SO excited to a. be on an extended vacation b. share this time with my grandma c. PENGUINS. d. end of the WORLD e. Falkland Islands f. Uruguay – a new country for me!
My biggest dilemma, of course, is packing. First, I don’t want to do it. Second, I’m bad at it. We’ll be gone 3.5 weeks, and then G’ma’ll be coming to Rio with me as the first family member to visit the place I’ve called home for the last two and a half years. The climates we’ll visit range from 30s-90s (which terrifies me, as I felt like I couldn’t breathe in Atlanta a few weeks ago, and that was only 59F. Hooboy.
I get very easily distracted while packing. I find things I’d forgotten about and then have to play with them. For example, since I started this blog post on Thursday, I have found a popsicle making kit and made two rounds of those, discovered my tshirt making kit from my brief dream to open a tshirt business and made a brainstorm list of sayings to stamp on shirts (“yikes” is my current number one choice), and sent selfies of different party headbands I find to my friends.
Besides the clothes, I’m also debating a costume choice. How fun would it be to dress as a penguin and then take a picture with a penguin? My other thought is shark – the penguin’s predator. What if I dressed as a shark and shimmied around a penguin colony? That could go viral. I could go on Ellen. She’d give me money. I could replace the blender my roommate broke and finally be able make that hummus I’ve been craving. And pay off college loans. OR I could bring the newly acquired T-Rex (thanks Ma!) which is like, THE funnest thing I’ve ever been in. Choices choices.
As per usual, I have imagined every hypothetical situation for me to turn the experience into either a. a book b. a screenplay based off the book or c. the time I meet the love of my life. Or all three. So the protagonist is super cool. She’s me. All the people on the boat voted for Hillary, are well traveled, educated people looking for a bridge partner or perhaps a 30-something, slightly dramatic, chronically single and broke teacher to chat with. They all brought along their handsome grandsons, about 6’4″, with beards and fabulous jobs and flexible schedules and accents and! then we! fall in love! and get married! with penguins!
The old people from all over the world give their blessings and share their wisdom and strong female lead learns life lessons. No one gets Noro virus and the boat arrives safely at it’s final destination. I don’t gain any weight.
I’m also really looking forward to making as many boat-related movie and music references as possible. Just missing a nautical-themed pashmina afghan to really make my dreams come true. (If you haven’t seen The Lonely Island’s video….MUST WATCH. Language warning.)
So wish us luck! My grandma is flying down from California as I type this, I’m meeting her in Santiago tomorrow. We take off from Valparaiso, Chile, at 4pm Wednesday. Four weeks straight together! I’m praying for a. safe travels b. no lost luggage c. that I’m not a seasick person… d. that grandma and I still like each other 30 days from now.
I will be wishing you a Merry Christmas from the Chilean Fjords, and celebrating New Years from the Palmer Archipelago! I won’t have regular internet access, but I will try to update when I can. This promises to be the adventure of a lifetime, and if you haven’t heard it and you need to, you all deserve an adventure of a lifetime. I’d take you with me if I could.
Happy Holidays and love and blessings to all!