Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Dream Is Just A Dream Until It Is Made Real

I had no idea that when I left the Peace Corps I would have so many opportunities or maybe I have made them all possible. Where did I leave off... I tried being an editor and found the work to be interesting and multifaceted but working strictly on the Internet and with email left me without the face to face I get it or I do not get it energy. I also babysat and loved working with kids and their families. It brought me lots of joy. I also hired a trainer and worked out for two months and then experienced problems with a variety of muscle issues and stopped. I walk. I love to walk. I try for the 10,000 steps and maybe that will be what i do. At least for now. The lucky me, I got a job at Killington Mountain School teaching English for five months to skiers. I love the wok. it is energizing to be with athletes, serious athletes. When school is over, Steve and I will go on a very serious vacation...that is a real vacation, just us, in Prague for three weeks, hanging around, listening to music, walking, going to Vienna, Salzbourg and Innsbruck and then he goes home. Me, I go to Germany for a 10 day meditation retreat and then return to Prague and spend five weeks or so in Uganda, working at an orphanage and at a new school being established by people from Kingston Canada we met on our way back to the States. When I get back, I got accepted to Bread Loaf College of English for an MA in English, yes, yet another degree, and I will be back with the books for the month of July. After that, I Will be with my grands and kids and hanging out until school starts again in November. What a life. I may be broke but I am living my dream and if dreams come true then they are real.
I have no allusions about the ups and downs of this past year. I wish we had stayed in the Peace Corps but it was unrealistic for two people with so many responsibilities. My mom is safe but she has Alzheimer's and everyone knows what that means. Some times she is with us and most of the time she is not. It gets worse, not better. But, she is safe. The Doctor said her brain is like a torn up phone book: all the humblers and names are there but scattered into no particular order. She loves to talk about the weather because she can; all she has to do is look out the window and she sees the information. It is easy to focus on the weather when you have no idea who is on the other end of the phone line until the conversation is nearing and end or after it is over or never. But I love her and whatever happens, she is my mom and I do not belong so far away for so long. I hope she remains as she is while I am gone. Mu sister is the real hero. She is there and she takes care of her and visits often. She has the burden. I come and go. God will find a special place for her when her time comes. Of this I am certain.
Steve is head hunting and continuously working on projects at home. He just tiled a shower in our third floor bathroom. WOW! It looks awesome, very perfect as only he can do.
His mom is 101 and still going strong. We both have the dream of leaving for a year or two at another time in our lives. I know we will do it. We have to do it. We still need to see all of America and I still have a book in my head that has to be written. A dreama is just that, a dream, unlessyou make it real.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lemons to Lemonade

Wow, it is hard to believe that about a year ago we got our Peace Corps assignment to Uganda, and we went and we had to come home. My mom has Alzheimer's and gets more confused by the day. Steve's mom just celebrated her 101 birthday and we all went to NYC to take her to lunch. At the same time, my mom confused the message I left for her and reported that Steve's mom had died. We all had a huge laugh and life goes on.
So much has happened since March but what is important is that i am back in the classroom teaching English and I am so happy. I got a position at the Killington Mountain School, in Killington Vermont. Students come from near and far and are dis enrolled in their school for two quarters/five months. The school is right on the mountain. The students are in small classes ranging from one on one to five with one teacher. It is wonderful and awesome fit for me. I am so, so happy. I still have time for family and fun but I am working and loving it.
Steve is also working and seems to think that the job market is improving. He is back to head hunting. He also has refurnished his office and fixing all the things that need to be fixed in our house. We are going to Peaks Island over Christmas break and very excited. I went once and fell in love instantly. It is off the coast of Portland Maine. I am also presenting at a national conference, NCTE, in Philadelphia. Yippee. I will amass many books and teaching materials.
It took us 18 months to get into the PC and then it ended. We have moved on, even though I read your blogs weekly. To all of our cohort group...you go guys!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer 2009 of Beads and Kids

I keep running into people who want to know what it is like to be retired. I thought when I left teaching i would spend all day reading and writing, but that has yet to happen. i now have at least three jobs in a market where there are only a few jobs. Some how, I have landed some great opportunities and I am busy.
Upon returning from the Peace Corps, besides taking care of Mom whenever i can, I have found one project that I believe in: selling BeadforLife for Ugandan women. I make no money but bead by bead they are eradicating poverty. The beads are beautiful. I hooked up with a farmer and go with my beads to the Mt. Tom Farmers market on Saturday mornings. I help sell her produce and delicious breads and people also buy the beads. People spend money for a cause, that is very clear to me. My goal is to sell all the beads by August 30.
I have spent a lot of time reading Peace Corps Blogs and am puzzled and thrilled at what I read. I have decided that Peace corps is not at all about the project; it is about relationships, about being present for the other, about saying I care about you. Some of my cohort group still have not moved in or gone to work but they have established relationships with people. Some are ill, but they have taken on Ugandan names and feel like this is there home. I expect to go back to Uganda and work in an orphanage and with Hospice.
This time in my life is one of discovery and yearning: discovering that life is not about a job, but about meaningful work; discovering that we are constantly redefining who we are and who we want to be. Amazing discoveries.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Anything is possible

It is hard to believe how much has happened to us since we left and came back from the Peace Corps. We had no place to live but now have found a great place that belongs to a Park Ranger. She is gone for six months and we have taken over her place, that is we renovated the place and it is quite nice. So that was move 8 since we left for Philly.
The next thing was I got an awesome job working as an editor for Woodstock Magazine. I can barely believe this possibility but it is true. Now I have license to snoop and snoop I am doing. What fun. I am even going to s television shoot of a turkey/fly fish event. I love meeting interesting people and doing new things.
The next thing that happened was I started watching these two incredible children and I am having such fun. Everyone knows I love kids and the more the merrier. These two are stars. Of course I still have the grand kids and a few others so I am in the thick of Babystock.
I also am working at the theatre helping to manage the house for events. Another awesome thing.
Life is good. I went from a serious case of lemons to a pitcher of delicious lemonade. I have continued to read the Uganda Blogs and that has kept me sort of still there. My mom is not great. I am glad i am back to be here for her. My sister has done more that her fair share. We took a road trip to Madison Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula and then to Ottawa for the tulips. It was long but wonderful. Who knows what comes after the turkey shoot. Steve is busy with work and rennovations. He always seems to be doing something.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Possibility of new discoveries 4/16/09

I found this quote and thought of the ways in which i an reinventing myself now that I am no longer following one of my dreams and not living in my own home, and living out of a suitcase and trying to determine the next possibility.

"Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am. There is no mystery about why this should be so. Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of your food, your closet full of your clothes--with all this taken away, you are forced into direct experiences. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That's not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating." -Michael Crichton"

While I am in my own land, My surroundings are not mine, my friends are different, there is only the daily routine that I create, my refrigerator belongs to someone else, my closet is not accessible and my clothes are in plastic buckets, so I have no choice but to redirect, right here, in the place where I am. Oh the possibilities.

Endless Possibilities 4/16/09

It seems very strange to think that we both would have been sworn into the Peace Corps but instead we are home. We have been living out of a suit case since February. We moved from the Stone Cottage to a beautiful home in Woodstock that backs up to Mt. Tom, a national park/treasure. We are house sitting for friends. We spent Passover with our family and that was wonderful. The matzah holiday ends tonight...bring on the pizza. Next week we move again to a sweet condo in town that is owned by a friend who is a park ranger. She's off to Alaska for six months and we get her place. We put down new floors for her and hope that our next move will be quick. Steve is back to work and I am spending time with grand kids and my family. Today i go to see my mom and we get the results of her health assessment. I want to know her status before i make my next decision.
It is clear to me that I need to work. I am a bundle of excess energy and while I am never bored, I need to find meaningful work. I have had two interviews and both possibilities are in a new field for me and both offer personal growth.As for humanitarian work, the possibilities are endless. I went to the Sleeping Children Around the World training session in Toronto and that is a very exciting project that i hope to get involved in. We also met with a couple who are building a girl's school in Uganda. they live near Kingston Ontario. We had a wonderful visit with them and expect to be involved in their project, too. I have two other ideas that can be done from this side of the world. The possibilites are endless.
Spring is also a real possibility and I cannot wait.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Dream Deferred

I keep thinking of the line from "A Dream Deferred..." and ask was the dream deferred or actually fulfilled? We are back in Woodstock trying to decide what to do next after spending 18 months planning to go into the Peace Corps. Now what we keep saying to each other, now what? While we are so very happy that we are back and that we have involved ourselves with our families, we have and continue to see to the well being of our mothers, we want to pick up the pieces of our dream to do humanitarian work, but the way is not yet clear. We met so many people (not PC) who are involved in extraordinary projects. Once we get our land legs more grounded the path will become clear. Right now we are in limbo. When our house burned down to the ground, we could not figure out how to restart. Believe it or not, we started with an ironing board of all things. That was my first purchase even though I needed clothing for five kids. In time the pieces all came together and we rebuilt. This time now is a lot like the time of the fire in 1977. The good news is we have a new car and it is a beauty. In part, we have to pat ourseleves on the back for having the courage to go to Uganda and to be part of our dream but to stay for 27 months with all that happened back here, so far away, was not a dream but a nightmare.