Yup, three months ago. To be honest, this 2-day break isn't going to do much in terms of recharging my batteries enough to do things like, you know, some serious house-cleaning that has been put off these months. I'm in maintenance mode, people. I have my eye on Thanksgiving Break like only a tired teacher can.
I'm grateful, though, to have some time to dig into my Fulbright materials. I've been making lots of steps towards our departure in late January and I have notes and ideas that are rather here and there. I'm holding on to ideas and memories that are aching to get out, on paper, through photographs and stories and snippets.
2 months ago today, Sarah and I arrived in Washington, D.C.. I have profound gratitude that Sarah's going to Finland with me and that she was able to travel to DC so we could take care of our Finnish residence permit applications. Arriving on Sunday, we had the luxury of checking into the hotel and heading out for a delicious French dinner and some beautiful views of the Capitol. We were able to swiftly navigate through the paperwork at the Finnish Embassy on Monday morning leaving the next 1.5 days free of obligation and entirely for us.
We two in DC -- so very sweet. There were museums! Meals! Bike riding down the Mall! Swimming in the roof-top pool! Taxi rides in the rain! Sleeping in on Tuesday morning and, alas, putting Sarah on a plane on Tuesday afternoon, home bound on her first-ever solo flight. The very next day, she started middle school - 6th grade, a new school, a big deal - and she was toasting this momentous occasion with independence. I was quite overcome with gratitude for being the mama of such a neat kid.
Sarah's departure coincided with my colleague and friend's arrival. It was so good to see Seth Hoffman there in D.C., to have a connection to home through this connection to the world. This year, I'm teaching the amazing 6th graders who had Seth as a teacher for the past 2 years. While I'll be at 62.2417° N in Jyväskylä, Seth will be at 41.2889° S in Wellington, New Zealand.
With Sarah's departure and Seth's arrival, I transitioned from precious time with my girl to precious time with colleagues -- and my experience at the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Orientation began.