Checking in on the last three years…

This morning I spent 35 minutes trying to remember how to log on to WordPress to write on my blog.  As it turns out, I have four Gmail accounts — and had forgotten how to log onto three of them.  This, my friends, is the story of my life — and likely many of yours.  Kiel repeatedly tells me to find a system for keeping my usernames and passwords but where’s the fun in that?  That 35 minutes was probably the hardest my brain has worked in months.  You’re welcome, brain.  

As the above anecedote implies, it’s been quite some time since I utilized this space to fill you in on the epic drama/comedy that is my life.  So much has happened since 2012 — each event more riveting and unique than the last.  My hair grew about six inches, I got new glasses like three times, and I’ve continued my efforts to convince the general public that hummus is indeed rotten chickpea flavored sand putty.  I’m sorry to have deprived you all for so long.  But, fear not, friends, I am back and finally have something worth writing about:  I’ve lost my mind, quit my job, and am venturing off to Scandinavia to find myself.  Aren’t you glad you’ve tuned back in?!

OH!  And I got a dog!  Her name is Bella and if you follow me on social media you are likely SO over her. 

“Food, food, food, food, food, food, food.”

Let’s break this update into three parts, shall we?  

Up first-

How I Lost my Mind

In special education there’s a little thing called burn-out.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it?  When I started my career as a special educator seven years ago, I thought I was SO above burn-out.  When I got to Portland and started my job in a self-contained classroom for students with severe emotional and behavioral needs I thought “yep, I’m going to work here in this classroom until the day I retire.  No biggie.”  I was pretty clueless.  That job was and probably/hopefully always will be THE hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’m sort of thinking that childbirth might be harder — but then again, maybe not.  I’ll report back if and when appropriate.  

Since I respect each and every little soul that I taught in the last five years, I will keep all details of my day to day classroom life to myself.  What I will say is that, for the past year, it has taken everything in me just to get out of bed and into that classroom to do my job.  Everything just felt so hard.  My students’ needs seemed larger than life.  I felt inadequate to say the least.  It was a real struggle.  By the holiday break I was dealing with some pretty major depression and anxiety — so I decided to take a vacation to Mexico. 

I missed one student contact day during that week in February.  What I returned to was a slight display of overreaction and judgement.  It was made clear that a select few did not feel that I was deserving of a vacation.  This was, as they say, the straw that broke the camels back.  After spring break I gave my resignation and finished up the year.  I’m thankful for the staff that got me through the last months and understood what I was going through.  I couldn’t have done it without them.  

I have so many fond memories from my five years of teaching since moving to Portland.  I learned a lot about human beings and their needs.  I think that I am a more understanding and compassionate person because of my experiences in that classroom.  

I quit my job… and I don’t have another one

So, I quit my job and almost immediately everyone started asking me the same exact question “what are you looking to do next? ”  It’s kind of like how when people get married they start asking when you’re going to start trying to have a baby somewhere between the cocktail hour and the cake cutting.  RELAX, PEOPLE!  

It’s like this:  I spent the last year basically in agony.  I need to c-h-i-l-l OUT.  What will I do next?  Heck, I don’t know… join the circus?  I’m totally kidding — the circus scares the tar out of me.  What I do know is that I need to take some time to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.  I don’t know if I’ll ever teach again.  It would take three thousand more posts for me to articulate how I feel about our current educational system here in the US of A.  I’ll spare you.  

When all else fails, go to Sweden

When you’ve quit your job and have no idea when you’ll get your next pay check I believe one should venture to one of the most expensive countries in the world.  When I quit my job in March I was surprised by how many people told me that I needed to go travel.  Truth be told, I have always been the type of person to poo poo that sort of thing.  But, as I sat in a cafe with my friend Mo listening to her tell me about her big Asian adventure after she quit her teaching career, I could remember zoning out a bit and imagining myself getting lost in a foreign land.  That night I booked a plane ticket to Sweden.  Thanks, Mo!

I am traveling to Stockholm, Gotland, Uppsala, Copenhagen, and Helsinki throughout the month of September.  Out of that month I will be completeley alone for ten days.  This whole alone thing is a really important piece.  You see, I’m not very good at being alone.  I avoid it at all costs.  I thought to myself “what kind of almost thirty year old can’t be alone for longer than one day without crying?”  I’m choosing to be alone to show myself that I am a self-sufficient w-o-m-a-n.  I don’t need nobody to read a stinkin’ map for me!  I don’t need nobody to see me crying in an alleyway because I really don’t know how to read stinkin’ maps!  Quoting my favorite saying from my earliest years “I get”.  

The journey begins…

So here I am, one week from my arrival in Stockholm.  Are you ready to follow alongside me as I struggle to read an pronounce words like “sockergris”?  “Sockergris” literally translates to “suger pig” which is exactly what the locals will call me.  I will likely eat a lot of meatballs and spend a lot of time going in the opposite direction I intented to because I always forget to flip my phone around when using Google Maps. Either way it’s going to be a hoot and a half and I want to document it!

Peace, love, and patchouli

Portland Pollyanna

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