Yesterday, I found out that one of my former students at the elementary school I teach at had passed away from an asthma attack. Today, I found out that one of my friends who I was very close to in middle school had passed away from an accident. I feel like I’m writing a “No Subject” email to the universe about my thoughts and emotions on these losses. The consecutiveness of the deaths certainly add to the weight of what I feel right now.
While I may not have known my 7-year-old student too well for the short time I taught him, it is incredibly tragic to think that I had outlived one of my students. My immediate reaction is that this isn’t the way life is supposed to be! People die when they’re old, not when they’re young! But I think we know all too well the reality of death, and its instantaneousness. Yesterday was the International Day of Peace and today at school, third graders put up Pinwheels for Peace outside the school gates to promote peace in our community and our world. I hope you were able to see these pinwheels and they were able to provide you with all the happiness and peace wherever you are now.
I still don’t know how to feel about my friend who I used to be so close to. So far, I can’t help but reminisce all those moments we had together, and while they were back in middle school/early high school, I remember all our talks and hangouts so fondly. From subway rides home to walks by the bay and late night AIM chats, but most importantly to me, your kindness and care. Hanging out with you was always so much fun. And you made me fall in love with rock music and even some metal. I always think of you when I hear “By The Way” (and other Red Hot Chili Peppers hits) or “Here In My Room” (and other Incubus songs), or pretty much anything in those genres of music.
I remember at one point I think in 8th grade, you were trying to figure out how to play the melody line of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” I’m sure you’ve got it now.
I’m not sure what else to say. In the same vein as this article, all I know is that sometimes we are so obsessed with following each other’s lives on Facebook without any intention of having an in-person real life meetup or conversation with that same person who we keep checking up on. It’s how connections die and friendships fade, even if we are wishing those people well. So here’s an open “I love you” to all of my friends I’ve had, still have, and will continue to make. I’ll be seeing you soon.
Last week I started my second year of official full-time teaching. After a fun and restful summer, I was excited to get back into the swing of things and especially to see my returning students as well as meet 160+ new students I would be teaching this year.
I started off teaching this song called “Unlimited,” an absolutely fantastic back to school song. The first verse goes like this:
First day back
Here we go, here we go
I’ve got this new backpack
And this little part of me that wants to know
What am I gonna be?
What am I gonna do?
And will I fit inside this puzzle I’m about to walk into?
Am I gonna be alright?
Can I take a deep breath instead of only listening to the hundred million questions in my head?
First day back
Here we go… here we go…
Aside from literally talking about the first day back (to school, specifically), I thought about how appropriate it is for the month of September for everyone. When the hazy summer days start to drift away and instead comes the crisp autumn air and cool breezes, I feel like I, and many others I know, reset. It’s also an anxious time of starting anew with school, work, family – as marked by the changing season and environment.
With only four months left in the year it’s a great time to recalibrate one’s priorities and reconsider our usage of time. We often complain that we do not have enough time to do all that we want, but let’s take a moment to figure out how we can make time for everything we want to do. (Let’s not forget that time is human-made, malleable and only a marker of the day.) It’s a time to put a halt to all doubts getting in the way of success. It’s a season of “let’s do this” and committing to whatever “this” is. It’s a final push to accomplish anything that will satisfy the questions “Did I do my best this year?” and “Did I make the most of everything on my pathway to achieve?” It’s a chance to concentrate that inner drive and channel it into all that you do for yourself and for others, without any limitations. I taught my kids that being unlimited means that you can do ANYTHING.
I’m reaching up through the top of the sky today
I’m changing things till I finally find my place
Wanna go and get it
I’m gonna be unlimited
Turn up the sun let me see what it’s all about
Light up the stas till they dream away all the doubt
We’re just beginning I’m gonna be unlimited
This past week I was finally able to vacation off to Orlando to end the summer. Why Orlando? I simply have been dying to go to Disneyworld since I was a kid, Seaworld to meet the dolphins, and, most recently, … Continue reading →