So I go back to work full-time next week and I know I will be asked, "How was your summer? What did you do?" Just like many students are going to have to write about their summer holidays, adults have these conversations and you can't help but compare. I am sure many students dread the summer writing assignment because they don't have anything "special" enough to write about in comparison to their peers who might have gone to Whistler or Disneyland or some other fabulous special trip. This was the reason I didn't do those kinds of writing assignments...we still may have written about summer but it could be real or an imaginary adventure...there were always choices so that all students could always find something that they were excited to write about and feel included and safe in the classroom.
So my response to the questions I know are going to come have been ruminating in my head, and although I might be tempted to describe an imaginary dream trip kayaking around Haida Gwaii or sailing through the Greek Islands, I am going to be real. Funny how real can sometimes take someone by surprise though. When someone asks you how your summer has been, they really aren't expecting, nor do I really think they want to hear, that it was actually not very good!
It hasn't really been a "special summer" and although I will not be sharing all of these things with new colleagues that I hardly know when they ask me how my summer was, I thought I would document what the summer of 2013 was to me:
-I watched every episode of Glee from all four seasons, some more than once. I cried, I laughed, I grieved, I recalled feelings of joy.
-I gave up Diet Coke. This wasn't easy and my body revolted a bit but it was the right time and the right thing to do.
-I became truly nocturnal. I have always been a "night owl" but my need for a cooler, quieter time to write had me staying up to 5am or later most nights and sleeping til noon.
-I hardly cooked a meal all summer. This was very very strange for me but Neil and the boys managed to cook dinners and take care of themselves in the kitchen.
-I finally got "caught up" with the work from the job that I left at the end of June, even if it took me until the very end of August. It feels good to close those books and be able to move on to new things.
-I had my first cancer scare. Although everything turned out okay, it rattled me.
-Other than a day trip up to Whistler, a few days in Kelowna with my sister for a cousins trip and a short family trip to Oregon, I hardly left our house. I felt like I lived in a cave and some days didn't even get outside even though the weather was amazingly glorious this summer. I am already planning all the things I want to do next summer!
-The garden was very neglected this summer. Other than a few handfuls of blueberries, some herbs and a harvest of potatoes, everything else failed and I just didn't have the time to maintain things this year.
-I learned lots about myself this summer. I learned that I have some blocks around perfectionism that I need to work through and that I am not proud of. Ironic that this is something I counsel students about and I really need to take my own advice. I learned that I have a hard time doing things I don't really want to do and my choices in the different ways I spent my time working this summer revealed my clear passion for more professional, reflective writing rather than academic writing. I also learned that I am so easily distracted when working on a computer. Wifi was my enemy this summer and we were in constant battles.
-I realized that I have many friends and family members that believe in me, often more than I believe in myself. The amount of support I received this summer helped me to continue on with my work.
-I wrote my dissertation for a second time. I still have a lot to do and am not sure how this is going to resolve itself. I will either complete this whole process finally this year or abandon ship. I am really fine either way.
-After enjoying old-fashioned soft caramels for years from both Birch Bay and the candy shops in Oregon, I finally made my own. The one new kitchen accomplishment for me this summer!
My summer was still filled with stories to tell, just not the fun, beachy stories I have in my head!