The journey

Yesterday was a day of driving.  Six hours to get here.  I got lucky, though.  Even going around New York wasn’t too bad.  I actually don’t mind driving.  In fact, my ideal vacation involves driving long distances.  As they say, it’s about the journey.

And I’m about to begin a journey today.   Last night, I ran into Tracy (@wagongrrl) and we had a couple of beers and chatted.  It was a great way to start this adventure.  I’ve known enough people who’ve attended CMK that I have some idea what to expect, but it will probably be different for me.  I’m looking forward to whatever gets thrown at me.  I’m especially looking forward to heading to MIT today and seeing Mitch Resnick again.  I kicked off my new career with a visit to the Media Lab.  It seems fitting to head there at a moment when I feel like I’ve succeeded beyond what I expected 4 years ago, sitting there, playing with Scratch and talking to other teachers.

If that experience kicked off 4 years of building a great program, what will this experience bring?  I don’t know, but I’m excited about it.

Road trip

I love road trips. I would rather travel by car any day. There’s just something about getting into a car loaded to the gills and setting out on the open highway. I like seeing different things along the way, stopping at different rest areas and restaurants, staying in hotels, munching on snacks, listening to music, and watching the world go by in the window. I like train travel as well, but it’s harder to do here in America.

As a kid, we road in a station wagon, often in the “way back” without seat belts. We’d play the alphabet game, finding all the letters on signs along the way. Or the license plate game, collecting license plates from all 50 states. My sister and I invented the swump bump game, where we rhythmically said “swump bump” over and over as guard rails went by. Must have driven my parents batty. We entertained ourselves with yes and no invisible ink books. And one of us would always get car sick. We almost always seemed to have car trouble in those days. I don’t know if it was because cars sucked or because my parents didn’t have enough money to maintain them. Radiators blew, alternators went, and tires busted. It was all part of the adventure.

I went with friends on road trips, riding in the third seat of a Suburban, sleeping on the floor board because there was actually enough space for that. I travelled from Memphis to Seattle to California and back, never once stopping for the night. Mr. Geeky and I made our last 24 hour road trip almost 18 years ago to the same place we’re headed to now. On that trip, our air conditioning went out, leaving us to drive in 90 degree heat with the windows down for about the last 5 hours. Now we stop for the night in hotels instead of napping on the side of the road. Our only car trouble: one flat tire in the last 18 years. It’s still an adventure, one geeky girl insists must have a sound track.

Let the adventure begin!

Off again

I’m off again later this morning, headed to the greater Boston area to look at colleges with Geeky Boy. This will be the second mother-son college trip. As Geeky Boy said, ” Mom, you’re single-handedly getting me into college.” Which isn’t true at all, though it is true that I’ve strongly suggested he do some things. Several other mothers of boys have had to do the same thing. It is what it is. Truth is, I like my trips with Geeky Boy. He’s a good travel companion and a good navigator. This will likely be the last college visit we make for a while until the applications are done, I think. Trips, in general, with Geeky Boy will soon be a thing of the past, so I can’t complain.

I am a little travel weary, though. I feel like I’ve been away more than I’ve been home. When I get back, I basically have to throw myself into work. I kind of did that yesterday, working about 5 hours. I won’t be able to do that today, though I am taking work with me. I’m grateful for the time off and that I’ve been able to travel, but I feel a bit guilty about the things I didn’t do. That stupid Protestant work ethic again.

From India to Indiana

I’m back from India and have mostly slept and run errands as I’m leaving for a family reunion in Indiana today. India was quite an experience. I have mixed feelings about whether I’d go back, but I definitely think it was worth seeing, not just for the monuments and sites, but for the culture. Being an informed and educated person, I, of course, knew a little something about India and its politics and culture, but seeing it up close gave me a new appreciation for its potential and its challenges. I also have a new appreciation for what we have here in the US. The poorest of us is in better shape than the poorest of India’s citizens. We really have too little respect for how much we have. I felt, and feel, a little guilty about the amount of sheer crap I own. I also feel bad about how we have no sense of history, and the great things places like India and other parts of Asia accomplished long before we were even a concept. Honestly I’ve been in a little bit of reverse culture shock being here. Women in shorts and spaghetti straps? What? Men in t-shirts and not collared shirts? Weird. I think I have more to say, but instead I’ll resort to pictures. Here’s my Flickr set:

T- 18 Hours

Leaving in less than 24 hours.  The last couple of days were crazy.  There were last minute details to deal with.  Grades to correct.  I can’t even remember all the little things I did yesterday.  Today I finished up my curriculum map, took a departing colleague out to lunch, and then ran around packing, emailing, calling my parents, etc.  I think I’m mostly done.  Mr. Geeky and I are going to sip wine and have a leisurely dinner.  I’m trying to keep the anxiety in check, but I’m sure sleep won’t come too easily.  See you on the flip side.

T – 2 days

I leave the day after tomorrow for India. I am beyond excited. I didn’t really have time to think about the trip during the chaos of the last few weeks, but now I’ve spent some time checking out the itinerary and scoping out the hotels online. I never thought I’d get to go on a trip like this. It’s going to be such an adventure for me and the students traveling with us.

I have set up a separate blog to chronicle the trip. I will post here some as well. Stay tuned.

A Different World

Sunset on Vermont Road by lorda
Sunset on Vermont Road, a photo by lorda on Flickr.

I spent the long weekend in Vermont, visiting a college with Geeky Boy and seeing my old friends, Bryan and Barbara. It’s another world up there in many ways. Slower, calmer, a little colder. Stunningly beautiful even in the dead of winter. I couldn’t help but take photos out the front of my car window as we drove back from skiing. Geeky Boy asked me if I could live there. I said I thought I could. Ten years ago, I would have said, “No way, not enough going on.” But now, I appreciate a slower pace, less stuff around. Both Geeky Boy and I commented on how much stuff is built up on our land around here. You can’t even see the land, really, for all the stuff.

I had to come back to a rush of classes and meetings and planning, but through it all, I tried to step back and remember the calm landscape of Vermont, just sitting there in the cold, waiting for spring.

Update 5: The weary traveler returns

London Phone BoothWe’ve been on the road for the last couple of weeks.  We went to the beach and then were home for 24 hours before heading off to London.  The trip was a gift from my dad (Thanks, Dad!) and we stayed with friends of his outside of London.  It was exceptionally nice of them to put us up for a week.  The kids had a great time even though we shuffled them off to every tourist attraction possible.  We did the Eye of London, the Tower of London, and the Natural History Museum.  We also made a trip to Oxford and to Hampton Court.  Now it’s back to reality, with some housework to catch up on, school forms to fill out, and more.  Half the summer is really gone (at least for me).  It feels weird.  I hope everyone else’s summer has been relaxing and fulfilling.

Spring Break

I am on spring break with the kids.  We headed down to Tennessee to visit with family.  The drive was mostly uneventful.  It rained and then cleared up and then got cloudy and cold again.  We spent the night on the road and fell asleep watching tv (or at least I did).

We arrived early-ish for us and since my dad was off at work, we decided to go entertain ourselves.  So I took the kids to the mall. To the arcade.  Because that’s basically what there is to do around here.  Which is exactly what there was to do around here when I was their age.  They’re tired of hearing me talk about that though.  I keep saying, “Wow. There was nothing here when I was a kid.  And that used to be . . .”  They’ve already told me to quit at least once.

Today, we’re planning to stop by my future sister-in-law’s house and help paint or clean and/or other manual labor.  She closed on it on Monday and they start the process of moving at the end of April.  She, too, is on spring break, spending her time scraping wallpaper.  She says she keeps seeing other things she wants to do.  I said that never ends.  We are also going to go play mini-golf while my dad plays real golf.  It’s supposed to be in the mid-70s this afternoon.  I also need to buy some shoes at some point and one nice thing about the development around here is there is at least some decent shopping.

Geeky Boy got a new phone just before our trip and it includes unlimited texting.  So guess what he’s been doing a lot of?  Last night, however, he was playing around with the security settings and locked himself out and now we have to go buy him a new sim card.  Sigh.  We don’t need to go to exotic places to have interesting adventures.  Not when you have a teenager with you.

More reports from the trip to follow.  If small town life doesn’t interest you, come back next week.