Is it really December 30th? Are we actually just TWO days away from a new year? Is this the last Wednesday we’ll ever see of 2015? Time is such an incredible thing. We wake up, we go about our day, we sleep, and time just continues to move along, whether we acknowledge it or not. Let’s take a step back and reflect on my five favorite moments of 2015— and I encourage you to do the same!
Starting anew. In September, I made the brave decision to tell my colleagues and students that the 2014-2015 school year would be my last at that institution. It was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever shared. I love that school, my students, my friends, but I knew I wanted more. I knew that I’d spent so much time there as a teacher, dorm parent, and advisor that I’d forgotten who I was outside of those roles. Boarding school life is so unique and wonderful, but it’s also quite time consuming in every way, shape, and form. I knew I was more than just a teacher, but I didn’t have the time or space to figure out who that was, so I took a leap of faith and, quite prematurely, submitted my imaginary letter of resignation. We all took it hard, but work still needed to be done. In January and early February, I was submitting application upon application to schools of interests, and between February and March, I was going from plane to plane interviewing at my top choice schools. I eventually landed back home in Chicago, and even though I am 100% Chicago born and raised, it all feels so new and foreign. Starting over is never easy. In fact, it down right sucks, but is it worth it? Most definitely.
Successfully adulting. Because I decided to move back to Chicago and out of boarding school, I’ve been forced to be a full fledged adult. I own my own place, purchased a new car at the end of August, have a nice job, and (usually) pay my bills on time. So what if I still eat cereal and watch cartoons! I think I have this adulting thing down.
Traveling. I traveled a lot this year, but my favorite place (by far) was Brazil. Towards the end of March, I spent two weeks exploring Rio de Janeiro, Praia de Forte, Itaparica, and Salvador with over twenty of my students. Touring with high school sophomores was a great experience in and of itself, but stepping off our lengthy flight and onto Brazil’s roughly paved terrain was absolutely magical. To be in this country where the majority of its population look exactly like you, but speak a different language and embrace a different culture was mind blowing. I felt as though I fit in perfectly, yet at the same time stuck out like a sore thumb. Whether we were in favelas listening to the stories of its inhabitants, walking through grungy alleyways for our first capoeira class, snorkeling in Brazil’s gorgeous waters, or learning about Brazil’s complicated and deep-seeded history of race and poverty, I occupied an interesting space as a Black American and not an Afro-Brazilian (though I was oftentimes mistaken for the latter). It is an experience I’ll never forget, and I look forward to my return to a home and a sense of peace I never knew could exist—a place I never knew I longed for, and a place I never knew but missed nonetheless.
Extending family. On September 26th, my beautiful baby nephew came into this world. He is the light of the sun, the glow of the moon, the gentle touch of rain against your window. He’s growing so quickly and doing so much already, it’s unbelievable. I am blessed.
Sprouting seeds. Trust me, I’m no gardener. I don’t particularly care for getting dirty and I absolutely abhor bugs, so the idea of watering seeds is strictly metaphorical. I’d like to think of seeds as my dreams, and I have a lot of them. Whether they are goals for my personal life or aspirations I have for my professional life, I’ve spent much of this year thinking about, carefully planting, and watering those seeds. It has taken a lot of time, patience, energy, and great care, but as we reach the end of 2015, I am happy to say I have begun to see the fruits of that labor, I have begun to see the sprouting of my seedlings, and I can’t wait to see them in full bloom in 2016!
What are five moments you loved most about 2015? Comment below, and have a safe, prosperous, and happy happy new year!