Thursday, January 24, 2013

4 Times the Charm...The 4 Month Mark!

And so it came and went, in the blink of an eye...the 4 month mark.  How quickly time has decided to speed up on me (sneaky little bugger that time is) for now the constant concerns and questions are simply, is there enough time?  do I have enough time left here?  My how things have changed in just 4 short (yet very long) months.  The things I fret about these days are “normal"...lesson ideas and that of preparing for lessons when a teacher decides to throw you for a loop, preparing for the next wave of Erasmus students for my University class, making lists of the things that I still have to see and experience here, and excitingly...preparing for my sister's visit, which just yesterday felt like it was a ways away but is now down to just two weeks from today...can't.wait!

These norms led me to reflect before sitting down to write this entry because the shocker to me in all of this is the realization that I have truly come to have a genuine life here in Malta, one that is my own, one that I am completely settled in and truly enjoying only to know that in a little over 4 months, it will be over.  As much as things have truly settled, the hard(er) work will soon begin...preparing for life AFTER Fulbright, AFTER Malta...le sigh.  I can honestly tell you I am not completely sure how I feel about that and allow me to explain why.

Not a typical outdoor Maltese lunch unless you are joined by the local cats!
I live on an island in the Mediterranean that is but 17 miles long yet is really beautiful and quaint and simple.  Coming from NYC, this is something I truly craved, more than I originally thought.  I am teaching in a Girls' Secondary State School that is certainly not without its' flaws but has some students I have come to truly care and worry about and will miss terribly when I leave.  I work with teachers that welcome me as one of their own, that value my opinion and respect my views and look out for me and my best interests.  To hear students tell me that they missed me on my days off or to be told that my toughest class asked for me and wondered why I was not in class and if it had to do with me “not liking them anymore" whereas before they couldn't give a darn actually has brought tears to my eyes. To see my students eyes widen during a lesson on New York when I discussed country, state and population size differences and especially when they saw that NYC is a very small part to the rest of the state or that it takes me about 6 hours to fly from NYC to California and share a good laugh with them over it, gives me a sense of connection.  It is an amazing feeling to stand before a class and have them ask a million questions about what it is like to be from the U.S. but to push them to explain to me why they are so enthralled with NYC and why they want to go there and see them begin with simple answers as “because it is big" to then watch them freely express their reasons, in English, when they hesitate to speak the language otherwise, and say things like “because it represents opportunity, opportunity we don't have here" and to know they are only 12-13 years old proves to me that my being here has opened their minds as to just how big the rest of the world is,  it shows me that I am making a difference, albeit a small one, but a difference nonetheless...we have to crawl before we can walk right? To see my University students take their assignments seriously when it is a class that does not count towards their GPA, all because they want to improve their English and are grateful for the help, is great motivation to want to always be better and more for your students.  As you can see there is a lot one can find themselves getting attached to.  How do I just walk away from this and these people come June?  Malta is not exactly around the corner from my house so this is certainly a concern for me.

Q: What does one do when they feel they are getting too attached?  
A: Why they find ways to get even further attached, of course.

A couple of weeks ago I began volunteering with the North Malta Girl Guides.  I am working with the District 14 St. Joseph's School Chapter in Sliema, the largest on the island.  Now, I was never a Girl Scout or Girl Guide at home so of course I thought I would be perfect for this.  Turns out, it is working out great.  Another extension of my community is growing, another perspective to investigate further, another way to experience this island and its' people from a completely different aspect, another group of people that it will be very hard to say goodbye to come June.  All part of the experience right?  No?  Well, actually, yes.  These are the moments that help mold us and our lives, that allow us to live and show us that we are living.  Life is never easy, no matter which way you look at it, as the saying goes “all good things come to an end" but the catch with that saying is making sure you remember to enjoy the moment.  As I stated earlier, when I first started this blog, this experience will be very much a ride for me...there have been ups and downs, highs and lows; there have been good times and bad, happy times and sad times and that will continue to be the case because for every joy here, there is sadness-missing my family, missing my dogs, and soon it will be that for every joy that will come from being back home, there will be an incredible sadness with Malta and those I will leave in June, hence the importance of moments and memories which are all part of the overall experience.  There is that word again:-).  So, the way I look at it is this, I can sit and wallow about the fact that my time here is almost up or I can really enjoy the time I have left with these special people-teachers, students and friends, and not take anything for granted so that when June rolls around it will not be goodbye but see you later, Malta, as it will always be a second home to me.  

So what is my point in all of my rambling...well, basically, being scared is a constant theme throughout this process...I was scared of moving here, of missing my family, friends and dogs, of what to expect, of the unknown and now I'm scared for different reasons and that's helps remind me that I am human.  Sometimes scared is good.  For all of the unknown that awaited me before I got here, a new unknown awaits for my return home but no matter what happens next...Joan of Arc said it best...“I am not afraid, I was born to do this".  And so I am. Bring on the next 4 months.

*Note: No recap list for this entry as I think it is pretty obvious as to why- bad fashion and crazy bus drivers are clearly part of my “norm", oh and we finally bought a coffee maker and Melissa's parents brought of bags of Dunkin Donuts so all is now right in the world:-).  I tell ya, it's the little things, people that can make someone oh so happy!

Until next time


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