Monday, August 9, 2010

A rose by any other name...

Before I get too far into this blog I should address the multiple meanings of the title “Teach, Learn, Run.” I see it as a list of things that my life is and will be comprised of in the next year, and hopefully for many more beyond that.

Teaching is first and foremost my profession. I will teach the English language. I will teach about American culture, and I will teach a valuable life skill that will open up a whole new world to my students that they will be able to navigate confidently. They will be children at the time that I teach them, but if they continue with what I teach them they will go far in life. I hope I’m not being too ambitious, and I hope it ends up being every bit as fulfilling as I imagine it will be, but only time will tell.

Learning and teaching go hand in hand. One of my biggest goals in the next year is learning and becoming as close to fluent as I can in Spanish. Just as I am teaching a foreign language, I will be acquiring one myself. But that’s not all the learning I’ll be doing. Among my wide variety of expectations and aspirations for the year are learning about Spanish history and culture, how to cook (well!), learning about my students, their lives, and their frame of mind. But most importantly, (this sounds really selfish) I will learn about myself. I will be more independent than I have ever been, and I look forward to discovering how I will adapt to that.

Last but not least, I will run, metaphorically and literally. To say that I am running away from my life in California is not really accurate, I’m just choosing to have wings rather than roots, at least for the time being. On the more literal side, I will run, as I always have. For those of you who don’t know, I was a runner in high school, a sprinter to be more specific, and I was damn good at it. One choice I made that I will always wonder about (not a regret, just a curiosity) is whether or not I could have been a successful runner in college as well. By the end of my senior year I had decided that I wanted to focus on academics in college, which made sense because I had accepted a full academic scholarship to UC Riverside. After my last track meet ever, my coach told me that scouts from UCR had asked about me. I brushed them off and chose not to reciprocate the interest. I don’t regret this because I wouldn’t give up any of the experiences I had in college, but I sometimes wonder how things would have been different.

But back to the present day, one of the key ingredients in my life is running. Transitioning from a competitive sprinter to a leisurely distance runner was and still is difficult at times, but running makes me feel healthy and well, and it gives such an amazing natural high. Call me a masochist, but I absolutely love being sore after a good workout. You know, the kind of sore where you try to get out of bed the next morning and you collapse on the floor because your legs don’t work; or the kind that makes you realize you have muscles in places you’ve never used them before. This all makes me very happy. I have been known to quote Elle Woods because I really do believe these words: “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” So to my future husband, you don’t have to worry about me killing you.

I’m excited to find new places to run in Málaga. I’ve discovered that I enjoy the act of running, not just the aftermath, much more when I’m exploring new places. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying running in Central Park, and tonight I ran through Riverside State Park for about two hours (Which, unlike the Riverside of my alma mater, is actually along SIDE a RIVER; who would’ve thought?!). I found an all weather track, which I did a mile and a half on before getting bored of going in circles, and then I continued up the Hudson River, which was much more scenic. I do have to say though, that I very much enjoyed the track for the way it smelled. There’s really nothing like the smell of an all weather track under your feet; I wish there had been some starting blocks and hurdles for me to play with.

If anyone is wondering, yes, the parallel between my title and the novel Eat, Pray, Love is intentional. I’m about half way through the book right now, so I can’t go into it fully, but there are elements of similarity between her story and mine. It’s a true story about a woman who got out of a very bitter divorce (this is the dissimilar part) and spent a year traveling on a journey of self-discovery (this is the similar part). I can’t relate to everything about her story, but I really like the passion, motivation, and fearlessness she exhibits and I hope my story ends up being equally inspirational. (Although unlike her, I don’t have a publisher footing the bill for my traveling so that I can write a book about it. Bummer.) I’ll let you know when I finish the book what my final thoughts are on the matter.

(Which reminds me, I love that I take a subway everyday instead of driving, because that means more reading time! It makes me happy to see so many people reading on their way to work. I kind of have a restored faith in humanity knowing that more people actually read books than I would have imagined.)

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