I know that it is the third day of my trip and this is only the first picture I have shared on my blog. I am usually a little bit better than this, but I am sorry to report that I have not been any place really exciting yet. So far, it has been sitting around the house and bracing myself against the gloom of the Portland fog. I did have to escape once to go out and finish my Christmas shopping. In all truth, I had to go out and start my Christmas shopping, but luckily enough I really did not have a lot of shopping that I had to do. This has always been a problem with me ever since I have become a teacher. December is a busy time of the year for people who teach high school English. I always have a stack of final essays to go through and I do not have a lot of time for anything else. Fortunately, most schools get out with enough time for me to go out and get this other thing done before the actual holiday. Over the last couple of years, I have spent my time sitting in front of a computer and having everything sent by Amazon. It is an easy and convenient way of doing this, but I really need to go to the website knowing what it is I am getting everybody because there really is no browsing going on. Considering I am usually a few thousand miles away from the people receiving the gifts, somehow this impersonal approach works, but I do not know if they really appreciate what they are getting. That is why I think that the malls are a better shopping option. It makes me go out and find that perfect gift for everybody. I go out looking with nothing in mind of what I am going to get, and go out and search for the one that will make them happy. It takes some stumbling around as I look, and I do have to fight Christmas shoppers, and battle for parking spots, but I think that I get something better by going through it this way. It is the only thing that I have done so far on this holiday away from school that did not involve traveling from one spot to another. I know that things will get more exciting as the weeks progress, but for now it is all about the buildup. It might be the boring part of the story, but it is necessary to making a good one.
I know what a lot of you just did. You screamed loudly and clicked off of this blog post because there was no way that you ever wanted to read a long post about traveling through airports. It is the comedians cliche. It is the third topic that should never be spoken about at bars after religion and politics. It is something that nobody ever enjoys, yet there is always a large group of people congregated at the airports around the world looking to shift their location from one place to another. And this time of the year seems to bring a bigger group of people to these places.
But do not worry. I will try not to bore you with the details. There were the typical delays. The lunches being held down on the shaky approaches in. And of course, there were the long hours wandering around the airports, looking for ways to make the time go quicker. But there was a certain excitement in the air as well that I had not felt before a long airplane flight for a very long time.
It could have been that I had just finished one of the hardest semesters I have ever been through in my educational career. It wasn’t because my students were cruel, or because administration was always breathing down my back. In fact, in both of those cases, they were both some of the greatest students I have ever had the pleasure of teaching, and after a couple of stumbles with a new administration, they are finally finding their stride and making a community at the school that makes a great environment to teach and grow in. It was just the fact that I had taken on a little bit more than I could chew, and it really ran me ragged. This break was something I was looking forward to, and the vacation would be one that I would take full advantage of.
It could have been that I took the school bus out the airport as soon as the last day of school was over, and I had an opportunity to visit with people that I usually do not get to hang out with, due to the fact that we live in different parts of the city. The extra time that I got to spend in the airports was actually fun, and added to the excitement that I would be traveling to a different part of the world for the holiday season.
But I think the real reason that this trip was not that I was dreading so much was that it was a last minute decision to go home for Christmas instead of spending the holiday season in Vietnam and Thailand. There were certain events happening in that part of the world that required our attention during the break, and it made sense that we would be down there then. But then the situation suddenly changed, and it didn’t make sense to go down there anymore. We were left with the option of picking from anywhere in the world. Of course, we only had two weeks to really decide where we would go, but only one place really made sense, home. I know we spent the holiday season in the States last year, and it wold be like going over the same routine again, but there is really nothing like spending the holidays with the people you love. It brings with it the warmth and joy that you always think of when you think of the holidays. It was in anticipation of this warmth that made the twenty-four hours spent in the world’s airports and planes worth the time. The delays, bad food, and turbulence could not bring me down as I slowly made my way home, and now that I am here, I can just relax and enjoy a much needed break.
So for all of you that will be going through the same experience in the next couple of days, try to find that joy that you know you will eventually get to, and do not let the long time that airport travel forces you into bring you down. It will make everybody else’s experience even that much brighter, and this holiday season will be a joyous one for all.