On August 24, 2015 a new academic year at Qingdao Amerasia International School began. I wrote about it claiming that many worlds had been born that day. A few births and blossoming of ideas after, today this year came to an end.
As I walked the hallways in the school, I could hear the voices of the stories that were born in the classrooms; some of them were being put into boxes, and some were waiting to be locked inside cupboards in order for them to ‘summernate’ in preparation for the next academic year. Teachers looked equally busy, although the halo of their energy wore different colors. My footsteps cautious, my eyes curious, and my spirit receptive, I started to wonder how what will happen with everything that found its nest in the classroom; with the ideas and characters to which learners and teachers opened their arms.
How do we pack voices?
How will we know where the ideas shared will go?
What will the many characters played throughout the year be doing this summer? Reading one of the books someone mentioned? Watching one of the movies someone used to give an example? Traveling the stories that were written on the dozen pages that were produced? Whatever they do and wherever they go, they will certainly (and always) have a home in the hours between the day worlds were born and their closure.
Next week it will be my turn. I will be packing books and personal goods in my office to move to the 11th floor of the building, and I cannot help but wonder about the shadows of the days we leave behind; about how they were ears and eyes to moments; and how they were solid ground to movement and exploration.
A little bit bitter, but sweet at the very end- like a candy, that is how last days of school feel when the year has been intense, and one’s spirit needs to rest and let all learning sink and become an integral part of everything that means ‘us’ in essence.
This was the first year when I did not spend most of my time in a classroom of mine, but in classrooms that were shared spaces where I was either a co-teacher, a guest, or an observer. Nonetheless, this has been the first time that I have felt like I was juggling with balls of different energies and temperaments, and, conversely, this idea causes me to think about the experiences lived this year.
What to do with those experiences that defined moments, that challenged convictions, and that open doors to roads that are waiting for us to walk them?
I have decided to celebrate them this summer. I will savor them slowly as I do with the flavors that linger in my mouth after a good meal; I will treasure them like the drink from which I sip slowly; I will regard them as the photo that I contemplate; and I will talk about them as if they were the words that I receive as if they were a prayer. I will value each letter I wrote as I value each of the cents I spend. I will praise each good idea I produced like I value each new friend that I make. I will follow the wishes that were born in this year’s experience as faithfully as my shadow follows me.
As I think of the summer that lays between today and a new academic year, I see new mistakes dying to occur; new opportunities waiting to emerge; truncated stories waiting for the new page to turn so they can continue; and harsh journeys that were put on hold to contemplate and reflect statically looking forward to welcoming us with gentle arms.
For this reason, I urge you to pack your school spirits well. Those that keep you company when you learn and unlearn, make them rest comfortably, so that when you unpack them and they see your face after the summer they are ready to hear your stories and travel with you again.