August 11th 2008, I began the school year with great gusto, energetically collaborating with other teachers, planning lessons, and setting up my classroom. The students arrived on August 19th and from then until Christmas it was all teaching all the time. Days began at 8am and tasks such as planning and grading papers often extended until 9pm. Saturdays were rest days and Sundays were work days. I’ll admit, there were some short breaks, Labor Day was a nice holiday and the two days for Thanksgiving was quite restful. But overall, my work was my life and my life was my work. After two weeks of Christmas break, I returned to the daily routine with nary a day off until May.
Given the grueling (yet greatly rewarding!) work schedule, you can imagine the joy I felt arriving in Maui on May 24th. A week with no plans and no responsibilities! Quite honestly, I marveled that such a thing could truly exist! How had I never done this before? Backpacking trips have been enjoyable and family vacations agreeable, but each of these involves plans and responsibilities. For Maui, the agenda items can be summarized quite succintly, “sit on the beach” and “eat fresh food.” It is with great pride that I can report that all agenda items were addressed and the objectives were met.
Along the way other things were added to the itinerary. The best was certainly a luau and feast of foods from Pacific Islands where we devoured the most moist and flavorful pork that has ever existed, tried and loved chicken and taro leaf in coconut milk, and guzzled sweet and delicious lava flows. Another trip highlight was certainly parasailing. I never knew how quiet it is 1000 feet up in the air. The sensation of flying was also obviously quite spectacular.
Although, the various excursions were generally fun, the best part was simply sitting on the beach, reading and soaking up the sun. Thanks to vitamins from Mom and Aunt Helen, I dutifully received enough Vitamin D throughout the dark winter. But it turns out that laying out in the sun makes you happier than taking a chewable vitamin. And it also turns out that relaxing, after a year of hard work, really is quite marvelous!