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A Mini Lesson in Work-Life Balance

September 8, 2013

As I previously wrote about, I’ve been feeling anxious and off-kilter lately. A few items helped me to feel a little more stable:

1.) Frida Restaurante–I walked in here for a Wednesday work happy hour and immediately felt at home (and, yes, you read that correctly. It was a Wednesday work happy hour…which is one of two reasons why it’s the first time I’ve gone since school started). I love warm colors (my last NYC apartment was painted a mustard yellow with a sea foam green kitchen) and this place had it.

I opened up the menu and was reminded that I was at a Mexican restaurant. Then I felt REALLY at home. Being from Texas, tacos, fajitas, beans, and rice are as much my comfort foods as are macaroni and cheese, barbecue, and grits. With smoke announcing its presence, the sound of a sizzling plate of fajitas served in a cast iron skill  will calm me down any day. It definitely did last Wednesday (along with two of the best-tasting margaritas I’ve ever had). It didn’t hurt that I respect Frida Kahlo’s spirit too. She was a woman ahead of her times who made it work. If she could, so can I.

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2.) An overnight beach trip to Cienega. Or at least I think it was Cienega. The point is is that I was willing to go on a trip during a regular weekend knowing that I have work on Monday. A lot of work. This time I didn’t pack papers to grade. I didn’t think about lessons waiting to be planned. I went and enjoyed myself. I took the two and a half hour ride up through winding mountain roads and beach towns to refill myself. Plain and simple.

DSC03218The beach food helped me to refill too (frozen peach juice, fried red snapper, salad, and tostones–fried plantain)

I’m slowly breaking out of my work-a-holic mindset. Or, rather, I’m learning how to work more efficiently so that I can enjoy my weekends. I’m learning that there will always be something to do and I need to forgive myself for not doing “that one last thing” that will make for the almighty Amazing Lesson. In other words, I need to get over the fact that I am not a teacher martyr and have no interest in living like Hilary Swank in The Freedom Writers.  I have to live my life. And I’m living it in Venezuela, a geographically beautiful country, not behind my teacher desk long after the kids have gone and forgotten to do their homework.

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The last picture is of the posada (kind of like an inn) the group stayed in. It came with a typical Venezuelan breakfast of arepas with your choice of black beans, fish, or cheese or empanadas.

3.) Skype–there’s (more) consistent internet in my apartment now. I’ve been Skyping from home and it feels so nice to talk to loved ones in the privacy of my home instead of after hours at work.

4.) Essence Magazine–Thank God for digital technology. I get so excited when my Nook tells me there’s a new issue. I wasn’t too impressed with the Kelly Rowland interview last month, but the current issue’s Viola Davis interview??? That’s the way, the truth, and the light. Why I love Essence magazine will deserve a post in and of itself.

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