While I felt a bit overwhelmed that first week and developed a nice cold by the weekend, I managed to recuperate enough for the class trip to Catalina Island. The trip over via boat was a bit rough, especially when two kids threw up on the boat rather than off the side of the boat. However, the idea of spending 4 days in a beautiful setting, doing things like kayaking, hiking and snorkeling appealed enough to minimize any regrets I might have had on the boat ride over, and the experience ended up being even better than I had expected, which almost never happens when it comes to class trips! Even though I was still dealing with sinus issues, I really enjoyed the trip - it was a great way to get to know the kids, many of whom I teach, and Catalina was/is just beautiful. We stayed right in this cove (see the photo) and had amazing views every single day, especially at sunrise. The water was amazingly clear and I even jumped off the pier several times, once as part of the "polar bear" early morning swim. It was also pretty great for animal viewing, such as bison and deer (not native to the island, but current inhabitants), and I also saw a bald eagle, plenty of fish, and sea lions, which liked to come out to play and watch us while we were kayaking!
After a few days away from the comforts of home, however, I was okay that we returned when we did - there is nothing like a nice hot shower! Plus, my stomach needed a break after eating like an adolescent for 4 days straight. Not that I minded the hotdogs, hamburgers, homemade cinnamon rolls but by the time we had burritos for dinner the last night, I was more than happy to return to a slightly healthier diet.
So, returning to classes this past Monday felt more like the OFFICIAL start, the week that I get to know my students and really start teaching. I'm beginning to get into a rhythm and to figure out my schedule this year, both in and out of the classroom. There is enough stability from last year to this year (same class preps as last year) that I don't feel too crazed and I can take on a few new responsibilities, like middle school cross country, which starts next week! In terms of extracurricular fun, I actually got in a solid training week this past week, even making it to the pool at 5:30 am twice. At this point, I'm not in major training mode because a) it is September and I fall apart training-wise during the fall and b) I don't have a MAJOR event in the near future. Yes, there is an early October race, but I just want to finish it without too much suffering and while I would have been gunning for a PR, it would not have been a very realistic goal. So, maintaining a decent fitness base in the swim-bike-run realm is my main (only?) objective at the moment. Good thing, because I would feel pretty sucky if I expected much more of myself!
Finally, home ownership, still quite new to us, seems to be going well. We just had the exterior painted and that change makes it feel much more ours, for whatever reason. After stressing about the colors, we're happy with the final result - good thing too! I still find myself a bit grumpy when we spend time and money on the weekend at the Home Depot (or Despot), but I also begrudgingly recognize that it is worth both.
(Hello, California bungalow!)
So, that's where things are. Not too much that I'd call "exciting", but that's okay too.