We’ve spent the last 5 weeks in the US — we’re actually heading to the airport to return to Taiwan as I type. (Please forgive any typos. I’m posting on my phone.) It’s been a full but restful summer. We took part in an incredible rainbow-themed wedding, road-tripped around New England in my in-laws’ tricked out RV with my parents, and hit more thrift stores than I can count. :) Will write a separate road-trip post later (hopefully).
My in-laws have an amazing home. They own 100 acres on a mountain in Western PA. We spent much of our visit taking the four-wheeler around the woods, eating outside, sitting in the hot tub, swimming. It’s the perfect summer destination and I am so thankful for their hospitality (both to us and our visiting friends!).
I have newly come to love audiobooks. I want to write a separate post just on this, but in short, I got AirPods and a Brooklyn Public Library account and it’s changed my reading life dramatically. I’ve found I most enjoy listening to nonfiction and reading fiction.
I’ve read A LOT this summer! Best books so far: Less by Andrew Sean Greer; Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz; Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong; two biographies about RBG; and Elizabeth Warren’s A Fighting Chance. I’ve also listened to a bunch of parenting books (not my usual thing, but my daughter is pre-teening hard, so...)
I purchased a black maxi-dress with a minimal white floral print our first day back and I’ve worn it all summer! Seriously—I’ve probably worn it twice a week for the past 5 weeks. It is so nice to stumble upon an item of clothing that is so versatile. This has basically been the summer of my black dress and my thrift-store huaraches (which I have worn every single day since I purchased them).
As I’m approaching middle-age (I’m 35), I have started to find makeup interesting. Favorite additions — a beauty blender and highlighter. Now I’m on the hunt for the perfect MLBB lipstick.
I have also jumped on the natural skincare bandwagon. Coconut oil at bedtime and (diluted) apple cider vinegar mornings and evenings, and my face has never been clearer or more healthy-feeling. Lucy is not a fan of the ACV smell. She recoiled the first time she sniffed my newly-cleaned face and exclaimed, “That’s the opposite of perfume. That’s like STINK-fume.” Still worth it.
This is the first year in a loooong time I haven’t followed the World Cup beyond headlines. I’m sad about this. The WC has been my version of the Olympics. I used to always make predictions about what will change in our lives by the next WC. Four years is enough time to bring about major life changes. I have no predictions for 2022. I think partly it’s because we’re getting to the stage of life when loved ones are aging and I’ve become constantly more aware of the fragility of the world. It feels like a sharp turn from the optimistic daydreaming I’ve felt when making four-year predictions in the past. Am I more cynical or just more aware? Maybe it really is just that I’m getting older.
I have so much gratitude for the summer vacation that comes with being a teacher. It is such a gift to be able to be with my kids while they’re on break (I still remember the stress of arranging summer daycare) and have the TIME to travel.
I am finally thinking ahead to the rapidly approaching school year. It’s going to be the first year in which I’ll have the same teaching load as the previous year. I LOVE teaching juniors and seniors. The only thing I don’t like is getting attached to seniors and then having to say goodbye.
I gave the commencement speech this year. It was so nerve-wracking but also such an honor. Funny surprise — just as I was joking about “roasting” the seniors, one of them fell off the risers. It was really funny (because she didn’t get hurt).
Hard to post photos with spotty internet on the road, but here’s one of Lucy catching a dish within seconds of grabbing hold of the pole: