For most everyone, January marks the start of the new year. Glasses are raised, resolutions (or the more trendy “intentions”) are made, and everyone gets their bum to the gym. For at least a week.
For those of us in education, August and September are the start of our new year. Even at nearly thirty five, I have new school clothes and a fresh box of smelly markers ready to break out in just a few weeks. I feel the same excitement and well-placed energy as one does at the traditional start of the year so it seems like the right time to examine where we headed as we go into our third year in Mumbai. After all, I want to be sure I avoid the dreaded expat three year syndrome.
In honor of my
twelfth thirteenth year of teaching, I present twelve thirteen intentions (I’m trendy) for the Kasky family for the 2013-2014 school year.
- The Year of the Staycation
It’s no secret that a big part of the reason we live overseas is to take advantage of the different travel opportunities. And we have! During the last five years we’ve traveled to Peru, Argentina, Columbia, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and various locations throughout Brazil and India. This year, though, I’d like to spend some time (and save some money) getting to know Mumbai. There are markets we haven’t been to, Elephanta Island, the Prince of Wales museum, and there seem to be quite a few nearby outdoor adventures that we could take advantage of. I’m not sure I can stomach the idea of a Mumbai Christmas staycation, but we have a few four and five day breaks I can start with.
- Mise en Place
We are lucky enough to have someone prepare dinner each night. Since both Paul and I work full time and often don’t arrive home until after 5, it is wonderful to be able to come home and play with the kids rather than hanging out in kitchen cooking. Truth is though, I miss it. I definitely take pride in preparing a health dinner for my family and I’d like to get in the habit of having Mavis get everything “mise en place” for me so that I can prepare the meal, but cut out the prep time.
- Date Nights
The few times that Paul and I have made date nights (whether heading out or staying in) a priority I think we both are happier. It is so easy to forget about each other in the busyness of working and raising kids. I like this list for some ideas. It would be fun to take turns picking through the list between now and June. Friday nights are usually family movie nights, so I am thinking Saturday would be a great date night.
- Bloom Where You Are Planted
Part of what we do (and probably everyone does) is think about all the amazing things we could be doing instead of what we are doing right this very moment. But the truth is, we have some great things happening-jobs we love, happy and healthy kids, an interesting city, and tentative long term plans that we can focus on chipping away at. I want to enjoy where we are right this very minute. This quote from St. Francis de Sales stands out to me:
“Truly charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts
by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence.” I want to focus on this daily.
- Save, Save, Save
I’m hoping year three will be less expensive than years past. We aren’t moving internationally or cross country, buying a car, furnishing a new place, etc…We SHOULD be able to live pretty frugally. I bring clothes and shoes back for the kids, so groceries and basic household items are our biggest expense. I think it is worth it to splurge on a club membership so we can enjoy the long hot days by the pool (six months or so), a great gym, and the occasional family brunch or after dinner swim. I don’t, however, want to head to Zara on a Sunday and drop big cash just because I couldn’t think of something else to do!
Skype, email, texting, handwritten cards, blogs, facebook, and instagram are all great ways for us to stay in touch with family and friends back home. I’d like to be sure I’m connecting somehow on a daily basis and use Saturdays and Sundays for regular Skype conversations.
I am pretty good about reading a variety of books throughout the year, but I want to be sure to read a few Indian “classics”. This list from Goodreads is my starting point.
Tomorrow I’ll finish up my intentions. Thirteen is a lot and I want to be thoughtful about each one!