Sunday, November 30, 2008

Teacher Appreciation Dinner + Kizilay + Animals

Could someone that understands cats please tell us what these cats outside our apartment are doing?

The rest of this post will feature only photos and videos, in an attempt to save time so I can get my graduate work done and skype with my in-laws.  The great part about that for you is that now you get to try to fill in the blanks yourself with stories that are probably better than the real ones.

We'll fill in the story gaps tomorrow after we see our colleagues and piece everything together.

Then without ever going back home, it's on to dinner.

And of course, would it be any kind of Turkish party if the night didn't end like this?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Eating turkey in Turkey

Last night, Chris and I spent our first married Thanksgiving eating turkey in Turkey, and it was great.

Our principal and his family were kind enough to open their house to a Thanksgiving feast, and to Thanksgiving feasters.

All the Americans brought the food, and the Aussies, Turks, Canadians, Scots and others enjoyed.

Before leaving the house, Chris realized that this would be the perfect opportunity to use some of the gummy teeth that we forgot to use at Halloween.

The Stovetop I made wasn't quite as frightening. A huge hit in fact.

When we arrived at the dinner there were kiddos, families and people from all across the BUPS spectrum.

This is Merrill and I before dinner:

Our lovely hostess Lara getting the turkey ready for the table:

One of our graduate school professors and his wife:

Dan (ES Principal), Paul (4th), Chris (MS Principal) and Chris (I know CW has his eyes closed, but you already know what he looks like right?):

Part of the spread:

Dan, our principal gave a really nice toast before we all dug-in. I was definitely thinking of you guys.

Jim (HS Principal), Chris (MS Principal), Paul (4th), and me:

Turkeys in Turkey eating turkey:

Chris and pies:

(Alright. I think I've exacted enough photo revenge in the last few posts to make up for the picture Chris posted of me post getting my wisdom teeth pulled.)

You can see the rest of the photos on Picasa.

And a lot of people were asking how big their place is, how many people were there, etc... This video should give you a sense of the atmosphere. nice.

We stayed out at the Kellers for about three hours, then came home and skyped with the Mathis clan.

We then laid in bed and thought about how lucky we are.

Not just to have family and friends that love us so much, but to have consistent air pressure, a planet that makes predictable revolutions around the Sun, enough tea that we can spare some to burn for fun, and of course, so lucky to have each other.

Yeah for starting off the holiday season getting along!

Hope everyone had a peaceful Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day (some more)

I am so thankful that last night Chris and I managed to work out our miscommunications.

I'm thankful for pre-marital counseling and thankful for our pre-marital counselor.

You know it's been a good talk when afterwards you find yourself with your spouse in the kitchen burning packets of tea on the gas stovetop...just to see what will happen.

We tried our best to inject festive cheer at BUPS this morning.

We'll try some more at dinner tonight.

I'm thankful this year for:

Healthy new moms and babies

Healthy experienced Moms (ready for grandbabies)



A husband




Aunts and Uncles

Taco shells

New adventures

And principal's willing to have 70 people over for Thanksgiving dinner in Turkey...

Gobble, gobble!!!

Happy Turkey Day, by Christopher

Happy Turkey Day from Turkey.

No one celebrates Thanksgiving over here, so Sarah and I are at work plugging away as usual. But we're going to a great Thanksgiving party tonight at our principal's house. There should be multiple turkey's and tons of good food.

All the same, it's very hard not to feel a little sad today. This is the first Thanksgiving I have ever been away from my family. I'm definitely missing my parents today. I know Sarah wishes she could be with her family today, too.

But my greatest feeling today is one of thanks.

I'd like to thank our sponsors, whoever or whatever they are, for making my life possible. And thanks for my wife, who I had a great conversation with last night and who tolerates and even enjoys my antics sometimes.

Big thanks to my Mom and Dad. I will miss my Mom's fantastic cooking and her laugh. I will miss watching my Dad carve the bird up, I guess I've watched that once a year on this day for my whole life. And I'll miss his hugs. I'll miss my grandma and aunts and uncles and all the rest of my family.

I'll miss the Mathis clan so much this year. Holidays at the Mathis house are long, funny and ful of great people. And there's no way to say thanks to all of my friends individually for their kindness, their humor and their love. Thanks so much to each of you for the emails, the packages and the mail. They have kept us going during difficult times.

Turkey is a great place but I left a great place to come here. Most importantly, I left great people. I'm thinking of all of you today and looking forward to breathing the same air as you in less than a month's time.

Thanksgiving Love,


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday Mailbag, by Christopher

Sarah and I have lately been having the kind of miscommunications that thirty minute sitcoms are made of. Except these haven't been particularly funny to either of us.

These last couple of weeks have been a rough patch in the normally easy course of our marriage.

We've been having these extremely time-consuming and energy-sapping disagreements, and then discovering that the problem came down to one of us not understanding what the other one was saying in the first place.

So tonight, we're going to sit down and talk for real. We've set aside thirty minutes, fifteen minutes each, during which we can say to each other whatever we feel or think. The other one will just listen and understand. Then we're going to ask clarifying questions if needed. Then I'm not going to immediately try to solve everything and Sarah's not going to play the devil's advocate.

We'll just shake hands, and go to sleep. That's the plan, anyway.

So we have no Wednesday Mailbag because nobody asked any questions of us or of Mr. Mahoganyboard. Instead I offer this quick glimpse into the real-world challenges in our real-world marriage.

And if the talking thing doesn't work out, maybe the next post will be more interesting.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Teacher's Day Multimedia

Here is the promised moving video to go with the Teacher's Day entry.

Despite the rain and the cold and the fact that it's Monday, it turned out to be a pretty good day.

And Chris made soup!


Teacher's Day

(I'm feeling much better, thanks.)

And just in time for...Teacher's Day!

Most teachers here look forward to Teacher's Day more than their own birthday.
And I can now see why.

Teacher's Day was set aside by (guess who?!) Ataturk to honor and appreciate teachers. Ataturk thought and stated that new generation will be created by teachers. Atatürk was also considered as Prime Teacher (Turkish: Başöğretmen), because he adopted a new alphabet for the newly founded Turkish Republic on 1923.

In the States, most schools have teacher appreciation week, so the idea is very similar.

I know that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I forgot to bring my camera to school today and it is cold and raining so the chances of me going home to get it are slim and none.

I have about 10 individually wrapped roses of all sizes and colors. White wrapped in green paper, red wrapped in white paper, all tied neatly with a ribbon.

I received a beautiful green and brown pashmina, a funny blue cat umbrella, an Ankara mug that I've been eyeing at Starbucks for months, lots of hugs, homemade apple tart, and a runny nose.

Actually, I can probably thank the change in weather for the last little gift.

I promise when I get home I will take some pictures of the flowers and such. They really are beautiful.

Happy Teacher's Day to anyone that teaches anywhere.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why did I do it?

I don't know.

I thought it might be fun.

And along with my running, I needed to do some strength-training as well.

So I went to an aerobics class.

In Turkish.

Have you ever tried to teach a deaf person how to play volleyball?
That is how my instructor felt having me in her class.

I had no idea what she was saying and was constantly one step behind everybody.
I must have looked like the most uncoordinated participant the sports club had ever seen.

For me it was quite simply a game of follow the leader.
The Turkish people go to get some hand weights, I go to get some hand weights.
The Turkish people go to get a mat, I go to get a mat.
The Turkish people put their hand weights back, I put my hand weights back.
If they would have starting taking off their clothes, I probably would have felt inclined to do the same.

It honestly did not occur to me until the class started that it might be more challenging for me since I speak very little Turkish.

I did yoga in Spain when I knew very little spanish.
That however was low impact.
I now know the difference.

The music started bumping, the instructor starting marching in place and "Besh, dirt, uch, akey, BEER!..." and away we go.

Turks stepped in place "sol, sa, sol, sa", they switched legs, they rose arms, and I?  I immediately starting laughing.
What was I thinking?

The worst of it was if someone was off a beat or not doing the right thing, the instructor would stop and call them out.
I prayed she would notice my TCU shirt and infer I was not a native and thus leave me alone.

I didn't get a very good work-out because I was constantly craning my neck to see what the heck she was doing.

While it might not have been a great work-out for my body, I definitely know the numbers 1-5 now, as well as "right" and "left".  
So that's something.

And I will go back.

Friday, November 21, 2008

There Must be Something in the Water

Well, I think it's safe to say "there's something in the water."

Chris and I didn't want to blog about the following topic for a few reasons:

1.  We didn't want our parents to worry
2.  We didn't think we could convince you that the pictures are real
3.  We didn't want to concede that maybe we made a bad choice in moving to a country where not only is the public water not drinkable, it's also apparently not showerable.

Today I made a choice, I'm blogging about it.

For several reasons:

1.  Our parents are going to worry no matter how much or how little information we give them.
2.  I am one of SEVEN of my colleagues who are home sick today.
3.  If I soon become radioactive you will know why.

Remember parent-teacher conference day when no one had hot water?
I would take that day to this day any day day.

The water here can be brown on occasion.

It's the color of tea and you just shower, wash your dishes, go on about your life.

Well, recently, the water has been nothing but brown, and now it is kind of gunky.

We took a picture awhile back to show the color of the water, but Chris was convinced you would all think I had had an accident in the shower, and persuaded me not to post it.

Well, today after Chris left for work, I went in to take my shower, and this is what I was met with.

Actually, this was only half of what I found.

I took these pictures after I had already been scrubbing for about 4 minutes.

I sent the picture to Chris at work, and he wrote back saying he thinks it's soap and scum residue that got colored by our lovely brown water.

I don't know.

But I do know that I am sick (literally) of pretending everything is just fine in regard to our access to water.
It's not fine.

Some days Chris just ducks in the shower, washes his hair, trying not to let the water get anywhere else, and then ducks back out.

Girls come to school with their hair tied up in buns hoping no one will notice that they haven't washed it in two days.

Anyone who is a member of the sports club down the hill does all their bathing there.  (It's not all of Ankara that has this water problem).

So when we say we are only coming home for 2 weeks this summer because we afraid we will get too comfortable, now you know what we're talking about.

Oh, and this time the microwave worked twice.

Once to re-heat some soup, and then again to pop that bag of popcorn you saw me giving Chris in the video.
And the rest is history (Annacannapoe...this is why the popcorn in glass bowl project didn't take off).

Actually, now the microwave gets so hot on the outside that it will burn you if you touch it, but the inside is cool as a cucumber.

Sometimes Turkey no workey.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Miscellaneous and Piracy, by Christopher

Yesterday Sarah and I came to work like normal. I found an email in my inbox from my principal informing us that the Ministry of Education inspections had been postponed to next Tuesday.
Most of the Turks I spoke with were overjoyed that they had the rest of this week and the weekend to prepare for the visit.

Personally, I was ready to get this formality over with. I’m a rip the band-aid off quick kind of guy. But I suppose we’ll have more time to make sure all of our preparations are ready for the big visit.

Today I was expecting a fourth grade class to join me this morning like usual, but their teacher told me that his class was headed to a carrot factory today. I asked the obvious question first, why are they going to a carrot factory? To learn about how carrots are processed, he told me.

Um, alright then.

Sarah and I have confirmed that we are booked on an overnight train trip to Istanbul. We leave Monday night, December 8th, and we stay for four nights. We’re going to do all the typical touristy stuff for our first visit: Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, The Grand Bazaar. And we’ll be taking a ton of pictures and video to share with you, of course.
Istanbul is the traditional heart of Turkey, regardless of the fact that Ankara is actually the capital of this country. Istanbul is where the boldest Turkish experience lies, where the culture runs strongest. We are both excited to experience the city.

We have also decided that our big trip this summer will be to Spain. Sarah’s life was transformed by her time in Spain, and this will be my first time in the country. She is very keen to take me to the big cities, but also to the hidden backroads and villages. We’re not so sure how long we will stay there, and there is so much of Europe that we want to see. Our decision will come down to money and time, as usual.

Coming home for the summer is also a big priority for both of us. When and for how long have yet to be decided, but we are thinking two weeks would be about right. Any longer, and it may be hard to get back on a plane to come back here! Not that we don’t love it here, but America is the land of infinite comforts, and we can’t let ourselves get too comfortable. Talks are underway.

Meanwhile, Sarah and I have been captivated by all the news about pirates. Not just any pirates, Somalian pirates. We can’t get over how anachronistic it is to see pirates grabbing the top headlines day after day. Seriously, we ask? Pirates again? But day after day, the Somalian pirates keep themselves firmly in the international spotlight.

I can’t come to grips with why the UN doesn’t just deploy a submarine to blow up their ships, or fly over their vessels in a bomber and drop a bomb on them. Why is there such a thing in existence as I read about yesterday, a ‘pirate-fighting warship?’ Can naval battles seriously exist in the world today? Two ships squaring off and blasting each other? With what, cannonballs?

I would love to hear an explanation of why these pirate ships aren’t being blown to smithereens with impunity by planes and submarines, if anyone wants to hazard me a guess.

To me the whole situation is comical, like if every day the news was reporting that a group of rapier-wielding musketeers was crossing America, sticking up all the 7-11’s in their path. The whole thing just seems very enjoyably ridiculous.

In other news, Sarah and I joined a health club, if you didn’t already know. I am scheduled to go in at 9:30 am this Saturday to meet with the staff nutritionist who will perform a health evaluation on me. Sarah has no doubt that I will be found to be underweight for my height and told to eat more calories, an outcome she is already preparing her jealous sarcasm for.

I just can’t seem to help it. God knows I try. I eat everything in sight regardless of nutritional value or purported health risk and still I can’t seem to slow down my nuclear metabolism. I tell Sarah that I hardly ever gain weight because I’m burning calories all day with all the difficult thinking I do.

You can probably hear her scoff from there.

We’re also headed to a shopping mall with a group of staff on Saturday. This mall is supposed to be the nicest, best stocked one in Ankara. I’m expecting to enjoy eating my fill of some recognizable food court offerings. I’ll settle for Sbarro, but I’m secretly hoping for an Auntie Ann’s Pretzel’s to appear. Those pretzels are my crack. Especially the cheese and butter versions. With salt crystals gleaming like huge quartz deposits on the crispy skin. Oh, how I hope.

We’ve got grad school tonight with the teacher that we both love. His class bursts at the seams each week with valuable information and discussion. We look forward to and prepare for his class with enthusiastic regularity each week.

Oh, and I made soup again last night. I’m really starting to get the hang of it. I’ve only waited thirty years to figure out to cook something. But, hey, one dish down. Only a billion gazillion to go.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wednesday Mailbag, by Christopher

Dear Mr. Mahoganyboard,

My name is Edith and I read Sarah and Chris's blog. I liked reading your movie review a few weeks ago. I hope I get to read another one soon! I just watched Iron Man last weekend with my nephew and his friend and I thought of you. Did you see it and what did you think?

Yours Truly,



My second wife's name was Edith and I think you two would have really had a lot in common and maybe even been great friends. But she fell off the St. Ronald's Island ferry and died.

It's an awfully strange coincidence but my wife and I watched The Iron Man last weekend too. When Chris carbon copied (that's what the cc stands for) your email over to me I was sitting in my chair in the community center writing a review of The Iron Man on my laptop! 

Thank you for sending the question to Chris and Sarah. I know those kids like it when they get e-mail and it makes me wish sometimes that I would have stayed in closer contact with my old friends from back in the States. But most of them are dead now and Jeopardy's coming on, so I'll close.

W.K. Mahoganyboard, Film Critic for the Olive Hills Retirement Community Newsletter


The Iron Man
a critical review by W. Mahoganyboard

Sansha gets her hopes up for movies and then she's so disappointed when they don't have the stuff in them she wanted. 

Like with The Iron Man, she saw the box in the store and was sure it was about the Bible and that the guy with the beard was Moses. 

I asked her,"What about the robot on the cover, is he from the Bible?" But she didn't hear me. And when there wasn't any Bible in the movie and the credits rolled, she was just so disappointed. She gets an idea in her head and it doesn't matter where it came from, she sets her mind to it. 

But through the whole film she was tapping me on the shoulder and saying "the Bible part is next." And then the robot or the junkie from the news would galavant around some more and she'd leave me alone for a minute.

So I didn't get a good idea of what the hell was going on in The Iron Man. 

I know that there was a pretty lady who was in a bunch of scenes with the junkie. I don't know her name, but she reminded me of a young miss Kim Novak, who captured my heart in the summer of 1955 film 'Picnic.' 

I think this young lady in the movie will be popular in other movies. Not just cause of her looks, too. You remember I told you that she'll be real famous someday.

As for the robots and the specialized effects, I didn't think much of it. One robot flies around a lot and shoots another robot, then it gets shot by the other robot, and then Sansha told me the robots were Cain and Abel and that "the Bible part is next."      

I think the part where the junkie broke all the glass was unrealistic because glass just doesn't break like that. And the part where the robot got ice on it and almost crashed, ice doesn't work like that. And the talking house and the hole in the junkie's chest and the way Moses died at the end, those parts were unrealistic, too.

I give The Iron Man an 'alright I guess.' I think more of the Kim Novak lady with the robots would have been better. And I think the picture on the box is misleading, because there's no Bible parts in the movie at all. And that really upset Sansha and I'll bet a lot of other people too.

13 Minutes Later, a Bowl of Yogurt

And now it's winter.

Yesterday it was cold, but still felt like fall.

Today we woke up to a drizzling rain and 40 degrees of fog.

We actually quite enjoy the precipitation and even the cold.  It's fun to live in a place where the seasons actually change.

And just in case you think our lives here are always filled with adventure and excitement...I give you our after school activity for today.

And what did I end up eating?

A bowl of yogurt with granola.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Turkish Delight, by Christopher

Everything spiraled completely out of control.

No one was who they were before, everyone was free and alive and fifteen kinds of ecstatic. The lid blew off, the steam gushed out. A thousand, thousand, thousand, exciting moments happened all at once. Laughter thundered off the walls and filled us up, emptied us out, smashed us flat as pancakes and rolled us down the street.

I have more video from last Saturday night than I do of any single day in Turkey and I can't post any of it because it's video of people I love at their most naked, raw and jubilant. I found one tiny snippet to show you, the tamest of the lot.

The photos below are windows into the best party I have ever attended. Nothing in my experience has come close to the sheer unbridled release I witnessed and felt last Saturday night. A dozen variables of timing, circumstance and luck all lined up impossibly, improbably and perfectly. The result was a mass miracle.

We danced on chairs until they were splinters. We ate everything within reach and slurped each others drinks all over our mouths. We called the tunes and we turned them up and up. We barked laughter in each others faces like people discovering their sense of humor and lungs simultaneously.

Then we crashed across town like giddy boulders, passengers to the relentless momentum of the night, careening off hard surfaces, joyous bingo balls in a city-sized tumbler.

When we vaulted through the doors of the dance club, everything opened up to us at once and accepted us as the throbbing center of the place. Our dancing was frantic and unselfconscious. From outside we looked like people angry at their shoes who needed to celebrate how high they could stretch their arms while shouting the words to songs they didn't know.

Sarah and I dumped ourselves out like wheelbarrows Saturday night.

Holy Methuselah Fairfax Simpson, did we dump ourselves out.

Bullet Points

I can only say that the fact that we didn't blog all weekend only means we were out collecting so much to blog about this weekend.

Chris is going to write the meat of our Saturday story, and I am here to fill in some of the gaps.

There's so much going on; this will be an exercise in summarizing, making bullet points, and your job will be to make inferences and draw your own conclusions.

- Our microwave was returned last week and seems to be in working order.  We've only used it once so we'll see how things go the second time we try to use it (one was the number of uses we got before it broke last week).  

- Today was parent-teacher conference day, so in lieu of having classes, we had appointment times all day where parents cycled through our classrooms and expressed their concerns and appreciations.

- Today was parent-teacher conference day, so in lieu of having hot water for all the campus to clean themselves with, all the staff had cold water to not shower with.  Or as one of our colleagues said on the way to work, "I just cleaned the PTA."

- We joined the Sports Club down the hill.

- This movie came out and I am very anxious to see it.  The article is a great description of what Chris and I were trying to explain in regard to Ataturk, Turkishness and the celebration days we wrote about previously. If you never from us again, you will know it was because we posted this link.

- We had an election party at the principal's house and everyone was filled with glee that we have a new president-elect

-  We got our first graduate test scores back and did really well.

-  We leave Dec. 5th to spend a week in Istanbul.

-  We will be in Texas in 36 days.

-  We have now lived in Turkey for 93 days.

- We worked all day Saturday and didn't come home until 2am Sunday morning.
In the same cab as our principal.
It was one of the greatest nights, if not the greatest, night we've had here in Ankara.

Enter Chris...

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Complaint About Complaining, by Christopher

I freely admit that I don't have a very high tolerance for complaining. Even if the complaints I'm hearing are justified, rational and well-considered (which complaints so rarely are) past a certain point I have to tune them out or I will begin to feel angry.

I think I have chosen a difficult career in this regard. I love them, but teachers are the complaining-est bunch of humans I have ever been around.

Everyone at our school is already under a great deal of stress working to implement a brand new and very challenging curriculum in bilingual classrooms. On top of this, we are going through a school-wide certification in the IB PYP program. What that meant today was we attended a half-day workshop. We will attend the second half of the workshop tomorrow (Saturday) from 8:30 to 6pm.

On top of those two stressors we just found out today that we can add another big one on top of those. The Turkish Ministry of Education is coming to inspect our school next Thursday. On this inspection hinges the continued existence of our school.

And our principal will be out of town for a conference.

Absent leadership, dire scrutiny from in-class ministry observers and practically non-existent weekend rest are a lot of extra stressors to cope with for a staff of teachers already wrestling hard every day with how to implement preposterously complicated units of inquiry (third-graders creating their own system of government and workable tax system, for example).

My fellow staff have every right to complain. The stress is very real. We are all feeling it.

But what I don't hear enough of are the upsides, the silver linings, the saving graces, the positive spin. At times it seems to me as though the downside is the only aspect anyone wants to talk about. And yeah, you blow off some steam in the moment. But what about the next moment? And the next? Don't you just feel downtrodden all over again?

Griping is the easiest thing in the world. I think Americans invented it. But it's ubiquitous. For some people here, it's just about the only form of communication the want to have. If it's not the current state of affairs they're complaining about it's that there's all sorts of problems on the horizon. I think some of them even have it in their head that they're performing some sort of service, making clear to the rest of us (who must be real idiots) in meticulous detail just how messed up things really are.

If you're going to complain to me (express a negative perspective on a subject) can't you also affirm to me (express a positive perspective on a subject) and avoid dragging me down? I'd certainly appreciate it if complaints were paired with affirmations; "This workload is ridiculous, how can they expect us to keep up with any of this, I don't get compensated enough to work so hard. But I do love the challenge of it all, it really keeps me interested to know I'm growing as a professional and I like to know I'm working on the cutting edge of education."

I really don't even care if the affirmation makes any sense in the context of the complaint; "The printer's out of toner again and I've got to print an impossible number of reports by tomorrow, I'm losing my mind! But the black olives on the salad I had for lunch were really firm and tasty."

I don't mind if you dump your woe all over my face as long as when you're done you pass me your hanky. Too often I walk into the staff room and witness two intelligent adults taking turns hosing each other down in massive quantities of woe. My reaction is usually to back quietly out of the room. I know that soon they'll start looking for fresh targets.

For some, it's a sort of meaningless competition.

"I'm so miserable and this job is too hard because of this one thing that happened that I'm blowing completely out of proportion to get a kick from stirring up and then venting my emotions on you."

"Oh yeah? Well, the thing that you're blowing completely out of proportion is somehow slightly inferior to the thing that I'm completely blowing out of proportion. And now, along with the kick I'm getting from venting on you I'm also getting a kick from feeling superior to you."

"You two think you've got problems? I will now obliterate you with my somehow slightly superior thing that I am blowing out of proportion."

What a useless, pointless, ridiculous waste of time and energy. And I see it every day. When I start to feel angry, I have to just walk away. I have learned that expressing the positive, the affirmative, the silver lining short-circuits their conversation, which denies the participants the emotional kick they want. They don't like that one bit.

But they can't say, "You're right. There is an affirmative side, too. But let's keep complaining until we get our buzz." Coming clean about enjoying their complaining renders their complaints meaningless, I suppose. It makes their self-victimization more difficult to escape into if they have to face that they enjoy victimizing themselves. So they have to shout me down or disagree with me until I finally give up and walk away. You can't have a rational discussion with an addict who only sees you as standing in the way of their next fix.

We all complain. But teachers do it more often and with more gusto than any group of people I have ever encountered. If teachers ever get paid enormous sums of money and get all the administrative support they could ever want, I know that among the satisfied and jubilant majority there will be a group of woe-mongers who will secretly hate that their life has improved.

They'll be the ones griping about what a pain it is to keep their expensive jewelry clean, how impossible it is to find a decent maid and how unreasonably expensive it is to gas up their private jet.

I love teaching here. It is fantastically challenging to me in ways I never knew I could be challenged. It is so difficult sometimes that I want to bang my head on the desk in frustration or collapse in exhaustion. And I am growing professionally by leaps and bounds! I am developing teaching skills that are on the leading edge of modern education and I'm thinking about things I've never thought about on a daily basis.

Some days the crap completely hits the fan and some days I'm too tired to even care! But I have both of my legs, both of my arms, and all five of my senses are in perfect working order.

All five of them!!!

I sometimes worry that maybe I'm not doing the best job for my students and sometimes I need more resources than I have and often I think the expectations that my administration puts on me are torturous and unrealistic.

Oh, and I have family and friends who love and care for me and who give me all the support I need and more whenever I need it consistently and constantly. And I'm alive, which is really pretty great and tons better than the alternative.

And I get to hypocritically complain on my blog about how I can't stand complaining.
I'm really quite a lucky guy.