A Year of Lists
“Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time.”
― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
I’m getting a haircut tomorrow. I’ve known this day was coming since April. That’s when I received confirmation that I had received a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching grant that would take me to Singapore. It’s also when I started another list.
I have to-do lists everywhere. Little scraps of paper, larger notebook sized scribbles and doodles, and digital reminders on my phone and laptop. It’s been quite a year for lists. I have lists for my history lessons and activities, our medieval faire, Minecraft lessons and builds, my game design class, CUE related events and meetings, groceries, and duties around the house to name just a few.
I created a new one that April and found myself constantly adding to it in the coming months. For every item I was able to cross off, at least 3 more were added. I connected with the Ministry of Education in Singapore and received checklists from them. The official Fulbright orientation was held in early August in Washington D.C. where we each received a handbook full of checklists - what to do before departure, upon arrival, and at the conclusion of our program.
There was an extensive checklist to complete before my project could be approved by an ethics committee in Singapore. I also selected a university course to audit which needed a lengthy approval process. Date and times for flights needed to be approved and there were numerous phone conferences with helpful Fulbright alumni and our stateside project advisor.
It’s been a year of extremes. Being selected by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to represent my school district, community, and country in Singapore was clearly a highlight. I also had two additional Minecraft related books published as well as 20 STEM lessons featured on the Minecraft in Education website.
My dear mother passed away in March, several weeks after a fall. She was loved by so many and I received such comfort from my family and friends that I will never forget. A month later Audrey and I lost our sweet dog, Bella, to liver failure. This past semester was the toughest one of my career and included the passing of a colleague.
I’ve kept the lists going through it all. They filled my pant pockets and notebooks to overflowing at times. As much as I rely on digital devices in my life, I take supreme satisfaction in crossing off items by hand and in ink using big, bold strokes.
Tomorrow, I cross off that last item - this blog post was the next to last one. I’ll start another list soon enough, but I’m not in a hurry. I leave 4 nights from now and have given myself a break for a few days after I arrive. Nothing to do but recover from the long flight, have a good meal, and begin a new adventure at peace. I look forward to each coming day and I hope you will enjoy reading what I write and take interest in the photos I will share.