(Reading on Facebook?  Please click this link to access the blog and see the pictures and layout as they OUGHT to look!  https://www.xanga.com/serenitymine)

They’re back…  They came crashing back into town today, after two weeks of spring break, with all the subtlety of stampeding…well…teenagers.

Squirt and Erin didn’t waste any time calling me up for a quick trip to McDonald’s, where they turned the kiddy-slide into an instrument of mayhem!  Then it was back to the dorm and the eardrum-threatening shrieks of reuniting ladies!  As happy as I was to see the students return today, I doubted, a couple of weeks ago, that I’d ever be ready to resume a regular schedule…

There’s a tree in Riedlingen to which I’d like to introduce you.  His name is Ministry Madness, and he makes me smirk every time I catch a glimpse of him.

I assure you there was no wind blowing when I took this picture yesterday.  But there clearly HAD BEEN some wind activity, so much so that the wind-side limbs had mostly been torn off, and the remaining ones had been permanently bent, arrested in their battle position.  By the end of the school’s second term, just two weeks ago, I felt a little like that tree…  The activity windstorms in my life had come so powerfully and so close together that I wondered if I’d really be able to disconnect and relax and “let down my branches” once the term was finally over.

Well, it wasn’t easy–but it did happen!  Ten straight days of rain and snow ambushed my getting-away plans–but I did my best to escape mentally and spiritually despite the weather-induced home-arrest.  I read books just for the fun of it, I got caught up on my scrapbooking, a put in some hours in grading and lesson planning, I spent a day in prayer and fasting, I wrote just over 80 emails and I invested in no-hurry time with friends like Mari Ellen, who spent her break recovering from emergency surgery for a herniated disc!  Puts the bad weather into perspective…

On Easter Sunday, it was the Youngs who were submitted to my presence.  I’m not sure there has ever been a more dynamic family than my friend Michelle’s exuberant household!  Though I find my time Chez Young to be stimulating and loud and incredibly fun, a couple members of the family are clearly not as affected by the energy level, even though it scores an 11 on a 10-point scale!

Yes, Meghan is indeed resting on Maggie’s rump, and if you’ve ever shared the couch with that dog after she’s had a hearty meal, you know that’s a risky position indeed! 

And then there were the days of cooking and distributing treats to friends, the hours of spring cleaning my apartment, and the Fame evenings at Renee’s.  She’s been a friend and ally at BFA for so many years that I can’t imagine this place without her in it.  We share a love of all things 80s and have been watching the DVD of the first season of Fame together.  There’s nothing like curling up on her couch and watching the world’s worst actors engaged in the decade’s most kitch show!  Love it…

Renee reenacting another 80s favorite: Charlie’s Angels!

And then the sun came out!  Oh, it didn’t exactly come blasting through the clouds with a triumphant sound, but its rare appearances were all the encouragement I needed to strap on my sneakers and head out for a wog.  For those of you who are new to this blog, a wog is my favorite form of exercise: a wander through the hills around Riedlingen in which a person walks up the hills and jogs down the hills (and in the flat sections too!).  Walk + jog = wog!  That’s the only kind of math I really understand…

I’d love to be able to take you on my route, but since that isn’t possible for most of you, here’s a snapshot of my wogging adventures.

A view from the upper side of the golf course, with the Hoch Blauen and Sausenberg in the distance.  I always stop to gaze (and catch my breath) when I reach this point…  And on the way back, I catch a glimpse of this:

That’s Riedlingen, the village in which I’ve lived for 15 years.  That branch is pointing at the area where my apartment is.  In just a couple of weeks, all those apple trees will be in full bloom and the village beyond them will barely be visible.

These days, my wogs reveal undeniable signs of impending spring.  The anticipation makes this one of my favorite periods of the year.

And now?  It’s back up into the saddle for me!  There are just 8 weeks left in this school year before I head back to the States, and I feel the urgency of finishing well.  This urgency isn’t about classroom achievements or year-end concerts or curriculum planning…it’s about the students whose lives have become intertwined with mine and whose graduation I will sadly miss.  It’s about using the remaining weeks to know them more deeply and love them more fully.  It’s about finishing conversations and clinching conclusions and exploring the “ending” process together.  I’ve gone through it 17 times since the beginning of my work at BFA, and it still remains a mystery of emotional and eternal proportions. 

What are my most frequent thoughts as I wog around Riedlingen these days?  They aren’t about deadlines and insurance paperwork and grading policies.  They are about the young people whose lives have touched mine in ways I’ll only fully understand long after they’ve gone.  And that’s all the incentive I need!  Here’s to 8 more weeks of memorable moments and absolute mayhem and meaningful goodbyes.  The countdown is on…



  1. Michele. (pregnant pause)

    I just looked at the candlelight dinner pictures on bfacademy.com.

    (another pregnant pause)

    it looked spectacular. it looked amazing. amazing job directing all the different parts! amazing.


  2. Fabulous !!

    I *was* worried about  you, Michele ~ you disconnect so infrequently that this time seemed to indicate that you’d be so wrapped up in vacation PLANS & DETAILS that you’d not be able to just be still..and know..and enjoy the comfort and stability found in certainty.

    I too had fun, possibly more fun than ought to be permissable without a license… Vegas is like that. It felt so good to be back where the sun always shines and people wear smiles on a regular basis. It was  a little weird to notice at first, but after 4-5 years of being around grumpy, grouchy people who complain about the weather, the housing/job/ market, the latest performance of a sports team, etc, the whole “honest & genuine” boast rings particularly hollow. I’ll take false sincerety and forced cheerfulness with a shining smile over bad breath accompanying the opening salvo of the day’s insults ~ any day!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *