Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Vacation (with a bonus story!)

I love teaching. And summer vacation really has nothing to do with it. Well, I guess I could say that it has a little bit to do with it. This is now my third official summer vacation while employed as a teacher and I must say it has been the best yet. I have gone fishing, been in weddings, I am training to run a half marathon, and I am getting to meet all kinds of new and interesting people. I was talking about it with my mom the other day and I had just finished telling her about how I am flying down to San Diego this weekend to check out Comic Con. Comic Con is the world's largest comic book convention and I get to check it out. I will most definitely be posting some photos and writing about that later on as it should be quite the experience. I am going with a few friends of mine from college, some of whom I haven't seen in 3+ years. Don't get me wrong though. I haven't picked up a comic book since I was about 12. I am now kind of drifting into the realm of collecting hard to find vinyl toys, such as limited edition Maxx dolls and acquiring the entire collection of fat caps from Kid Robot. I am not sure where this mild obsession comes from, but I clearly remember where it began.

In 2001, I studied abroad in London. I took a Media Studies course at City University, mostly because it was the only non-business course being offered, as well as a few classes my school had set up and an incredible course at the remodeled Globe theater that was all about Shakespeare. I actually performed a monologue from Sir Thomas More on the stage as my final, which was just about the raddest thing I could ever do in my entire life. I have it on high 8 tape, except the friend of mine that filmed it was drunk and he thought it would be hilarious to zoom in on my junk for half of the performance. But I digress.

The obsession was sparked by these fascinating hollow eggs called Kinder Surprise. They were made out of chocolate, milk on the outside and white on the inside, and inside of the hollow eggs were these pill shaped containers. The containers had all sorts of toys and games and puzzles that you had to put together. Soon I realized there were entire sets of these toys that you could collect and have together. Around Halloween there were these vampire bats that were in all sorts of weird positions. One would hang from a light post that when you pressed down on it the light would actually flicker, another was a baby in stroller with enormous fangs, etc. There was an airplane set, a car set, a vespa set, a smurf set (see below), a weird worm in fruit set, the list goes on. By the end of my stay in London, I had amassed a collection of over 200 kinder toys, excluding all of the multiples I had gathered.

I shared a flat with 6 other people, all of whom I knew from school. I shared a room with two of my good friends, who actually thought I was a total freak for collecting these things but they let me do my thing. I understand now that it was pretty disturbing to see me collecting these little toys. It got to a point where I wouldn't even eat the chocolate. (That is actually a lie. I ate all of it and that's how I gained 45 pounds.) But in this flat we had a communal living room area that had a bookshelf. We all enjoyed reading so we kept our books out there for each other to read and share. When my collection had overgrown my end of the dresser, I decided I would have to make a new home/display for my collection because it had become show worthy at this point. So I did what any roommate at a turning point (read: crisis) in their life would do and moved people's books off the shelves and meticulously organized my kinder toys into sets. And not just random sets. I followed the pictures of the sets as they came in the eggs. It was perfect.

SIDE NOTE: One day I came back from a weekend away to find them all gone. I actually lost my mind. I started yelling and got really mad at a good friend of mine. In their place was a typed letter addressed to me thanking me for my donation of toys to a children's charity for Christmas. In my berserker state of mind I really thought that the toys were gone, even though the letter was highly suspect. I went out and got tanked and stumbled home. When I got in bed I was very uncomfortable because my friends had put all of my toys in my bed while I was gone and made the whole thing up.

So now it is a few years later and I still have the toys, although they are not set up anywhere. They are tucked away into my storage and will one day be worth tons. I am sure of it.

Now this post obviously came a bit undone from it's original topic of summer vacation, so I will attempt to steer back.

It has been an awesome summer and it's going by way too quickly. I feel like I have a week left before school starts even though I have a whole month. I get so anxious thinking about it but not in a bad way. I am just ready for it to get under way again. Meeting new kids, new teachers, teaching new books. It should be a good year. I will have a new classroom as well as new office for Student Activities, which is gonna be sweet. But with my new classroom and office comes new responsibility. I will be given an outdoor key with my own alarm code. It'll be good because I have to get into my classroom on a somewhat regular basis, no matter what day or time it is, but my old classroom was so awesome because it was completely detached from the building itself. Kids would stop by on their way home, teachers would duck in and say "hi" and I could come and go as I pleased without running into too many people I had to talk to. Not that I don't enjoy talking to my coworkers or students, but sometimes it's nice to be able to do your thing and bounce every once in a while. Oh well. Hopefully I will get a bit more settled and keep my classroom more clean than it has been in the past. I tend to let things pile up.

I have also been playing a bit of golf. I never thought it would be a sport that I would enjoy, but it really is quite fun. Of course, sometimes I want to throw each and every club as far into the ocean as possible, but it's a great way to spend time with people and when you hit a ball the right way and it goes where you think it should, it feels really good.

Summer vacation is pretty awesome.