A Warm Welcome

Tomorrow, I will have been home for a week. It has pretty much taken until today to get everything at work ship-shape again. On Monday I looked at the piles of paper I had to deal with and felt that my head might explode. Somehow I had to sort it all out and teach at the same time. If it hadn’t been for wonderful colleagues stepping in in my absence, I wouldn’t have things sorted by now.

As I was setting work for my five classes before I left, I became acutely aware of how complicated the job is. On my return, I was made aware of how things have changed in the job in just a few years. My replacement was not accustomed to using digital technology or to new methods of assessment. So there’s a benefit to taking leave: you value what you do more.

On the other hand, as she swanned into school today with a pile of library books to return under her arm and a nonchalant air, I did envy her freedom.

I’m still not quite used to being at home. Routines have been forgotten, such as how many spoonfuls of rolled oats I put in my plate. This used to be a part of my morning routine which I didn’t have to think about. An advantage of being away for nearly eight weeks: you forget how you did things and can re-think and change. It’s refreshing. Except that I forgot to take morning tea to the beach on Sunday. Morning tea is important on the beach, when you choose a good log and sit down to chat and share treats. My understanding companion still shared carrot cake with me.

There are sobering things, such as listening to the news and little of it is encouraging. I have to switch to the concert programme. Or suddenly coming to on the way home from work to find I’d fallen asleep and crossed the centre line. Getting up in the dark to get ready for work. Steeling yourself for the day ahead. Cleaning up after an elderly dog. But isn’t he lovely:


There are wonderful things: the sparkly sea on a sunny Sunday, the warm sun on a winter’s day, bird song, fantails flitting about on air waves, the nip of frost in the morning, the stars so clear and so close, winter sweet’s fragrance, the red rhododendron beginning to flower. Mum’s lasagne! I’m not finding it cold; I’ve been told the worst of winter is probably over. Perhaps I’ve soaked up heat from Europe and still have stores of warmth.

My lovely and loving family make coming home warming.