Dear Diary

I feel, for the first time in a long time, happy.

It is so strange and freeing and difficult. It’s difficult to be sick with pneumonia and anxiety. It’s freeing to be by myself, with only Gulu and without my family. It’s so strange that I am writing my own story, just like I did that very very special time two years ago in Menifee.

I. Love. It!!!!!!!!

I am reading. I am talking to a therapist. I am making my own doctor’s appointments. I am taking care of Gulu. I am jump starting a car by myself. I am taking my car to the dealership for a new battery. I am looking for work. I am waking up every day embracing life, even though the day is difficult. I am doing things that are scary but powering through. It feels amazing! (I am also taking my pills but I’ve always been good about that.)

I really do love and embrace this because in a way, this is what I’ve always wanted, to be away from my family, my dad in particular. He has been such a negative person in my life that without him, I feel so much more MYSELF! There is nothing greater than to be yourself.

In my mind, I am also healing and forgetting the people and things that have hurt me. It is hard work for sure and I have to remind myself to breathe. It feels a lot like ascending on a drop tower, and anticipating the drop any moment. But the thing is, I know I will be alright.

Coincidentally, I just finished reading this book called Secrets of Worry Dolls. Basically, it is a book written just for me. I am Lu! I am also Mari. I feel exactly like Lu. She lost her twin sister, her dad, and although her mom is living, she lost her a long time ago too. She has been left behind and abandoned so many times. Her mother’s story is a lfe of tragedy and at one point, she said

Disappeared mother. Dead baby. Tragic marriage. Lost lover. We never really had a chance but she tried her best. I forgive my mother.

I felt so much sadness and it is the same feeling I apply to my own life. Despite all the people who have left or the different ways that life tear people apart, life does go on.

I love the ending when Lu became Blanca’s guardian. It was so satisfying and after all the caretaking that has happened, I feel like I could be a guardian too. I love that Lu is a social worker! And I love Mari’s life. Her life is beautiful even if it was full of loss and tragedy. I think, her original and final form is like an orchid- beautiful, hearty, and rare. I love Mari. I am Lu. And it’s time to start living life.

My Christmas

Basically I got pneumonia right before Christmas so I was able to read these! I loooooooved these books. It was such a blessing to be able to read freely and comfortably in my bed. I have one conclusion: Work is just getting in my way of reading and my bed! 🤣

It helps that this was an excellent collection of books!

The Mothers by Brit Bennett is one of my all-time favorite books. I have never read another book like it! It felt like all the characters were real- I can’t belive they are fictional. I feel like Luke, Nadia, and Aubrey were real people that are also 28 years old. She made Oceanside so real and the entire book was so full of sadness and longing. I felt so much hurt underneath all the characters. I related especially to Aubrey because I think she has been hurt and she was betrayed by her best friend and her husband. Despite making despicable chocies, Luke and Nadia have also been hurt themselves. This is a book about choices and our younger selves that I will continue to think about long after the last page. I think when people say they want the privilege of reading a book for the first time again, this is what they mean.

The Immortalists is another very wonderful book about choices! I looooved this book too!!!!!! I love Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya. I loved all of their stories and I would happily go on any journey with them. Thank you Chloe Benjamin for writing this very important book! I am so so glad that you did!!!!! It gave me so much to think about. Excellent writing! There are so many scenes that stood out to me. I loved this book.

A Very Large Exxpanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi is also an excellent book! I loved it. Break dancing, Persians, high school, and love ❤ It was just such a healing and hopeful book despite the hate surrounding our main characters, Shirin and Ocean. ❤

NYR:

The Penderwicks – I’m saving this for a summer read too!

Sting-Ray Afternoons – I WILL finish this book! I will!

Fantasy <3

I love fantasy and warm books! This was a really fun collection of books that I started around Thanksgiving break.

The Firefly Letters is a novel-in-verse that is also biography and historical fiction.Very nice blending of genres! Poetry really lets you get inside a person’s mind. I love the multiple points of view.

The Prince and the Dressmaker was such a nice graphic novel! This is quickly becoming one of my favorite genres. What a progressive and sweet story. you will find yoruself supporting both Frances and Sebastian. Spoiler Alert: The king is the most progressive of them all!

Zebra Forest is like a middle grade version of Eileen, sort of. Somehow it is fun to read short novels about a few characters in captivity, with mysterious and sinister motivations. It takes a masterful writer to pull off suspense!

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden is the sequel to The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. I love Karina Yan Glaser! She is an inspiration and her book is just so sweet, realistic, and it makes me wish I was raising a family in New York City, a little bit.

NYR (Not Yet Read):

Forest Born by my favorite, Shannon Hale. I think I will save this one for summer or my next break! ❤

Thankful

I’m really super thankful for this break because it has been the best. I get to recover from my sickness and I also get to think about what I want to do. In particulat, I’ve thought about accepting my strengths and needs. When I became a teacher, I think I loved learning and I wanted the chance to bring Pinterest to life (don’t laugh! It sounds so naive now.) But now, I realize what I really wanted was probably to be a caretaker and volunteer, or parent. I love kids. All the students that I’ve had a hard time with (that’s like 70% of them, if not more), I would probably have no problem being in their company outside the classroom. I want to be nurturing and caring, but it doesn’t seem to help me. When I try to be strict or stern or whatever, it seems like I’m frustrated. All this is to say that…………………………..

I am happy I don’t have to be a classroom teacher anymore after June. I don’t have to hear anyone tell me to be “firm and consistent” or “establish expectations.” It’s so freeing to admit that teaching is not for me!!!!!!! At least teaching in a classroom. But I still really love children as people and my time as a teacher is not over yet!!!!!! I will volunteer or teach in my spare time. I think that is much more suitable for me. There are so many ways to teach such as in Sunday school, tutoring, extra curricular classes, volunteering. It is all pretty wonderful! I’m really glad for it.

I pray that in my remaining time as a classroom teacher, God gives me the strength and grace to teach these children. My students! I pray for grace, courage, and serenity. Thank you, thank you! I love you all.