So blogging. I told myself once a month was reasonable. And it probably is. Yet somehow, here I am, nearly 9 months since my last post, struggling with putting words on paper.
I guess the best I can hope to do is give a little bit of a picture of what the last 9 months have looked like.
November: I spent Thanksgiving weekend at a deserted resort island called Pisar out at the edge of Chuuk Lagoon. It was a peaceful, much needed break.
December: I finished my first semester as a teacher. Gave my first final exams. Submitted my first semester grades. I chaperoned a service retreat for the junior class, and finished the basketball season as a state champion basketball coach! Everything started to feel more adult. Christmas break was wonderful! We celebrated both Christmas and New Years with all of the faculty who hadn’t left for the holidays, and campus was quiet because all of the boys had left. I also spent part of Christmas day with my sponsor family.
January: The faculty and staff all started out the year on retreat together, and then we jumped right back into the swing of things! My schedule changed a bit so second semester I taught Physics, Chemistry and College Counseling. I also held volleyball tryouts in January and coached both the JV and Varsity girls’ volleyball teams.
February: February is a long month for schools because third quarter is just a long stretch with no breaks. Xavier is no different! I proctored a Saturday SAT for the juniors, went out to a neighboring island to give the Xavier entrance test to 8th graders, and battled through the long weeks.
March: It started much the same as February (a battle) but when 3rd quarter ended, it slowed down a bit. The last week of March was dedicated to taking the junior class students on their big spiritual retreat called Kairos – which was a privilege. I can’t brag enough about my students honestly.
April: This is when the days started to fly by. Easter break split April in half and included another beautiful visit to Pisar.
May: May began with a visit from my Jesuit Volunteer Corps program coordinators and a retreat of my own, continued with one on one visits with each of the junior students that I serve as college counselor to, progressed into the end of fourth quarter, exams, senior week, and graduation, which all flew by.
June: My second year JV community mates had departed by June, and after an all Xavier faculty end of year meeting on June 3rd, everyone started to go. By June 4th only a few of us remained on campus. Lucky for me, Ben came to visit and we got to spend 2 incredible weeks together. He proposed on the roof of Xavier High School and I got to show him the place that has become my home over the last year. I don’t know how to express how grateful I am to have been able to share this place with somebody so special to me. I celebrated my birthday with cake, ice cream, and the wonderful XHS Leftovers (the people that are “left over” for the summer, we’re an exclusive club now 😊), and then because there’s very little to do in Chuuk for the summer, flew off to Yap (another state in the Federated States of Micronesia) to teach at a summer program there.
July: Here I sit, in Yap Catholic High School’s volunteer house in the village of Nimar where I live alone. These last few weeks have been such a welcome change. Life is quiet here, my schedule is open, and the internet is substantially better than at Xavier. It’s been a blessing to experience another part of Micronesia and to see how both similar and different it can be.
This past year has been a whirlwind, and this summer has helped me slow down, recharge, and gear up for another one. I won’t make any promises, but hopefully I’ll share a little bit more this year about where I’m living and working, and maybe even teach you all a bit of Chuukese.
Sometimes it feels like the rest of the world is on pause because I’m so separated from it. Children aren’t growing up, no one is graduating from college, and there’s no major world events happening. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to being home and being in the middle of all of those things again, but for now, I’m happy to be in a Micronesia bubble and am looking forward to what the next 11 months bring.