A final word about sharing - I have set up an Instagram account that students can follow. I have made it abundantly clear that I will not follow them back - not because I don't love them. Because I have no desire to see what young adolescents post and so that I can sleep at night. They nodded their heads in recognition - truth.
So, I'm ready to be ready and I'm almost ready to go. Now that it's May, it's super fun to say that I'm going to Svalbard this month. Between now and the 16th, there's alot going on, which, I have a feeling, will make this time fly by. Namely, tomorrow we start to prepare our 8th graders for the Passage Portfolio presentations they deliver right before their promotion ceremony on May 15. I love these 8th graders. We have had such a joyful, vibrant year together, and I'm going to miss them. Their last day of school is the 15th and I leave on the 16th. Perfect timing, yes? Yes. In the world of school, in the realm of 8th grade, and for teachers, May is a time of transition. It can be raw and exhausting. I'm curious about how this May will feel different with this beautiful expedition on deck. I think change is on the horizon.
*Waterproof pants - this was purely a vanity purchase. We're able to rent boots and waterproof pants that come in generic sizes and do not come in petite/ short sizes. So a very thin 6'2" foot person could be wearing the same size pants as me. The pants are long - maybe not for the average person, but for me, they will be long. They have a velcro cuff on the bottom to close off over my boots, but those excess inches (and I'm envisioning multiple inches of excess) will kind of balloon over the lower half of my body. I will resemble a blimp and if the right gust of wind catches my pants.....well, my imagination runs wild. Mostly, though, I think this - there will be awesome photographs of me and I don't want to look like a blimp in these pictures (and I don't want those awesome photos to capture my flight through the air like the Goodyear Blimp.) So I bought a petite-sized pair of waterproof pants. See? Vanity. Truth.
As a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, I traveled to Svalbard in May 2018! Thanks to Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic for supporting teachers and encouraging us to be explorers.
Some of the text shared here was written in my journal or through social media posts while I was on expedition.
But much of the writing shared here was written in the months following my return home.
I had this idea that I would embark on my journey and, in real time, reflect and write and create blog posts and videos and online albums and photo books and postcards. I had fantasies of sitting in the ship's library with my pen and notebook, collecting and composing what I'd seen and experienced and manifesting deep, profound thoughts.
Yeah. That didn't happen.
My experience was so intense, so surreal, that I had difficulty finding adequate words to describe it all. Silly, inconsequential, and unsatisfying words were all I had - great, amazing, unbelievable, incredible. At the end of each day I would try. After dinner, somewhere between 10pm and midnight, I'd make my way up to the library to write. But I would get distracted. The large, glorious, gorgeous windows were too inviting and each moment was unique. The clouds were shifting, the water was moving, the ship was in motion, the ice upon the water was drifting. Each and every moment was unique.
My eyes were up and wide open. I was outside on the deck feeling the cold air and the lightly falling snow on my face. Or I was sitting on the bridge, snuggled in warmth, with a pair of binoculars looking looking looking. Oh, I tried to shift my thinking to writing something more than a bulleted list, but I just couldn't pull it off.
To put it simply, I couldn't focus.
I coined my condition Wonder-Induced ADD.
It is a beautiful affliction to have.
This blog is dedicated to my aunt, Tina Chavez, who is always my biggest fan and supporter. When I told her about my expedition to the Arctic, she asked, "So, when do you go on the Polar Bear Express?"
She also told me to run fast from the polar bears, but naming this blog "Run, Jen, Run!" isn't as charming as calling it "The Polar Bear Express."