It’s been 8 months (!) since I last wrote in here. There are lots of reasons for that, which I’ll get to, but I honestly just haven’t had much impetus to write personally this year. However, there are quite a few exciting updates in my life and it made sense to try and at least get some things down while I have some time and brain space right now.
Anyway, I don’t have any grand pearls of wisdom or writerly aspirations for this post, nor do I really expect anyone to read past this paragraph. This is really just for me to reflect on and, perhaps, to give anyone who comes across this page an idea of why the last post was so long ago!
Where Have You Been?
It’s been an eventful year, as anyone can imagine the 2020-2021 school year has been. We (Punahou School) started the year off virtually, before we moved into hybrid in October. That’s where we stayed much of the year, with brief plans to move to all-students that were dashed when cases would rise. However, in late February we were able to move to all students, which was exciting!
And so, so tiring. Much of teaching in a pandemic becomes about safety-behavior-management, which is more emotionally and mentally draining because the stakes feel so much higher. I am eager for the day where I never have to say the word “face shield” again, though I doubt it will happen any time this year. That isn’t a knock on my kids, as the face shields are no fun to wear for eight hours a day and it’s a new routine. Still, it’s not the most fun.
BUT we have found joy in lots of ways. Seeing my students laugh and enjoy each other’s company is honestly so much fun, even though I don’t do a great job of showing it (more on why later). Getting to connect with them in person is much easier than online. And I have an awesome team to do it all with. I am very lucky.
Also, I generally feel safe in my classroom, in no small part because of the safety measures and facility changes Punahou made before we returned. Hawai‘i also have lower case numbers than the rest of the nation, which have helped tremendously. Sadly, as of this weekend there has been a bump in cases, likely due to Spring Break and relaxed guidelines, so we’ll see if we even stay with all students. I hope we do!
As for other work, I feel very lucky that I’ve been asked and able to participate in some very cool opportunities so far this year. At my school, that includes co-chairing our DEI strategic planning work. Outside of school, I’ve been co-teaching an Intro to Behavior Management class at Leeward with Michael, which has been awesome (and… learning to work with your husband is good growth!). I also got to work with LCW and joined Jelani Memory in an interview and Q&A with an organization. I also got to present a webinar for Shifting Schools, and was lucky enough to be featured on PBS Teacher’s Instagram page. Ah, I was finally able to announce that I’m a National Geographic and Lindblad Expedition Grosvenor Teacher Fellow! I was actually chosen last year and supposed to go to the Galápagos in September, but obviously COVID changed everything.
I haven’t been writing professionally much (though I did get a piece into ASCD), because I’m currently in grad school! I’m a post-baccalaureate student at UH Mānoa taking PhD level English classes (and one Spanish class last semester). I’m hoping to apply to their PhD program next winter— I need to take classes because they want letters of recommendation and, since I graduated a decade ago (*dies*), they prefer if I took some classes first then applied. I’ve been loving it so far and the intellectual challenge has been awesome, but it is a lot of work! Especially writing: last semester, I had to do a 300 word reflection per week and this semester it’s 750 words per week! And that doesn’t include other assignments. It’s a lot, but I do like it. It has taken a toll on my professional writing, but that’s okay.
Firstly, I’m happy to report that we’ve all generally stayed safe from COVID. My parents, Michael’s parents, Michael and I have all been vaccinated. The decision to get vaccinated was tough, but ultimately I’m glad I did.
After our wedding was postponed, Michael and I had a nice date on what was supposed to have been our wedding day and decided that we were spiritually married. We’ve been calling each other “husband” and “wife,” ever since, but we are planning to have a legal ceremony soon and a large celebration in June 2022.
Why the delay? Well…
On Tuesday, October 4th, I woke up a bit anxious. Michael was in the living room, watching Sunday morning NFL. As soon as I got up, I went straight to the restroom. I had gotten out my IUD in July, but we hadn’t been intensely trying to get pregnant, just living life and seeing what would happen.
But my cycle was 4 days late, something unusual since I had started tracking my cycle in June. I was excited, but Michael was cautiously optimistic. “Why don’t you wait until Tuesday, your birthday, so you can still enjoy that?” he asked. I knew, though, that I couldn’t wait that long to know.
So, I peed on a stick and held my breath.
And, for the first time in my life, the little positive symbol popped up.
I sat on the toilet, silently, my stomach flipping knots for a moment. Oh, my God. It happened, I thought to myself. Nothing will ever be the same.
I took a deep breath, cleaned myself up, and I walked into the living room.
“Michael?” I said tentatively?
“Yeah?” He asked, tearing his eyes from the TV and looking at me. As soon as he saw my stricken face, he asked, “What’s wrong?”
“…I… I think I’m pregnant?” I said starting to smile and cry a little.
He thought I was upset or scared, because he immediately came to me, hugging me, and said, “It’s okay! Maybe it’s a false positive! We can take another test.”
“No, you dummy! I’m EXCITED!” I laughed. He smiled at me.
So… here we are! I’m pregnant!
Baby Girl is due June 7. We’re so, so excited to meet our little bear (we were using “baby bear,” but we would like a second child shortly after and THAT will be baby bear!). We do have some names in mind, but we’re going to wait and meet her and see. Our plan now is to have a big wedding and first-birthday celebration in June of 2022.
It was, admittedly, a tough first trimester. We went back to hybrid teaching, which is probably some of the hardest I’ve planned for, a week after I found out I was pregnant. I was so, so tired (something that lasted until my 18th week, to be honest). I also had a few bleeding scares, which was… really, really hard, particularly because there is literally nothing you can do and not always a clear reason (“You… just might be a bleeder! It happens.” From my OB, the second time). It was so scary. I feel very lucky that everything was okay.
Then, nausea hit! I was doubled over with nausea so much of the time, and actually lost about 12 lbs in two weeks. At that point, my doctor put me on some prescription medication to help with the nausea, which helped quite a bit. I finally got my appetite back at week 15 or so, but just got on track with healthy pregnancy weight gain two weeks ago (week 26)! I’ve never once struggled to gain weight in my life, yet ironically this was the time! It turns out my mom also struggled to gain weight when she was pregnant with my brother and I, so I suppose genetics might come into play. My appetite is now completely back, though I no longer can eat Sriracha or Mac and Cheese, which is very strange for me! I used to have my own sriracha bottle at work, but now just thinking about it makes me gag. I mostly crave sweets (which, in Filipinx myth, was the sign to my mom that it was a girl. She was right!), especially chocolate sprinkle donuts and chocolate chip pancakes. And ice cream. And peanut butter and jelly. And MILK. SO MUCH MILK.
I’ve been able to keep up with my workouts, including a 10-mile run at 22 weeks. I’m much, much slower now, and I have to pee every mile or so, but I’m happy my body keeps letting me move. It’s been so, so helpful. I’m also wondering if it transfers over, since this baby is now SO ACTIVE omg, especially at night. From 2AM – 5AM it feels like she tumbles and rolls nonstop. She also sits very high in my belly.
Also helpful: having such a supportive community. Our parents and family have been immensely helpful with advice and support. I’ve had friends and colleagues give me bags of clothes and donations and just lots of love. I know a few other pregnant women due around the same time as me. My school has been so supportive and happy for me. I’m so lucky.
And, of course, Michael has been absolutely amazing. He was already a great partner, but he has truly stepped up as a dad-to-be, managing the house, finding and picking up donations for the baby, cooking when I’m tired, helping me with my work when I need it, and just being all around awesome. He suffered an accident last month, but is fortunately healing nicely. Watching him grow and prepare for this new journey only affirms my choice in him as a husband and I feel so, so blessed we found and chose each other. I’m so excited for this journey with him to meet our little bear.
Where Are You Going?
Well, for now… no where. I’m sitting on my parent’s couch in Kona for Spring Break, and then will return home for the end of school. The last day is June 4 and my baby is due June 7 so I’m just hoping she stays in the oven until her due date!
Professionally, I’ll take the first semester off next year. I may still do some writing, teach a few online courses, and take one class, depending how I feel. I’m not trying to commit to too much. Fortunately, my mother retired at the end of February and so she and my father will stay with us when the baby first joins us. I’ll travel as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow; we’re supposed to find out soon where we may be able to head this year. I also have an NEH seminar (or possibly two!) in the works for summer 2022. It’s an exciting time!
Anyway, this is the most I’ve written in a while and it felt great! Hopefully I can try and at least get some words on paper in the next few weeks.