I am back at work!!! Every year again I have to get used to getting up early and hitting the daily traffic jams in order to get there. But all good things come finally to an end. So last Monday it was business as usually. Dragging me out of bed, trying to face the mirror and the truth that I am getting older, packing my lunch and hope that I have all the things I need to survive my first day back.
When I arrived at the gate I suddenly I realised that I had forgotten my keys. Hate that feeling! The sensation of being dependent on others. The prospect of not getting into my own work environment and having to ask help of others made me feel rather low. One of my nice collegues let me in and I also found an other teammember who was so kind to open up my classroom.
When I opened the door I felt kind of akward. Like we had to make friends again. Last June I had packed up my things, printed out the last report card, filled out the last file and unplugged all my electronic devices, closed the windows and emptied out my dustbins, cleaned my blackboard and then closed the door feeling rather upbeat.
There I was standing in the middle of my familiar stage, knowing that in about 45 minutes the theatre would be filled up with an audience that was going to be critical then ever and bringing in new insights into life that will for sure colide with my facts of life. Outside it was still quiet and the sky colored rather greyish but I knew that was going to change for sure.
Yes, I have tried to leave this players guild because I need a new challenge in my life. The part that I play now has grown on me. It has become a second skin. Not that I want to ripp it off but I want to try out an other costume and see if the part fits me as well as the one of being a teacher.
The promises that I have made to myself at the beginning of the summer I kept. Writting a cv, applying for a job, studying for it and going to face the enemy for the job interview itself. It was quite an adventure and took over mentally mainly my summer break. Nightmares, blackouts, being afraid of forgetting my lines, writer's block (there was a written part) and sweaty palms I got it all.
So 'I moved the cheese'!!!! It is one of my favourite expressions in the English language, meaning that you try to find a new challenge in life and show to others (including future employers) what you are worth. In this case I am the cheese looking for new starving mice that are out there sniffing to find a new taste sensation.
In the end the news was broken by one of those calls you try to block out as long as possible. One of the friendly mice of the jury told me that I did not get the job. They were tempted by the smell, the aroma and the color of the cheese but according to them it needed to lay a bit longer to get the right taste. There were fifteen other cheeses and I ended up in top rankings!
Not that quite bad for cheese that has told herself that only hungry pupils wanted to have her on their sandwiches! The days after I felt down not knowing what to feel, like I was lost in the fridge!
Opening up the filing cabinets and the windows, looking for some chalk to write down my familiar opening lines, checking out of all my buttons were still there on my costume, were all things I did trying to find the right que. When the stage bell will be ringing to call me on stage I will took a deep breath and walk out to face my audience. I know the lines, the stage, the cast, the scriptgirl, the director, the make up artist, the catering, the crew and the stage manager.
This year it feels rather different. I have been outside my familiar surroundings and challenged myself. I feel a bit like Bell (The Beauty and the Beast), 'There must be more than this provincial life!' Yes, I caught a glimpse of the beast and it felt so right. The lights go out, the audience goes quiet and the curtains go up, all I need to do now is walk out there and utter those so familiar words:'Welcome back! I am Mrs Stalmans, your teacher!'