I tried talking myself into returning to school after dinner tonight to complete a new bulletin board and start a quiz that I will be giving my Animal Science class tomorrow. The idea sounded brilliant at 7pm but after cleaning up my kitchen at quarter 'til nine I thought otherwise.
Instead I thought I'd give thanks for a wonderful evening. I made Tamale Pie for dinner and invited a handful of friends over to share it with. Now don't get me wrong, dinner turned out great, especially considering it was the first time I had made this, but the part I am most thankful for is the time I had with new and old friends tonight. This may sound trivial to some, but let's briefly re-visit my first (and some of my second) year of teaching.
For about the first six months of teaching two years ago, my usual day looked like this:
4am-rise and shine
6am-head to school after devotion, hearty breakfast and getting ready
8:30am-school starts, the big rug rats arrive
3pm-the final bell rings, I collapse into my seat, and take a mental break for about 5 minutes
3:05pm-coach a team, grade papers, prepare lessons...etc.
5:30pm-break for dinner....this would be the second meal I have eaten at my desk today
8:30-9pmish-drive home, set automatic coffee pot and fall asleep instantly
I was working far too many hours and as far as I was concerned my social life was over. I was practically crawling to my truck at night so I could just get in bed and start the same overloaded schedule as the day before. I longed for the sweet days of graduate school where I had friends over for dinner frequently and they returned the favor at least once a week. Instead of evenings filled with satisfying food and friendships, I was trying to keep my head above water trying to prepare myself to teach parts of the cell to my freshmen Ag classes.
It's been a long time coming, and I have neglected far too many friendships and hobbies over the past two years. My third year of teaching has gotten off to a strong start and has included more time with friends than any other of my previous two years and for that I wish to give thanks tonight.
Note to other "foodies:" for a great recipe on tamale pie or other classic American dishes, check out The Cook's Country Cookbook: Rediscovering American Home Cooking. As my friend Sarah pointed out tonight, I know it's hard to believe that a dish with the word tamale in it is American, but it is. Believe me.