Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year, New Beginning

Yellow Hibiscus
I'm looking forward to the possibilities of this just-arrived year with a new sense of relief and lightness.  I have finally, not without some regret, retired from my job.

I have loved teaching English as a second language to immigrants for the last 11 years, and my heart will miss my students.  This last quarter was a good one, a great group of people, so I was able to finish on a high note, knowing I was still doing a good job.

But I won't regret never being quite sure, week to week, whether I would make it to class or succumb to a headache.  I won't regret making it through the evening by taking pain medication I don't like to take.  I won't regret questioning myself when I have a so-so class about whether it was "my fault,"in other words the headache and low energy or just one of those nights.  I won't feel guilty about calling in sick with a headache or having to ask for another leave of absence to seek treatment.  Well, you know all about this if you have severe headaches and any commitments at all.

I just returned from a Christmas trip to Zihuatanejo, Mexico.  I love taking pictures of all sorts of things while I'm traveling, but I'm especially a sucker for the bright colors of all the local flora.  Hibiscus has many symbolic meanings depending upon the region of the world you look to.  If you put one behind your ear in Tahiti, it means you are available (for marriage).  While I'm already married, I now feel available for whatever takes my fancy.  The hibiscus flower communicates gentleness and friendliness.  That's a good thing.  It stands for life, courage, and being one with god.  It is the flower for me.

Jamaica (dried hibiscus in Mexico)

In tea, it is medicinal, reputed to have a calming effect, lower your blood pressure, and help your kidneys.  It has lots of vitamin C, and it will calm your cough.

Hibiscus goes by many names.  Rose of Sharon, Seize the Opportunity, and Flower of the Hour.

Seize the Opportunity
I have lots of ideas about where this coming year may lead me.  Traveling is always high on my agenda (though not always easy to do with chronic migraines).  I am planning a short trip in Feb. to Eastern Washington with a girlfriend to get out of the winter gloom, look at art, find a swimming pool and visit friends.  In April I'm planning a road trip that has no specific end - with a friend.  South from Western Washington, through Oregon to California, the Southwest and perhaps beyond, even to Florida.  There has been vague discussion about a trip to France where my brother-in-law and nephew live.  I may return to Mexico sooner rather than later and teach English there.

Right here at home I plan to spend more time doing art, walking, swimming and hanging out with my 2 year-old grandson.  I may start tutoring English as a second language, but I'm going to wait on that until I ease into this new year and some of the fun stuff I've been putting off for a while.

I know I will have to work with and around my headaches, but without the locked in schedule of even my short work week,  there will just be more ease and opportunity.  I will have more energy.  So Happy New Year, and I hope you too can seize whatever opportunities, big or small, that arise.

Flower of the Hour - handwoven, needle felted


  1. OMG:Hibiscus gives me migraines !!!