General Update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on the general goings on of my life, so that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

On any given day of the week, once I’m at work I’m fully focussed on my job.  Once I step foot through the front door of my school, I’m either delivering a lesson or I’m preparing for a lesson.  My days at school are long; I work for twelve hours almost non-stop on Mondays, and although my other working days aren’t as heavy as Mondays, I still fill those non-teaching hours with preparation.  I’ve managed to get into a rhythm for my lesson prep in order to try to ensure that my days are as productive as possible.  That way, once I leave work physically, I can also leave work mentally.  I’m successful in that regard on on most days, thankfully.

But my life isn’t all about work.  I’ve found that my life has slowly evolved to being busy outside of work, too.  These days, it’s rare when I spend an entire day at home.  For example, one Sunday a few weeks ago I was getting over a cold and decided that staying home and working on getting rid of it was my priority.  Otherwise, I would have been at band practice.

Yes, the band is still going and we’ve grown from four members to six regular members and two occasional members.  We haven’t had another gig yet but we meet every Sunday afternoon and practice or just jam.  I’m currently singing or participating in about half of the songs in our repertoire, including singing a solo in Russian.  I’m pretty sure I’ll debut that at our next performance, whenever that is.  Right now, I’m working on memorising the lyrics.  It’s a beautiful lullaby, which seems odd to include in a band’s playlist but the song is very popular in Russia so it should be a crowd pleaser.

On Sundays, there’s also bridge club.  I don’t go every week, as I hadn’t committed to being a regular member, but I do end up going about twice a month.  I enjoy the game and the hours that we while away playing seem to dissolve like salt in water, flying by as we chat and laugh and eat and just generally have a good time together.

Then there are my lessons.  I still have Russian lessons twice weekly.  That’s going pretty well and my hope is that by the end of this school year, I’ll have improved from absolute beginner to elementary level.  I’ve learned a lot of vocabulary and now my teacher is using various situations to teach me grammar.  For example, my homework that’s due tomorrow was to watch a short animated film and write a short essay on whether or not I liked it and why.  To be honest, given the amount of material we’ve covered over the past few months, I should be more conversant than I am but I don’t study every day the way I should.  Still, my teacher is invested in my success and I really like her so I continue to attend my classes and do my homework with enthusiasm.

And speaking of language lessons, I had my first French lesson last Friday.  I know, right?  I’ve never been particularly interested in learning French and when the opportunity to attend lessons first came up, I ignored it.  But in the interest of expanding my mind, and so that I can navigate my way through France whenever I go there again – even in a rudimentary way – I decided, “Why not?”  I’m hoping that it will even help with my Russian, in that maybe it will help to supercharge the language centre in my brain and help accelerate my language acquisition.  We’ll see how it goes.

The other thing I’m doing is attending bachata classes once a week.  For those who didn’t know what bachata is, like I didn’t, it’s a type of Latin dancing.  I can’t tell you how it’s different from other types of Latin dancing, such as salsa, because I haven’t looked into that.  But I know that it’s a fun class.  It’s not particularly physically strenuous for me but the light workout that the class gives me feels good.  More than that, it’s mentally stimulating because we’re learning a dance routine, and it takes concentration to master the steps.  The class is held twice weekly but I can only go once a week because of a scheduling conflict on the other day.  So on the day that I do attend, I have to be one hundred percent mentally present in order to catch up on all that I missed in the previous class.

And finally, khomus.  Yes, I’m learning!  Classes started a few weeks ago and we’ve now had four lessons.  I’m not good.  At all.  But I will be eventually.  My goal is to get to a place where playing the khomus comes easily and naturally enough for me that I can stop thinking about my technique and instead realise the meditative potential that comes with playing this instrument.

Outside of band, bridge and the different lessons that I attend on various days of the week, I also participate in occasional social outings.  For instance, I went to the ballet week before last. I’m actually not a big fan of dance concerts because I just am not able to fully appreciate dance as an art. It doesn’t move my soul the way music does. But I hadn’t been to the ballet for about three years so I figured I was overdue.  It wasn’t an overly long show so I was able to enjoy it without becoming tired of the performances.  I also occasionally go out for dinner or drinks with friends or acquaintances from school, and, of course, there are the trips out of town.  Just yesterday, I had one of those.  I’ll tell you about it soon.

I’m also working on that project I mentioned a few weeks ago, laying the necessary foundation to get it off the ground.  That takes a lot of my thinking time but it’s time well spent that will hopefully pay dividends in the future.

Reflecting on it all now, if there’s one thing I feel is missing from my life it’s a sense of charity.  I feel that I’m not doing anything to show charity to people who are less fortunate than me so I’ll have to see if I can do anything about that.

Meanwhile, I don’t believe in exhaustion as a way of life so even as busy as my life feels sometimes, I’m managing to keep a balance. If I begin to feel overwhelmed or overly tired or stop enjoying any of my activities, I’ll cut back on something.  But as of now I see it all as me putting check marks in the “life well lived and experiences well had” column of my life, so it’s all good.  After all, I have a lot of time to make up for.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  James 4:14 (ESV)

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