I guess this is less pertinent now that I'm not teaching anymore, but something that's always been hard about teaching and being in a relationship with a non-teacher is the summers. Being the crazy wanderlust stasia that I am, once school ends I'm ready to set off on grand adventure. Of course, James doesn't have the large summer chunk of time off, nor does he have my compulsion for epic exploration. What ends up happening is a very delicate dance of time spent here, time spent away, time spent on vacation together--all of which, I am grateful to remind myself, is a process that we've been able to (mostly:) successfully navigate like mature adults who love each other and have each others' best interest in mind.
Like my principal told me once this year when I was feeling grumpy, it's really nice that I'm sharing my life with someone who wants me to be around.
I mention this because this summer (even though I'm unemployed, this is still my summer:) I think we've hit upon a better compromise: instead of taking one epic trip that removes me from Portland and James for a very large, sustained amount of time, I've been taking little trips. A trip to the Gorge for one day, a camping trip for a weekend, little trips around town, and now, starting tomorrow, a bike trip up to Washington. This will be my longest trip so far--I haven't planned it specifically, but I think it will clock in at around a week, or maybe a few days more. But it feels okay that I'll be gone for that long since I've been able to spend a lot of time with James already this summer, and, when I get back, we're immediately taking a trip together to see a whole bunch of his family.
And then when I go backpacking in August, it will be after having spent two weeks back in Portland.
It seems like it's a compromise that's working well for us so far: James and I get to spend a bunch of time together; I still get to work out my wanderlust and see new and exciting things; we can intersperse a lot of Portlandy summer stuff like growing our garden and going to farmer's markets and reveling in the long, long days (even if they're not warm yet this summer); all is well.
I don't know how other teachers navigate this summer thing, but it seems like it was really hard to work out. Maybe that's just because I'm stubborn and self-centered and think that if I have time off everyone else should too, and they should want to spend it in the same way I do--or maybe it's just because it really is a hard compromise when one half of a relationship all of a sudden has a lot more free time than the other, and a much heightened desire to get the hell out of the city. Whatever it is, I'm super psyched this summer to feel like I can (to use an old cliche) have my cake and eat it too: time with James, time in Portland, time adventuring by myself, and time adventuring with James. How can life get any better? :)