April Arriving

Painting by Maira Kalman

In Barcelona, winter and spring are engaged in a duel of mythic proportions. I cannot say, yet, who is winning. There have been decadent afternoons of lying-in-the-sun cut short by sharply dropping temperatures and cold cold rains.

Over the last two weeks, while the seasons have battled for possession of the city, I have:
– organized Career Day for 105 high school students on my own (there is no Betty at my current school). In the face of a shocking shortage of panelists, I dreamed up a new panel called “Creating a Life” (that includes work you are passionate about) and invited two of my colleagues to join me. I was reminded that necessity is the mother of invention and, happily, the kids adored the session. Next year, I’ll start the whole process earlier and keep “Creating a Life”.
– flown to Amsterdam for three glorious TULIP filled days in the cities of Leiden and Amsterdam. While there I learned that this nation state is NOT actually called Holland. This came as quite a shock to me as I grew up amongst friendly, big-handed Dutch farmers who referred to their home land as Holland. Holland is, however, only a region in the western part of the country and is comprised of the provinces of North Holland and South Holland. So if you have been wondering what in the world is up with “the Netherlands”… that’s the country you and I have been calling Holland for 40 years. The cities of Amsterdam and the Hague are both located in the Netherlands. That’s my geography lesson for this morning.
– helped put the SPIRIT in Spirit Week at my school. After a series of insanely helpful conversations with teachers about cool things they had done at their respective schools, the high school student council kids and I came up with a schedule of “dress up” days and activities. DP, a former student council kid himself, has been generous with his fantastic ideas and, as always, his technological know-how. The fun stuff included students documenting a day in the life of our school with their own digital cameras, and a contest in which each grade dressed a boy and girl in recycled paper collected from the classrooms and offices on our campus. After ten frantic minutes of design and creation, the four couples had to limbo in their recycled outfits. The kids say it has been the best Spirit Week ever. They don’t give compliments easily or often so I am inclined to believe them.

As for the battle, if you were wondering, even in Barcelona we are cheering for spring.

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