The Train Has Left The Station

The Train Has Left The station
About two weeks after school ended a few years ago, my almost best friend Judy and I met up in the mail room. We looked at each other unsure why we were even in school, and why we both looked so harried. Hadn’t we arrived at the hallowed ground every teacher waits for: June, July and August? School was over. Shouldn’t we be relaxed by now? Neither of us was, but then Judy supplied the metaphor I needed to understand what I was feeling.

“Every year when school is over I feel like the train has come to a screeching halt,” she explained. “The tracks have stopped, but the train keeps rolling forward, and my body is catapulting through the air still moving at 100 miles an hour.” And that is how every school year has ended for me too. It usually takes me until July or so to realize I’m done for a while and that it’s OK to breathe, to stop, and just be.

But not this year. For the first time since I’ve had babies to care for, I am not at school in February. Instead of running at the break-neck pace of a school year, I have simply gotten off the train. It pulled into a station on the last day in January, and I very calmly got off and waved as my colleagues quite capably and valiantly continued. This year I am on a Leave of Absence and I couldn’t be further away from Waynflete School if I wanted to be.

I am in Zambia. Stop one of a five country tour of Africa. I will start by staying with my niece and her family, and then move on to the friends and families of current and past Waynflete students and faculty. I will be living in different cultures and absorbing and observing the world. I have been given a marvelous and amazing gift, and I plan to make the best of it….especially when today my colleagues had a snow day and the promise of another foot of snow or more on the way.

I went swimming.


31 thoughts on “The Train Has Left The Station

  1. Stacey S says:

    So glad you arrived safely and are already glad you went. Enjoy every minute of it. I’ll be following your blog with anticipation and happiness for your ability to remove yourself from the life you knew with gratitude and an open heart. Go get ’em, Sue Stein!

  2. Jody says:

    Sue Stein!!!! I am so glad you are doing this because I want to know how you are, where you are and what you’re seeing. I kiss knowing you are close by, but am getting a thrill knowing of the adventures you’re having.

  3. `lorry says:

    “““““sue – as the inspiration to all us – you have already accomplished so much! ““““`i await your every blog with great anticipation. `i send all my best thoughts to you…

  4. Kate Ziminsky says:

    I am so honored to be a part of this epic adventure if only to get the opportunity to read about it! Safe travels, I look forward to each post. Love,Kate Z.

  5. jeri says:

    Hooray! I’m so glad you’ll be sharing your thoughts, Sue. I want to hear all about it. I’m having a pretty amazing time in Maine right now, but the travel bug has not died. I’m craving new lands and new experiences; sharing your journey will be a step in the right direction. May the goddess of travel (whoever she is) bring you blessings and serendipity! xo

  6. Leslie says:

    You’re not the only one who has to figure out this blog thing! I left a comment on your first blog and was wondering where it was!! Great to hear from you Sue and I’m excited to hear about all your future adventures.

  7. John W. Hoy says:

    Sue, you geek, you! What a lovely surprise–we get to ride along and no issues with shots, strange food, too much heat. Keep up the good work, and I’ll try to send you some snow.
    Hugs, John

  8. Cathie says:

    I am so happy to be able to follow your adventure. Miss you already. Be safe and enjoy every minute. Sending love and hugs. Xo

  9. Cath says:

    Sue — wishing you a fabulous and reinvigorating trip. Can’t wait to sip a little wine and hear all about it. Bring pictures home! Martha gave me a bit of an update on your travels during our snowshoe Sunday. Believe it or not, I think I’d rather be swimming.

  10. Kathy says:

    Ndugu Sue,
    Wewe ni kweli katika Afrika – kufurahia kila wakati wa adventure yako!
    Tumepoteza wewe – lakini bila nataka kuwa na sehemu yoyote mwingine!

    Dear Sue,
    You are really in Africa – enjoy every moment of your adventure!
    We miss you – but wouldn’t want you to be any place else!!

  11. Edie Mannion says:

    This does not look like a novice blog to me! And I was so impressed that you actually did this trip, but now I’m in awe. How cool it will be to travel with you, especially when needing distraction from being “on the train” here! Godspeed & Happy Trails, Sue!!

  12. Deb Twomey says:

    Sue! CHO CHO through Africa! keep the blogs coming and send warmth to us!!!
    My train is on different tracks—AAAHHH it’s great to grow older!!!
    Deb Twomey

  13. Brian says:

    Sue a techie?! Who would have thought…
    Then, true to your spirit, you tell us, who are still slipping and sliding in snow, that you went swimming. Rub it in!
    May your travels be safe and filled with bunches of great Adventures

  14. Chére mon amie,

    What wonderful words you have written. I know you are looking at this new world(the dawn of our creation) with gratitude and freshness. Thanks for doing that for us so we can open our own hearts and minds and go with you. The photographs are amazing–I can feel the mist of the falls, hear the thunder and walking through God is about as precise an image as a person can get–I felt that somewhat this past summer when a humpback whale pod surfaced near our boat. We are not in control here–there are immensities we are given a glimpse of and I think it is a kind of salvation–certainly for us here in the techno-saturated world.

    Keep writing and snapping those pics.

    Much Love to you–Nicole

    • My Friend,
      Thank you for what you say and your constant support of change and constancy, of noticing the new and thinking about the old. I am grateful you got me going here. It is good for me. But then, you have always been my one true writing teacher. I will do my homework. Love you, Sue

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