I realize now how ambitious it was to try and sit down every morning and make a mess before switching gears, putting on a cardigan and playing teacher.
Some times it was simply not possible to work in my art journal. The morning I had to figure out how to elicit and explain the words “millenium” and “district” to students who didn’t know the words “year” or “street” – there were no new pages.
Somedays I glued my old metro stubs into my journal. I paint, stencil and write over top of them. I make a big good mess. Some days I get write to the point and write one big loopy sentence in ink.
I didn’t expect to be so sedentary in Prague. I missed moving my body. For 10 hours a day I am at a desk planning lessons and grammar presentations. I walk down the stairs to school, across the street for groceries and up the stairs home.
Some days when I’m at my edge I run along the river or practice Ashtanga. On those day I feel a twinge of guilt because the month was supposed to be about journaling dammit! If I have any free time I should be pouring into this journal. All this Big Possible business is about giving myself over to the practice and doing it especially when I don’t want to. There were 5 days this month where I didn't journal.
All this said – I made 35 pages in 29 days. While we traveled through Germany it was hard to make messes in other people’s homes. In Prague I have a desk and drawers to put my supplies in. I can paint something and go to school with the mess still out. The work got better when I felt at home.
I thought my favorite pages would be the ones that look like Sabrina Ward Harrison’s collages. Instead I started making these little white-outlined illustrations. They aren’t sloppy at all. They feel like my doodles – but taken seriously and given time. That was a success.
As for Prague – the center feels like a dollhouse. I like 8 districts over. In a hotel with stick on laminate floors and no shower. There is, however, a river to run along, a vegan buffet across the street and a store that sells nothing but ribbon nearby. It’s a fine place to be for a month. It’s a fine place to live along the way and unpack and mess and absorb.
The work of becoming a TEFL teacher is a good kind of relentless. After only two days in class we were already teaching Czech students. Every two days we teach a new lesson. Our days are long and packed with pedagogy and grammar workshops, teaching critiques and solo lessons. I feel like I am well prepared to step into a classroom and teach students.