Well, now we’re exactly halfway through the twelve days of Christmas. I’m currently enjoying listening to my Christmas music collection and looking forward to dining on my family’s traditional midnight snack of shrimp and sparkling pear juice to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I’m also spending some time reminiscing about the past year. Of course it seems like the time has flown past, but somehow, that time that seems now so short was packed with a lot of wonderful experiences.
The first half of the year was a flurry of performances, from Tantara One-Act Festival to my ballet recital and finally the Drama Camp musical. There wasn’t one week from January till June when I wasn’t either rehearsing, memorizing, singing, or pirouetting in preparation for one of these three events. In Drama Camp, our wonderful director really pushed me out of my acting comfort zone. The play we performed was a melodrama, and I was the over-dramatic heroine, so the intensity of every word I said had to be magnified three times over what I thought was over the top. Doing a love story sometimes felt very awkward, and I was fortunate that the hero was played by a boy who was the master his facial expressions. Amazingly, he never once broke into a grin at the crucial parts of the play such as at the end of the play (when I had accepted his proposal of marriage). We had to gaze lovingly at each other, and I would never had been able to pull it off if even so much as the corners of his mouth twitched!
This summer passed without a day that I wasn’t in the garden. I loved every minute of trimming, fertilizing, digging, and planning my little plot of earth. One of my favorite things about gardening is that nothing is ever finished. There will always be new plants to grow and more ways to improve the soil. My soil needs improving really bad, so in the spring I found a way to take things that would be ordinarily wasted and put them to use in the garden. With the help of my Dad, I started a vermicompost system (that’s using worms to make the best fertilizer on earth). Now every evening after Mom makes supper I collect egg cartons for worm bedding and coffee grounds and vegetable scraps for worm food. The first batch of super plant food was ready this fall, but since it was the end of the season I saved it for spring. I’m looking forward to using it on vegetable seedlings in a few months. Now we also have chickens that eat the meat scraps the worms can’t have, and turn that into even more fertilizer. Next summer is full of potential!
2012 is also the first year that I have had a real job: teaching at the ballet studio. Teaching ballet has probably been the hardest challenge I have faced this year-and the most interesting. I was the helper once in a ballet basics class, and I must say that I really didn’t appreciate how hard it was to direct a class. There are many fine lines to walk with the seven to nine-year-old age group. For forty-five minutes every week, I tightrope between keeping it fun and keeping them learning, making sure the steps are not too difficult and yet still challenging, explaining difficult concepts and not going over their little heads. Phew! I have to glance around at their sweet little faces frequently and judge whether I am boring, overwhelming, or doing everything just right. Also with such a large class (I have twelve students) there is the additional challenge of making sure that they are well behaved. One minute they are standing neatly against the barre in first position, ready to start the next combination. I turn my back to start the music, and if there’s even the slightest delay with the CD player they suddenly erupt into talking, squirming, jumping, and hanging on the barre.
Fortunately, I have become much better at keeping class moving smoothly than when I first started teaching in September. Once you do figure out how to balance all the elements of the class, seven to nine-year-olds really are a very rewarding age group. I am actually surprised by the concepts they are able to understand, and they always are very happy and excited to be at class. And the way their faces light up when they finally understand a new step is precious.
As this is my senior year of high school, I am trying to cherish every moment. I know that the year will be over before I know it. Yet even as I try to focus on every moment of the present, my mind keeps running on to the future. Where this time next year find me? What new things will I have experienced? I’m looking forward to seeing what adventures 2013 brings.