New normal

A dear friend of mine just came back from living abroad for more than six months. It has been nice to catch up with her, but there hasn’t been the right moment for me to tell her about the blog project. We’ve met up and hung out and the other day we chatted on the phone for an hour…but I didn’t know how to start the discussion. I’ve got a lot of ‘splaining to do.

Did you see that old Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry David doesn’t want to find a new psychologist because he doesn’t have to have to give his whole “recap” to a new person? (aside: I love that show) That’s how things are for me.

Let’s see. When I count up how many people I’ve told in my real life about the project, it breaks down to about 10 family members and five friends. Until March it was only about five people total who knew. It was in March that I broke down and widened the circle to what it is now.

I probably need to bring a few more people into the fold. The longer I wait, the more awkward the conversation will be (they might feel left out). I might need to dedicate about 15 minutes of monologue to catch friends and family up on the blog. It’s been six months already and the project is half over! How would you tell people? Or would you just keep things as they are?

***

Everyone in my family that knows has been pretty excited about the blog project, but I have to share with you that my dad totally doesn’t get it at all. Over the course of my life his reactions to changes in my life have surprised me. A couple years ago when I told him I was pregnant (he had been hinting about grandchildren for sometime), he was excited, but took it in stride on the phone, “That’s great.” I expected screaming. Other times I’ll tell him something I deem to be trivial and he’ll yell at me, “That’s stupid of you!”

I told him over the phone about the blog and eating school lunches around March. My nerves were pinging when I said, “I’m eating school lunch every day and I’m keeping a blog about it.” My dad was totally not phased. I could see him shrug through the phone line. “Why are you doing that?” he asked calmly. “To raise awareness about what kids eat at school.” Dad, “Oh.” Changing the subject he continued, “So your grandmother…”

And that was it. I don’t think he really comprehends the word “blog.” He never reads it either! I should probably expect more reactions like that from family and friends.

***

What happens when the blog project is over? Do I go back to my normal life? Can I go back to my normal life…and job? Probably not. I’m still trying to process what the blog project means to my life. Sometimes I see myself handing in a resignation letter in December. Can I finish out the school year with my identity revealed? If I had been more with-it and sophisticated about the blog project, I would have done it over a complete school year. It seems clumsy that it covers parts of two different school years. Oh well. It is what it is.

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17 Responses to New normal

  1. A Thought For Food July 9, 2010 at 1:49 am #

    I think we all have family members who just don't get what a blog is or why it's important to talk about this.

    But you should know that what you are doing, what you are writing about, IS quite effective and it has taught me and countless others a lot about the issue surrounding children's nutrition.

  2. Erin July 9, 2010 at 1:59 am #

    it's ok, my parents don't get my whole career. I'm a computer systems analyst. They keep asking me why I didn't become a teacher….go figure 😉

    ~Erin

  3. Laura Seymour July 9, 2010 at 3:20 am #

    i think this project could bring on an entirely new career for you. schools MUST be educated about what this food is doing to our bodies. it's NOT good and no one, especially children, should be eating it. frankly, i think you are a saint to eat that CRAP every day. the chili looks like dog food. i think you should start pitching your blog to news outlets. get the word out, sister!

  4. Shannon July 9, 2010 at 3:44 am #

    I say keep as much to yourself as possible (until it's over with). It's just safer that way if you want to keep your anonymity.

  5. Anonymous July 9, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    I just saw that episode — was it Richard Lewis who didn't want to start over? Larry wanted to leave because of the thong bikini.

    Anyway, I don't think you should subject yourself to bad food after this is done, but keep the blog going with commentaries, guest bloggers and pictures of food you encounter.

  6. zahirah.com July 9, 2010 at 4:43 am #

    I predict that your life is going to take off once the project is over and you've revealed yourself. You will be able to accept interviews, contribute more to the issue of school lunches, and I bet it'll take you to places you've never imagined!

    I wouldn't tell more people for now, unless there's someone you're dying to share with.

    The best of luck to you!!

  7. Philippa July 9, 2010 at 9:32 am #

    I wouldn't be too worried about what happens "after". The school nutrition movement is only beginning to pick up momentum, and I suspect the hardest work is still ahead. The blog will live on and when the time comes, you'll figure out how it needs to evolve.

  8. The Table of Promise July 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    Your blog may change after a year, but it has become a community and a forum for many, and if you continue to have strong content, you will continue to write.

    Also about straddling 2 school years, think positively about it. The break in between semesters can help you to crystalize some goals for the second semester. Maybe there are some new issues you want to highlight next fall? Now you have time to gain perspective.

  9. PB and Jess July 9, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    As a vegan, I'm used to my friends and family not understanding or reading my blog, lol!

    This project obviously means a lot to you, so keep going strong and only tell people you can trust. It is hard to be "left out", but you should worry more about yourself and your stress level. I really hope you don't have to quit because you seem like an awesome teacher.

  10. Anonymous July 9, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    you are probably a bit more of a celebrity than you realize. Mrs. Obama has probably read your blog.

  11. Angry Beaver July 9, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    You should write a book about your experience.

  12. Chipper Jules July 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

    I think people that know you will definitely understand about keeping quiet. It will be interesting to see how many of them have heard of the blog!

    on the straddling two different school years – I think it's good – it gives you a break – it will also be interesting to see if the lunches change at all between the two school years as school lunch is getting more publicity.

  13. Mrs. Q July 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    Thanks so much for your support. What a wacky experience this has been!

  14. Serena July 9, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    I agree with Chipper Jules, it will be interesting seeing if there is any changes at all. I'm graduation school next year but I hope things get better for future generations. I haven't eaten school lunches in years because I always found them unappealing.

  15. sm July 9, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    i'm not sure what good turning in a resignation letter would do – esp. in the middle of a school year. your aim throughout this all has been to help your students. leaving them only seems like it would hurt them, your family's financial situation, and yourself. this project has obviously developed out of love and concern; when it ends, it should end on the note.
    as for worrying about the split school year situation – i think it's actually a really good idea. maybe your health hasn't been affected too adversely yet, but a straight year might cause more damage. having a break not only allows you to give your body a break and a chance to reflect, but it also gives you a chance to talk to a different group of students (a whole new class!) about their food choices and experiences.
    as someone who's been following this project from about the third or fourth post – keep going, don't get disheartened, and be open to possibilities. this is a good thing you're doing.

  16. Anonymous July 9, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    You might suggest that your dad and any other non blog-savvy family or friends should rent the movie "Julie & Julia" with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. It does a good job of showing what can happen when someone starts a blog and it goes national/international like yours, plus, it's a cute movie AND it's about loving food!

  17. Anonymous July 14, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    I agree with SM. As a teacher I have seen the negative outcomes of a teacher leaving mid year. If it is about the kids then that should be considered.

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