I survived the first week with students and contrary to previous beliefs, 4th graders are not terrifying. I thought my personality was better suited for teaching older students, but I must say that so far teaching the younger ones has been awesome. I have a smile plastered on my face constantly and I feel positively - dare I say it - peppy. And I think I know where I've found the energy to be like this.
I do not shy away from my addiction to coffee. I've started my mornings with the good stuff since watching Lorelai and Rory practically guzzle coffee at Luke's Diner in every episode of Gilmore Girls. I've been a faithful lover of coffee for more than 10 years. I've fed my addiction and spent God knows how much at Angelina's and Heine Brothers and Starbucks and Hillside Café and countless others. But now I can honestly say that I've found something that works even better.
When I arrived in Uppsala almost a month ago, I bought a monthly bus pass and a bike. I thought I would use the bus for commuting to work and the bike for trips around town. But after just a week, I was annoyed by the bus. I didn't like being at the whim of its timetable and the 750 SEK (about $90) wasn't a selling point either. The 7k ride to work intimidated me, but the bus annoyed me more. Late last week, I hopped on my bike at 7am and I haven't looked back. I thought I'd get to work sweaty and disheveled, but the mornings have been cool and I bring toiletries and a change of clothes. Since last Thursday, I've biked more than 60 miles and I bet that's further than I've gone in my 24 years combined. (Sorry Mom and Dad for all the bikes you bought me that I didn't fully appreciate and that I didn't notice were gone when you gave them away...)
Anyways, here's what I love about biking to work in no particular order: I pass by Carolina Rediviva, the largest library in Sweden, the Uppsala Castle, built in 16th century, and the stunning Botanical Garden. I get an hour's worth of exercise (and endorphins!) every day. I have to be alert early to navigate cars, pedestrians and other bikes, contributing to the "better than a cup of coffee" wide-awakeness that I feel. I'm getting a nice pair of thunder thighs and a butt to match. I make up for all those times I drove two blocks in Louisville. And I have the energy to keep up with 10 year olds.
Come the dark and dreary mornings of December I'll be riding that bus without complaint, but for now I'm happy on two wheels.