The Fifth Year

I've entered my fifth year in the Czech Republic, and I realize what a strange phenomenon this is.  I have had a life of four-year cycles: 4 years at home before school, kindergarten, 4 years of elementary school, 4 years of middle school, 4 years of high school, 4 (and-a-half) years of college, 4 years in the Czech Republic.  Though I can't speak of my younger years, middle school, high school, college, and life in the Czech Republic have followed a similar cycle.  The first year was testing the waters, sometimes in a silly outgoing manner, sometimes reserved and observant.  During the second years, I would become more active as my confidence grew, joining groups and expanding experiences.  The third year was perhaps a bit experimental, and activity loads were evaluated more and shifted.  This would continue into the last year of the cycle, where I'd try to scale things back in order to deal with stress or sleep deprivation.

It's held true in the Czech Republic.  My first year I was highly observant and reflective, wanting to jump in and yet feeling a bit insecure in the new language and surroundings.  Over the summer I felt like I gained a bit of my personality back in the USA, and entering the second year in my new work with the international school, I gained more confidence and more connections.  Growth in my social group meant dance lessons, hikes, and even a bout with Toastmasters. In my third year, everything seemed to swarm me: too many friendships/contacts to try to maintain, dating, a difficult teaching load, more school responsibilities, and a near nervous breakdown (but definite bursts into tears) at the end of the school year.  Weeding had happened throughout that, and leading into my fourth year, I almost felt at a loss with what to do with my free time.  A shift in teaching duties, leading the self-analysis for school accreditation, and an engagement kept me from being too idle.

In the summer I got married, and now it's the fifth year (I count in school years, of course).  In a way, I'm almost at a loss. My fifth year in this new place.  It's no longer new, I know my way around, and the language continuously becomes less of an obstacle.  (I'm more at ease sliding between Czech and English than when I have to constrict myself to just one language.)  Here in this fifth year and my first year of marriage, it's possible that this cycle of observation, increased activity, scaling back, and ease could continue. It's also possible that the cycle is about to continue as this child grows inside me: it will have four years before starting kindergarten.


Popular Posts