Sunday, March 6, 2016

Time and the Alchemy of Transformation

Yesterday I spent much of the day at a training session for a school where I teach online classes as an adjunct--an onground training session.  It was interesting to go to one of these days as a participant, a person in charge of nothing.  In my full-time job, I'd have been the one leading one of the segments--or the whole meeting.

It was an interesting day, although I didn't learn any information that was completely new to me.  I've been teaching since (gulp!) 1988, so I'm familiar with the teaching techniques, although some of the technology is completely different.  I'm aware of the theories of how different generations learn and what they value, but it's work that I find fascinating, so I liked that presentation and discussion.

It was interesting to spend time with old friends and to realize that although we're now working in a variety of settings, we can still be happy to see each other and reconnect instantly.  I drove over with a friend, and on the way home, I stopped by to see how she and her spouse, who once had an office beside mine, had transformed their backyard cottage.  It's a very small space, and they've done amazing things with it.  Her spouse helped my spouse with our own backyard cottage transformation, and he's one of the few people I know who understand as much about home repair as my spouse.  We spent half an hour talking--it was good to reconnect.

But I knew that my in-laws would be arriving, and so I cut our visit short.  I called my spouse to let him know that I was running late, and I got the news that my in-laws were running early.  They would get home about the same time I did, not the later evening that they had originally planned.

So, the guest room wouldn't be quite ready for them--I had planned to put the closet back together again after my all-day meeting.  I told myself that they would adapt.  I thought about dinner and called my spouse back to talk about the possibility.  Happily, I had put leftover chili in the freezer a few weeks ago.  It wouldn't be enough, but I knew I could stretch it with some tomatoes, beans, and perhaps more beef.

Truth be told, I put it in the freezer when I was unhappy with it but couldn't bear the waste of throwing it away.  But after a slow simmer to defrost, along with some additional spices, the tomatoes, and the beans, we ate a transformed and much better chili. 

I thought of that transformation and the alchemy of transformation that time can sometimes perform.  I think of the colleagues that I saw yesterday and how many of them have managed a similar transformation in a new setting.  I am always happy to see colleagues/friends from a former time, especially when they've gone on to find themselves in a happier place.

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