And Just Like That, It’s Over

On March 1st, I eagerly wrote my first slice to mark the start of my tenth year on the Slice of Life Challenge, reflecting on who I am now vs. the me from 10 years ago. I’d been anticipating this challenge for months, the excitement growing each day that it got closer to March. I needed something to reignite my writing life, the one that lay dormant for months.

I began March 2nd like any other slicing day, keeping my eyes peeled for potential slices, debating about what would make the cut. Little did I know that everything would change that afternoon. The writing plans (and let’s be honest…all other plans) I’d had for this month vanished before my eyes.

Each day brought new challenges, as I, like many others, embarked on the monumental task of virtual schooling, with little to no preparation and very little sleep. Many of my slices centered on this new reality that I couldn’t seem to escape. I wrote to reflect on my experience, learn from it, and hopefully help others who would soon join me on this journey.

I leaned on this writing community more than ever, and my fellow slicers rallied around me, lifting me up with encouraging comments, empathizing with my situation, and offering suggestions. I felt seen and heard and loved.

The slices I’ve read this month have been raw and honest. We’ve all laid bare our worries and fears for everyone to see. I feel honored to be among these writers.

March 2020 will forever be etched in our memories. We’ve witnessed and lived through a historical moment in time, and in doing so, have recorded memories that we will look back on for decades to come.

This month, that seems to have lasted forever, yet was over in the blink of an eye, had more highs and lows than I’m used to, but instead of shying away from the ugly emotions of isolation, fear, and frustration, I wrote through it.

And just like that, it’s over.

24 thoughts on “And Just Like That, It’s Over

  1. MegMcCormick

    Congratulations on your 10th year! What a memorable March indeed. Your slice so eloquently shared your trials and tribulations as well as the collective slicing community’s. These lines, “The slices I’ve read this month have been raw and honest. We’ve all laid bare our worries and fears for everyone to see. I feel honored to be among these writers.” really tugged at my heartstrings! Thank you for sharing and congrats again on year 10 of slicing!

    1. aggiekesler Post author

      Thanks Meg! I honestly can’t believe I’ve been a part of this community for a decade! Thank you for reading and for your kind words. Congrats on completing the challenge, too! πŸ™‚

  2. Terje

    It is strange how this year the month passed in a blink, yet it seems we entered a new world in a strange time warp. I am glad you have been here, writing, sharing your thoughts and experiences. Cheers to year 10!

    1. aggiekesler Post author

      Thank you Terje for always being such an encouraging reader and commenter. I have ‘known’ you for a decade…crazy! I hope our paths cross one day. I’d love to have a cuppa tea and a conversation with you. Stay healthy and safe and good luck with virtual school!

  3. wordjourneysite

    You are one of the slicers I’ve known since I started this challenge about 4 years ago. I think you may have been my “Welcome Wagon” person – though I had no idea what that was at the time. I always enjoy hearing about your life in Indonesia and the traveling you’ve done. But this year has been different and more challenging – we’ve all had our ups and downs, but we made it through, finding new topics we never thought we’d be writing about. Hopefully, next year, we’ll be back to “normal” and this time will truly be history. Good luck, stay safe and keep up the good work you are doing with your students.

    1. aggiekesler Post author

      I was one of your welcome wagon readers! πŸ™‚ I have enjoyed seeing you around the SOL challenge for years. Thank you for reading and commenting on my slices last month. You were very encouraging! I hope you remain healthy and safe, too. I hope you keep writing, too!

  4. mschiubookawrites

    You encapsulate why I love this community so well in this slice. β€œThis month, that seems to have lasted forever, yet was over in the blink of an eye, had more highs and lows than I’m used to, but instead of shying away from the ugly emotions of isolation, fear, and frustration, I wrote through it.” Your words ring true β€œI felt seen and heard and loved.” I know we want this for our students especially. May we take what we have learned from this validating experience and move forward.

    1. aggiekesler Post author

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my slices this month. Your words were so encouraging! We will all learn so much from this experience. I hope you keep writing…:)

  5. karpenglish

    You handled all the challenges with grace and poise, and have been so helpful to those of us who faced the challenges and changes later in the month than you did. Best of luck with the remaining part of your school year, and with finding a way to run the PYP Exhibition virtually! I hope that you will get some closure with your friends and colleagues and students and country before you leave Indonesia. Stay safe and stay healthy when you eventually get to travel home, and then…on the Vietnam (I think!) and new adventures!

    1. aggiekesler Post author

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve been thinking a lot about that darn virtual PYP Exhibition. I have some ideas…but nothing concrete yet. I hope to get closure, too, but only time will tell on that one. I’m off to South Korea, but thanks for the well wishes! I am looking forward to it for sure. I hope you and your family stays safe and healthy. I hope to see you around here…maybe for Tuesdays? I’m going to try this year. We’ll see how far I get!

      1. karpenglish

        Darn. I thought it was Vietnam! South Korea should be fun and exciting too though. I am definitely going to try to write on Tuesdays this year. I always try and never make it all the way through April, but it feels more important to keep up the outside contacts this year!

      2. karpenglish

        Oh my gosh! That school looks AMAZING! And the entire island is a World Heritage Site? Whoa! It looks like an incredible place to live. Have you lived on an island before? I know some people get island fever, but since you’ll be so close to other places, I doubt that would be a problem!

      3. aggiekesler Post author

        Thanks…it really is! I cannot wait to be there! Also, I am so looking forward to exploring the island. I’ve never lived on an island…unless you count Indonesia (made up of 17,000 islands!). I am slightly worried about that, but more worried that it’ll feel too quiet. I’m used to big city life, so living on an island with only 600,000 people will feel tiny! But I can fly to Seoul anytime I need big city life.

  6. Darin Johnston

    >I felt seen and heard and loved.<

    This is echoed in so many slices I've read, whether people have acknowledged it or not. This time has changed us and how we'll work as educators and not all in bad ways. The one constant, our ability to connect through writing.

    Please, I hope you continue to share your adventures. This land bound Iowan lives vicariously through your words! πŸ™‚

    1. aggiekesler Post author

      Thank you Darin for stopping by! It’s definitely changed us, and I agree, it’s not all bad, for sure! I’ve learned so much.

      I will definitely keep writing…:) Thanks for reading! Have you ever been to Waterloo? I love that small town.

  7. livinglife816287820

    Thank you for being the first one working from home with online learning and candidly sharing all the highs and lows over the past few weeks. We all learnt a lot from you I’m sure. Even though I can’t approach it in the same way here as there is no online for our students, it still gave me plenty of ideas. I am curious to know when you might be likely to travel or does that depend on a lot of circumstances in the current situation? It seems Indonesia has been very badly hit.

    1. aggiekesler Post author

      You’re welcome. I just wrote what I was feeling and what was going on. I’m glad it was helpful. I know how much you want to be teaching your kids, and I imagine that is so hard to be away from them.

      I have no idea when I’ll get to travel again. I am hoping it is by June 16th, as that’s the day I have to leave Indonesia (my visa will expire). But who knows if and where I’ll be able to go. Trying not to even think about that right now! Indonesia has, but we really don’t know the extent, as the true numbers aren’t being accurately reported. It’s scary not to know.


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