Now it's my turn.
It didn't take long to learn how transient the Vail Valley was. It seems to be the nature of the beast in a tourist town. In fact, upon meeting one of my best friends, Julie, she asked "Are you going to live here for a while or are you going to leave in 6 months like everyone else? Because if you are going to leave, I don't want to be your friend." (If you knew Jules, you would know that that statement wasn't as bad as it sounds... )
And so I've been blessed with amazing friendships over the past 10 years here. Many have been around for the whole time. However, I did experience what seemed to be a mass exodus of friends in 2009, whether from life changes like getting married and having kids to moving to survive the economic crisis. I remember thinking, "Wait, this isn't supposed to happen to me now. I've been here for 6 years, I shouldn't have to find new friends now!" But, such is life.
I had considered taking a trip like this for many years. My initial plan was to teach for 5 years, then take a year leave of absence and teach abroad. But the reality was that my teaching gig was my dream job and I just didn't want to leave it. During the 2011-12 school year, I didn't find nearly the fulfillment I usually had from teaching so that is when this whole sabbatical idea started to take root.
And here I am. All my belongings are in storage and I'm ready to say so long to the Valley... but just for a year. I have been surprised at how easy it's been. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it seems this is something people do around here so it's no big deal. They leave and then come back...and you didn't even know they were gone. I envision myself back in town a year from now and someone saying... "Oh hey! I haven't seen you in a while." "Yeah... I've been gone for a year." "Oh, right..."
First Stop: I leave in 7 hours for a week long backing trip with 7 Young Life girls and fellow leader Melinda Brandt in the Arapahoe National Forest. Can't wait to update you on the awesome week that will have been. Pray for no forest fires...