I am back in my cubicle after seven weeks at home. I knew that the first couple of weeks would be difficult, far from my family and friends, surrounded by people speaking unfamiliar languages, chatting away about summer vacations, meeting and greeting fellow colleagues. Everyone is happy and relaxed after seven weeks away from their cubicles. I feel homesick and alone because some of my friends completed their contracts; found new jobs, or moved on to the next adventure. I miss the teachers who left and feel sad that the college didn’t hire any replacements.
On a positive note, my first week in my cubicle was a chance to recover from a busy summer vacation, a 36-hour flight, with 3 stops, a two-hour taxi ride and three hours of sleep before my first day at work. Thank goodness, we had no tasks, and were free to rest in our cubicles.
My second week back in my cubicle gave me an opportunity to reflect on my summer vacation and think about the future. I realize that most people do not have a seven week holiday and I feel a bit selfish saying that it was not long enough. I could have used another two or three weeks. Actually, I worked much harder during my holiday than I do at my job. Life in my cubicle involves zero physical activity and very little brain work.
During my break I accomplished some of the things on my “to-do” list, along with a few additional jobs that surfaced over the summer. As planned I made a tumbling composter using mostly recycled material. I also increased the rock garden, built another raised garden bed, made laundry soap, and completed the outside renovations to my mini-gym. It no longer looks like an eyesore in the backyard. The inside will have to wait until next summer because I ran out of time and energy.
The unplanned projects included painting the garage floor and restoring my grandmother’s antique sideboard that I rescued last summer. It was slated to go to the landfill until I agreed to take it. Although it required hours of hard work and a great deal of patience I am pleased with the restoration.
Lastly, I removed our large, ugly deck that needed to be stained every summer, and replaced it with a small step with a railing. I thought this would be a simple job but it took a lot longer than expected. I built the new step using only recycled materials (lumber and nails) from the previous step, posts from inside the abandoned building, and cement post holders that my brother gave me. The finishing touches will have to wait because I am back in my cubicle for another year.
Some days are challenging, coping with the boredom of cubicle life, thinking about what to do after the work day ends and counting down the days until the first holiday of the semester. Two more days and I am off to Salalah for a week away from Nizwa and this miserable cubicle.