Back to School (by guest blogger Heidi Dixon Kwon)


September is a month that brims with a palpable sense of anticipation. As the warmer seasons slowly fade to a close, the roads come alive while children fill hallways and people return tan and giddy from their vacations. 

This month is that moment Fall reaches out to take the baton from Summer, marking the unofficial start to a new year of diligence — be it in academia or work.

Within the walls of our small apartment, our roles in marriage begin to shift again. Daniel, who had graciously stepped up in his laundry game, grocery shopping and meal prepping during his time off, now returns to his mountain of books and assignments. A fresh year of exams and boards unfolds in a startling array of colored blocks on our calendar; time transforms into something of a commodity. Excitement and ambition begin to buzz in our speech as we plan and discuss this upcoming academic year.

In the early mornings before I head into the office, I spend time in the quiet sipping a cup of tea and watching the sunrise out of the window. In a few minutes, I’ll wake my tired husband for class and take my snoring pup out for her first walk. My shoulders feel heavy and I’m still rubbing the sleep from my eyes, but I’m well rested and ready for the day to unfold. As a full time employee, I didn’t get a traditional summer vacation, but there’s something about this time that makes me feel like I’m beginning again.  

Before the alarms kick in and the rest of the world wakes up, I am able to quiet my rushed mind. I take a sip of Yunnan Supreme, a wonderful black tea that helps to usher in this mentality of a soft, blossoming awakening. The tea is smooth and round, while providing a crisp and fragrant aftertaste. The golden leaves stain the water a deep, caramel hue and emit a sweet aroma.

The caffeine is also a nice touch at 6 am.

I take a moment to remember just how wonderfully tranquil these last few months have been with my husband. A generous amount of lazy days and afternoons lounging about have prepared us mentally, emotionally and physically for another challenging year ahead. Many of my thoughts are tinted blue with a hint of melancholy, because the warm air will soon be gone again and medical school and boards will captivate most of Daniel’s time. But for the first time in a while, I remember to be thankful. I finish my cup of tea and smell the morning air brewing just outside my window, truly grateful for both the season of rest and of work. As I continue to support my forever-student-husband financially, I recall with a full heart and clear head that studying is a gift, and that work is a luxury.


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