One year later.

It’s been a year since I last posted. You could say that I’ve been extremely busy with work and life. And you’d be right.

I finished my first year teaching at Sheffield Elementary School. I started with zero proficient or advanced students, and at the end of the year, I had 4 that were either proficient or advanced, and I had a 40 percent growth rate. Lots of room for improvement, indeed, but I felt accomplished for my first year in the trenches.

I didn’t do a lot during my summer off. I was a lot less active than I normally am, but it was good to rest and relax. A and I went to Destin, Florida with my mom and step dad. We went parasailing and got to swim in a pool of sting rays. A was so excited about the sting rays, and I loved watching A’s eyes light up from the experience of being in the water with them. DSC_0012

After Florida, A and I went to Yellowstone for a week to brave the bears and camp in a tent. I remember saying that New York was the best trip I had ever been on, but this one was one for the books! They were both surreal in their own way.

The views were beautiful, the wildlife was amazing, and I can’t wait to go back. The pictures speak for themselves.

After the summer ended, I started working at a new school. A and I moved from Cordova to Bartlett, and the school where I was previously working went through a process in which I would have to interview again and reapply for my position. I took that as a sign to move on, so I now work at an elementary school that is 3 miles from my house..yes, a house! (rent house though)

I absolutely love working there. I was fortunate enough to teach 2nd grade again, and I have the best co-workers anyone could ask for. I love all of them. They are so helpful and encouraging and full of wisdom. It’s the total opposite of what I went through last year. One of them is around my age, and we have become very good friends. I finally made my first friend in Memphis. Yay!

A just gave a 2 weeks notice in at the company that has been life consuming for the past 4 years. A has been granted an opportunity to work for a company that is offering a higher salary and less hours. No more working holidays or weekends! Ever! A is feeling bittersweet about leaving the company, but I believe it will be for the better.

Much more has gone on in the past year, but I think I’ve gotten the main events written. Thanksgiving was 4 days ago, and I am still stuffed. A and I can’t wait for Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Advertisements

Life in Memphis.

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted on here, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I went back and reread my previous “life” post. UPDATE: I canceled that second interview with the tutoring company; it didn’t seem like the right fit.

When A and I first moved to Memphis, A started the new job very quickly. It was rough at first and overwhelming, just like any job, but it has gotten easier. There is quite a bit of traveling involved, which was very hard for me to get used to at first, but I’m better with it now. It still isn’t any fun though. But, A got me a puppy for our 6 month anniversary (if that can even be considered an anniversary) and she makes the days when A is gone much less lonely.

(My cute Piper)

14102205_10155236783749358_8481785292532123102_n

Two weeks after moving to Memphis, I started working at a daycare/preschool. I had been interviewing at a charter school here in Memphis, but that fell through, so I wanted to find something that would give me experience in the education field until I found a teaching position.

A couple of months after working, A and I went on vacation to New York City! I could write a post on the trip alone, but I’ll save that for another day. It was exciting, overwhelming, scary, fun, and the best trip I’ve ever been on. There’s no one I would have rather gone with.

(The 102nd floor of the Empire State Building!)

new-york

Reality hit when we got back from New York. I was still without a teaching position, and I didn’t have my Tennessee teaching license yet, although I had applied for it months before. I received a phone call from an elementary school and scheduled an interview for the next week. The day before I was supposed to go in for an interview, I got a call from the school saying the position was filled already. So, I had to keep waiting. I had already applied to 25+ places. So, I went back to the daycare and just kept on trucking. Finally, in the middle of July, I got a phone call from Sheffield Elementary. They said there were quite a few positions open and wanted to interview me the next day. So, I called into work and went and interviewed with them. Nervously, I exited the interview after an hour of talking and no more than 5 minutes down the road, my phone rang. It was with news that I had gotten the position, and they wanted me to start August 1st as a second grade teacher. I was ecstatic! My first teaching job, and I was going to make decent money, especially for a teacher.

So, that leads up to where I am now. I’ve been teaching the past 4 months, and now I’m enjoying my 2 weeks off from work for Christmas Break. These past 4 months have not been easy. I’ve cried, almost quit, and dreaded getting up in the morning to go to work. But, the thing that keeps me going is my students. They are so sweet and so willing to learn. They would never give up on me, so I cannot give up on them. I will say, it has gotten better. I was so overwhelmed and stressed out at first, but I’ve decided to try to not let those things get to me and solely focus on my students. They are what matters after all. They are the reason I chose to have a career in education, and they are the reason that I will continue to pursue that career. They have shown growth on their test scores in the 4 months that I’ve been teaching them, and I am so proud of them. I’m hoping for a successful and fun second semester with them, and I have no doubt that it will be anything less than that.

(I don’t know what happened to the i)

team-sheffield

(Book character day. A had a say in my Harry Potter attire.)

character-day

Red.

Red. The color of power, energy, passion, desire, speed, strength, heat, love, aggression, danger, fire, war, violence, intensity, celebration, luck, stop, and danger.

The color of blood.

White. The color of purity, the color of innocence, the color of perfection.
Hold my head up high, have no fear, I don’t need protection.
Hard working, sometimes, hardly working, most times.
Rape, murder, theft, oh are those crimes?
Jail time, ha. Don’t make me laugh. You see, I have money, my sentence cut in half.
Out in 3 months, prison will be too hard. That girl asked for it, just 20 minutes of action, why was I even charged?
The corporate world will put me in the lead. Others are more qualified? Too bad, it wouldn’t matter if you begged from your knees.
My opinion matters more than yours, don’t agree with me? That’s it, to me, you are dead.
My way, or the highway, after all, don’t you see that I bleed red?

Black. The color of evil, the color of death, the color of fear.
Act right, talk white, do what they say. Show them you’re educated, just to be clear.
One body, three jobs, little mouths to feed. Don’t I fit the criteria, the stereotype? Indeed.
College degree, high paying job, finally I fit in. No wait, I’m sorry, I have the wrong color skin.
Rape? I did it. Murder? I did it. Theft? I did it. The judge told me so. Eyes watching and judging, I’ve never felt so low.
“The men in blue aren’t out to get you, but be over respectful, just in case.” Cover your eyes, don’t open your mouth, here comes the mace!
“Help me, I can’t breathe!” BANG. Now, I’m dead. While you watch my last breath on Facebook, see that I bleed red.

Pink. The color that is feminine, the color of compassion, the color of love. Get in the kitchen, smile pretty, bathe the kids, the role fits like a glove.
I am weak, I am powerless, my counterpart tells me so. Take a stand, the media says, to them it’s all a show.
Stand back up, to be knocked down. Women’s rights till I die. Susan B. Anthony marked it down in history, oh wait, those rules do not apply.
I have the right to vote, shouldn’t that be enough? As long as I get married and submit, life won’t be too rough.
I want to be my own person, climb to the top of the ladder, be all on my own! I’m not married? I don’t want kids? My goodness, my face should not be shown.
.78 cents to the dollar, I should feel lucky to make anything at all. I wake up at dawn, come home at dusk, doesn’t matter, my bones are just made too small.
Breast feeding, menstrual cycles, all natural things. “Cover up!” “Don’t speak of that!” “Your biggest concern should be keeping that body lean.”
Bad driver, emotional wreck, no smarts in my head. Bow down to the man, doesn’t he see that I bleed red?

Brown. The color of Earth, the color of nature, the color of simplicity. I was here first, I don’t have to worry. Oh my, how could they take my land so maliciously?
Blonde hair, blue eyes, why was I cursed without these? With them, I would have survived, living life with ease.
Different country, ethnicity, time period, religion, same old story. I better believe what they believe, if not, no doubt this will be gory.
Radical Muslims, corrupt government, I have no part to play. I come in peace, I will not harm you, I will stay far away.
Bombs sounding, people screaming, I wonder if my children are alive? The oldest is 12, the middle is 8, the youngest one is 5.
I can tell that you hate me from the snarls and the glares. If I told you I was born in this country, would you even care?
“They’re all bad, line them up! Kill them all,” you said. I haven’t hurt you, never would, when you shoot, I will bleed red.

Rainbow. God’s promise, all the colors united in one. Unity is all I want, when all is said and done.
I am a human, I want to get married, I want to say when to pull the plug. “Not in this country, you are not natural, it’s your own ditch you dug.”
They tell me the Bible says I am doing wrong, although the specific verse I cannot find. Separation of church and state, that rule must have been left behind.
I do all that you do, I eat, I sleep, I work, I play. I do everything the same, oh I forgot, it doesn’t count. I’m gay.
I went to college, I earn my keep, pay my debts to society. But, I am not worthy, I do not matter, how dare we live in a place with variety.
I kissed a girl, I am a girl, who cares? I am not hurting you. I can do what you do, my skills could even be better, but I will never be worthy in your view.
I am not safe, I am wounded, 49 beside me in Orlando dead. “Serves them right, God’s will is done.” I don’t understand all the hatred, when I look down and touch my wound, I bleed red.

Red, White, Blue. The color of America. The land of the free, the home of the brave, watch the eagle soar. We live in God’s country, we are thankful for our soldiers fighting in the war.
Boys dying on the battlefield, girls working on supplies back home. Neither here or there are safe, the only guarantee of life would be living under a dome.
We earned our freedom, fair and square. The morals behind it, only question if you dare.
There is unity within our people, we are all from the same place! Side note, this statement is only true if you are the correct race.
Our men are the providers, they give us what we need. Protect the women, they’re vital to us, they will harvest our seed.
Freedom of speech! Shh! You can’t say that!
Freedom of religion! Christianity is the one and only way. Have a difference of opinion? We’ll make sure you never stay.
“Love thy neighbor as thyself, treat others as you want to be treated.” “We hate you, you’re different from us, why don’t you respect us? Stop being so conceited.”
Black, white, brown, pink, rainbow, Americans we’re born and bred.

How long will it take for U.S. to see that humans all bleed red?

Tornado season begins.

A says the medicine has been working great! No more burning stomach throughout the day, and there has been very minimal waking up in the middle of the night! So, yay! Progress!

Sunday was a long day for a lot of people here in central Arkansas. Tornado season has begun, and it sure started off with a bang. There were 6 tornado warnings on the radar at one time during the night. A tornado passed right over Mayflower and Vilonia. These two towns were devastated in 2014 from a tornado. Just Google it. I grew up in Mayflower and still have friends there, and I have family that lives in Vilonia. A’s family lives in Vilonia too. It was a long night of worry for us until the storms finally cleared up. I guess that’s what we get for living in tornado alley.

A was off Monday and finally got a permanent crown put on. Not really a great way to spend a day off, but gotta do what you gotta do! After I got done picking my tutoring student and her brother up from school, tutoring for an hour, and then dropping them off at MMA class (this routine just started this week), A and I went to the park here in Maumelle. We tossed the football, enjoyed swinging on the swing set, and took a walk around the lake. It was a beautiful day. As we were walking, we decided that it would be the perfect night to grill, so we went to Walmart and picked up a few things and headed home to get started. Our steaks, baked potatoes, grilled squash, and watermelon were delicious if I do say so myself!

Today, I had a phone interview with a tutoring company in Memphis, and I have a second interview scheduled for Sunday. It’s done via webcam, so it will be a different experience for me.

Today, I also went and talked to my dad about moving to Memphis with A. He asked me to reconsider because we’ve only been together for 4 months, and he said you can’t possibly know anyone in 4 months. I agree with him, but I am still going to make the move. He knew that, so he was as supportive as he could be. I was nervous to talk to him, although I shouldn’t be. I think it really hurts his feelings that I feel like I’m not able to talk to him about things. I don’t try to make it that way. I have always been scared to talk about personal or emotional things. It’s something I have to work on. I told my mom via text message too, and she replied with, “All I want is for you to be happy.” This reply is all I was hoping for.

 

It is finished!

Thursday, A and I went to a friend’s house to be sure we saw her at least one time before we move to Memphis. It’s always a good time, and trippy this time, so it was interesting to say the least. We just sit and talk (and drink), and I always feel like I’ve been their friend forever. It’s nice to be around people who make you feel welcome, even when they don’t know you all that well. That’s how I always try to make people feel. Having the feeling returned is nice.

As of yesterday at 11:00 a.m. I am done with going to any college classes (unless I get my Master’s of course). I’m still in my online course, but I never have to step foot on campus again (until graduation)! This is such a refreshing feeling.

A has always had anxiety issues. Since 4th grade, there have been stomach aches and worrisome thoughts all the time. Yesterday, A finally went to the doctor about it. The anxiety of running the whole store alone for a month since the manager is on leave of absence and the anxiety of having to move to a new state and start a new job is starting to take its toll. The doctor (my step-aunt) prescribed anxiety medicine to take every day, Xanax in emergency situations,  and sleeping pills for when there’s nothing but tossing and turning and sleeplessness at night. Hopefully, the everyday anxiety medicine will balance things out. I hate seeing all the worrying all the time. I feel like I should do something to help, but I don’t know what to do. I wish I could understand the feeling better too because sometimes I think that things aren’t a big deal and I don’t understand why anything is even being worried about. But, A can’t help but think about them and worry. So, I’ve been doing some research to try to understand the feeling and try to learn ways to be supportive the best I can be.

Today, I’m going to my mom’s to hang out for a while. The news about moving has to be told. I’m nervous. But, I’m hoping for the best. After seeing her and my step dad, A and I are going to Erin’s birthday dinner at Local Lime. A and I hate their food, but Erin has been my friend since I was in 7th grade. I can’t say no! Ha!

 

 

Outdoorsy things.

Petit Jean Mountain on Sunday was a lot of fun! Lunch was at McAlister’s, and the drive to the mountain always provides excellent scenery. Bri and I started out at the main lodge and hiked the trail that leads down to the waterfall. It’s a mile hike one way, so not too bad. We became adventurous and climbed behind the waterfall. We felt it was the ideal picture taking location.

image1image1 (1)

On our way back to the lodge, we saw another trail that lead to the “blue hole.” Neither of us had been on that trail before, so we decided to take it. It was about another mile till we reached “blue hole.” It was nothing fascinating; just a spot of the creek that was deeper than the rest. We decided to continue on the trail instead of turning back because we thought it would lead back around to the lodge. We were wrong. It lead to the road and continued across the road. After already walking an additional mile, we decided to just walk along the road to the lodge. After regaining cell phone signal, we figured out which direction to walk and that it would be another 1.7 miles to our destination. IMG_6966

All in all, it was a good day, even if we did get lost!

Yesterday was the first day that I had to be back in the classroom at UALR. We have class from 9-12 this whole week then we are done with being on campus forever! So exciting!

Last night, A and I were finally able to celebrate the promotion. It was Harry Potter themed with lots of wine and candles. I wanted to adhere to A’s nerdiness, so I figured a Gryffindor outfit would suffice. A seemed to agree.

Tonight, we’re going to Old Chicago in North Little Rock; the place we first met (on our Tinder date, as embarrassing as that is). We decided we needed to go back at least once before we move to Memphis. So, tonight it is! Hopefully, they won’t recognize us, or they may not serve us. Let’s just say our first date makes for a great, crazy story. I’ll save that for another day.

The phone call.

Yesterday was a day full of worry and anticipation. The phone call that A was supposed to get about the job promotion should have come midday yesterday. Needless to say, that wasn’t the case. A got home, cracked open the bottle of wine and sulked all night. I tried to stay positive and joke around, like I usually do. I think it worked a little. Bed time was early for A though (8:30 on a Friday night!). I stayed up till 11 doing my online professional development hours that I need for my teaching licensure. They were due last night. I’ve only known about them for 5 months…oops. I still haven’t improved on my procrastination. Maybe with time.

“I told you so!” were some of the first words I texted A today. I got the text that the job was in the bag around noon today. So, we are moving to Memphis after all! The job comes with an 8 percent raise, as well as an extra 4K bonus each year. The job starts April 4th, but we’ll have to move beforehand, obviously. On to online apartment shopping!

Today, I also decided to get outside and enjoy the weather. It’s the first 70+ degree day we’ve had this year and not a cloud in sight.  I couldn’t miss the opportunity to enjoy it. So, I went to the Big Dam Bridge and ran 3 miles. Bet you can’t guess what kind of bridge it is 😉 I didn’t want to do the trail I always do. I decided to explore a little, and I found this cool little spot. Made for a nice rest stop.

12798979_10154686901219358_1157505122967489013_n

Tomorrow I’m off to church, lunch, then Petit Jean Mtn. with my long time friend Bri! Yay for nice weather!