Ok. Consider the following a stream of consciousness. Stacy posted a similar list on her blog a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been sneaking a few minutes here and there to write my own. I had intended to link a bunch of the stuff to old posts, but I only had the time to do a few. Regardless, I’ve written about most of the things after 2009.
The premise is to study the past in order so that I may divine the future.
2003: In the fall of 2003, I began my Senior year of high school. I had just returned from a summer in England with family, and I was the captain of the XC Team. Mick, my boyfriend at the time, dumped me, and I spent the fall with my girlfriends; meanwhile, I was applying to colleges and crushing on that boy (Joshua) in Humanities.
Best: living and breathing cross country; England; hanging out with Ashlee. Worst: being dumped. Hindsight: that crush is the real deal.
2004: That winter, I was the captain Nordic Ski Team. In January, I mustered up the courage to ask Joshua to a school dance. Soon, college letters came in, and despite all the odds, I was rejected from four of the five schools I applied to. Although it was a huge hit to my confidence, I was accepted to the University of Puget Sound, and it just so happened that Joshua had applied there in the fall for early acceptance. That Spring, I didn’t run track and I ran my first (and only, so far) marathon at Grandma’s in Duluth. In May, I graduated with a 3.94 (sorry, had to add that in, lest you think I’m a dummy for having been rejected from four out of five schools), and I worked all summer for FedEx on the night shift. That August, my dad and Hannah took me out to UPS. During Freshman orientation, I went backpacking with Eric and Matt who would become good friends for the rest of college. Joshua and I broke up for 24 hours, and my first roommate was a bust, but otherwise, life was pretty good. I moved in with Stacy, and we got along well, but we didn’t really become friends (until 7 years later?!).
Best: dating Joshua; marathon. Worst: rejection; first roommate. Hindsight: make friends with Stacy!
2005: During the second semester of freshman year, Caitlin and I became friends, and a group of us decided to live together. In the Spring, I took an Outdoor Leadership course, and I got to go on a weeklong backpacking trip along the Washington coast. That Summer, I went back to Minnesota and worked for FedEx and Mandy’s office, and then in the Fall, I moved back to the UPS and started living with Joshua (in a house with six other people). I took my first Art History and Gender courses, and I fell in love with them.
Best: backpacking, classes. Worst: choosing a major that’s pretty much useless. Hindsight: graduate with a credential, not a degree.
2006: That winter, I remember studying hard and weathering the dramatic ups and downs. 19 and 20 year olds are a lot like sixth graders: they want to be treated as though they are adults, but in a lot of ways, they still act like children. The kitchen was a sty, and forging new friendships while maintaining others proved tricky. That summer, Joshua, Caitlin, and I stayed on campus and worked for Conference Services. That fall, the three of us flew to South America and spent four months on the lam, learning Spanish, trying out WWOOFing, teaching English, and discovering the life of travel.
Best: living with Joshua for the first time; TRAVELING. Worst: dysentery, 19 year old boys that smoke weed and don’t clean the kitchen. Hindsight: send e-mails with all of the information (don’t through the family into a panic).
2007: Back in Tacoma, the three of us got an apartment in the Proctor District, less than a mile from school. In January, I went to the Humane Society, and we adopted Oscar, a shy and wonderfully grumpy mutt who lives with us to this day. By now, I had declared an Art History major (good sense be damned) and Joshua had declared a History major. That summer, Joshua worked for Conference services while I worked at the Office of Accounting and Budgeting Services and took summer classes. That fall, I became a Campus Campaign Coordinator for Teach For America, and I recruited like crazy, compelling 10% of our graduating class to apply. Joshua and I were accepted in October, and every morning, we would wake up early and run, talking about our future in New Orleans.
Best: Oscar, running with Joshua. Worst: not much! Hindsight: that teaching thing? It’s not a bed of roses.
2008: That Spring, we finished out our degrees and graduated with Honors. Joshua proposed, I said yes (of course), and in May, we packed our tiny little Hyundai with all of our earthly possessions – including Oscar – and set off for the Bayou, stopping at the Grand Canyon and Taos along the way. We stayed with Sarah for a couple of weeks, exploring the new city and dying from the heat, and then we flew to Phoenix for Institute. Six weeks later, we returned to New Orleans for our first ever teaching jobs. In the same school. (Crazy right?) Together with 9 other corps members, we were baptized by fire. It was the worst year of my life. We lost 10 students to gun violence. Other students were put in prison for taking the lives of others. It was unsafe, unhappy, miserable – no more so for us than our students – but vicarious trauma has its own teeth.
Best: the trip down to New Orleans, spending time with Sarah, our little quarters near the Marigny. Worst: ‘nuff said. Hindsight: ????
2009: During our second semester, the police were called onto campus 52 times. Gun clips in the yards, abusive administrators, and urine in the closets. But then. Summer. We drove back to Minnesota. Flew to Athens. We spent a month biking around the islands, swimming in the sea, and remembering the good things in life. In July, we married at Afton Apple Orchard among our friends and family, tan and happy. That fall, I returned to another slightly better but still terrible alternative school run by the RSD. Joshua went to New Orleans College Prep. We survived. Joshua working harder than ever, and me – coping. That Thanksgiving, we spent a short vacation in the Ozarks with my dad, Mandy, Hannah, and Eamon.
Best: GREECE, wedding, Ozarks. Worst: ‘nuff said. Hindsight: ????
2010: I remember New Years as one of the highlights in New Orleans. We ate a fancy dinner and watched the fireworks up on the levee, dressed to the nines. That Spring break, I flew to Portland to visit Caitlin for a week, and we poked around the coast like old times. And in May, it ended. If you ask me now, I can’t tell you why we stayed. It was so horrible, and I honestly don’t think I did any good. But we did, and when we left, we felt like we were being born again. Free to live life. Free to choose a new path. In June, we flew to England. We met up with Ashlee, hiking the Wicklow Way and exploring Andalucia. Back in England, we biked from End to End (and side to side), visiting our fabulous English family the whole way. After dunking our toes at John O’Groates, we headed for Turkey and then India. We spent a short time in Northern India with the Tibetans and zen travelers, and then we hopped a train and a bus for Nepal, a dream of mine. We hiked there for a couple of months, meeting up with the Ps, rafting down the Kaligandaki, soaking in the Himalaya, and then we flew back to England for a couple of weeks of mulled wine and scones with family before heading back to Minnesota.
Best: TRAVELING, rafting with the Ps, finishing teaching in NOLA. Worst: not much. Hindsight: DO IT AGAIN.
2011: In Minnesota, I came down with pyelonephritis, and lost the 10 pounds I hadn’t lost travelling. We lived in Ellsworth with Yvonne and Dave for a few months, and then we applied to our jobs here in Denver, driving down for interviews in March. We were both made offers on the spot, and we took them, renting a place in the Highlands before we returned to Minnesota to pack up our stuff. In April, we moved down to our two bedroom apartment. We took a little road trip into the mountains and down to Mesa Verde, and then I taught summer school. K and Stacy moved down, and they became our close friends. In July, we got pregnant, and that Fall, I suffered through the heat and learning how to teach for the first time. In November, we bought our house.
Best: Colorado, spending time with family, getting preggers, hanging with the Ps and Devanes. Worst: teaching while preggers in the heat. Hindsight: you’re so lucky to have the Ps and the Devanes!
2012: Just as I started to get the hang of teaching in a place where teaching is possible but never easy, Spring Break arrived and so did Lily. My pregnancy and her birth really do mark one of the most momentous occasions in my life. Those first months were hard. K and Stacy were living with us (in between renting and owning), and their company made things a little easier. Gradually, we started to get the hang of this parenting thing, and in the fall, we returned to work, dropping off Lily at a wonderful little school.
2013: That second year of teaching was easier, but still difficult. More and more, I’d gotten the feeling that something in me wants to teach, but I’m not really sure if teaching wants me to teach, if that makes sense. I poured myself into my friendships and Lily, and we enjoyed numerous visits from family and friends. This summer, we took a road trip to California, and this fall, we began another year of teaching. This year, by far, is the best year of teaching, and yet… Well, we’ll see.
Best: Spending time with friends and family. Worst: the Ps leaving. Hindsight: none yet.
Hopes/Goals/Themes for the Future:
- What I want more than anything is a strong network of family and friends. Brittaney was here last week, and I practically salivated when she talked about having friends with children, people who they see on a regular basis, bounce ideas off of, and count on. I would love to have a loving community in which to raise Lily.
- One thing I haven’t found is professional satisfaction. In college, I loved art history, religion, and feminism, but since then, I’ve struggled. Teaching has been a lot of good things, but it’s also been a lot of terrible things (I mean really, really horrible). In some ways, it’s more bad than good, more stress and heartache than joy. I really want to carve out a space professionally where I feel like I have something unique and good to offer, but I don’t have all of the answers yet.
- Kids. Having Lily is one of the most rewarding and profound things I’ve ever done. We want more J
- TRAVEL. Like Stacy, I’d say this is money well spent and some of the best experiences of our lives.
And that’s about it. I don’t know about predicting the future, but that’s what I hope for. Any divinations you find with reading? What about you?