Five years ago I graduated from UCSB. My college, CCS, had early graduation, so I had taken my finals early to be ready for departure the next day. I walked across the stage in Campbell Hall and I remember thinking “I should be proud of myself” but I wasn’t particularly, because I had never doubted that this day would come. I was always going to graduate. The day was beautiful, blue, and bright in that Santa Barbara-ish way. In my memory the coral trees were blooming, although they probably actually weren’t since June is a little late for that. I went out to eat with my parents at a lovely seafood restaurant on the pier. I went home to my two bedroom apartment in Isla Vista ($1600/mo.) and finished packing. I remember feeling sad.
I went home to the rented red brick ranch house I share with my husband. Our AC isn’t working and since it was a toasty 97 degrees outside we went out to dinner, rather than make things worse by turning on the stove.
Five years ago I woke up in Santa Barbara at 3:30am, shoved the last boxes and bags into my car and drove down to LAX. As the plane flew into RDU, I pressed my nose against the window and looked down at the ground (Look at all the trees! The ground is red!) and thought, “This is home now” even though it wasn’t. I stepped onto North Carolina soil for the first time. As the TFA shuttle bus took me to NC State I, again, pressed my nose to the window this time marveling at the buildings (They’re all made of brick! And look at all the trees!)
Settled in my dorm room in North tower, I stood on the balcony as a summer thunderstorm rolled in and thought “I could like this” even though I wasn’t sure.
As I walked down Hillsborough St. toward a bar that evening with with a bunch of CMs someone threw eggs at two of the girls from a car.
Last Saturday continued hot and the AC continued to suck. I lay on the couch, sweltering. An early morning call from our landlord saying that she’d send someone to look at the AC sent Chris and I into an orgy of outsiders-can’t-see-this house cleaning.The AC man never showed, but the plumber did come to fix a leak in our water main.
I read teacher blogs in the afternoon.
Five years ago ENC Induction began. I spent the morning in a PowerPoint heavy session about core values, uncomfortable in my new “work” clothes, nursing blisters from my new “work” shoes” and wondering how on earth that man on the stage in a suit dryly taking us through bullet points could ever have been a kindergarten teacher.
In the evening, I finished typing my last college paper; despite having graduated I still had to turn in this one last assignment. I hit “send” on my email and officially ended my college career.
Yesterday I went to sing during the 11:00 service. The church I go to here has about 180 regularly attending members and the most beautiful stained glass windows I have seen in a long time. I attend there because the teacher down the hall from me directs the choir. There are 6 other teachers from my school district in the choir as well. Church is less than five minutes from home and even closer to my school.
I spent two hours on the phone with my parents and the rest of the evening reading on the couch, sweating in our hot house, and watching The Next Food Network Star.
Five years ago I went to a set of TFA ENC sessions. We were housed in a building somewhere in downtown Raleigh and I remember vividly sitting on the large stone steps outside some grandly soaring building or other, carefully tucking my knee-length skirt around me, and eating a boxed lunch (Heavenly Ham!) with a bunch of other CMs. We complained that we hadn’t yet met an actual Corps Member from ENC.
I found out from a list taped to the wall who I would have my (eagerly awaited) interview with later that week. I looked at the school’s name (where I would spend the next three years, although I didn’t know it then), turned it over eagerly in my mind and ran to my computer as soon as possible to find anything I could about the school online. There wasn’t much.
Today I gave my last final of the year to a squirmy (and highly annoying) group of 10th graders. After the exam I had to house them until 12:30, so we watched The Sandlot and I tried to keep them from assaulting each other with my office supplies (“Hey guys! Stop taping each other to things!”).
Five years ago, home was San Diego or Santa Barbara; today, however reluctantly sometimes, home is North Carolina.
Five years ago I bought my first car; today I am done paying it off!
Five years ago I was single; today I am married.
Five years ago I knew I would never want to go back to school; today I am seriously considering what steps to take to get my masters.
Five years ago I had never written a lesson plan; today I no longer write lesson plans because I have taught all of my classes so many times before.
Five years ago I was scared at the thought of standing in front of a roomful of students; today I have to fight back the urge to correct strange children’s behavior in public.
Five years ago I was sure I was embarking on a grand adventure that would change my life forever; today I am still me.