Thursday, June 12, 2014

Musings on a Thursday, 6.12.14

It's time for an update, a vent or two, summer notes, and some prayer requests.

1. It's official!
It's summer, baby. Bring on the beach, the pool, the Netflix and the stacks of guilt-free reading. Today was the last day for teachers at my school. Hip-hip-hooray!

2. A bittersweet decision...
Many know, but many do not know, that I decided to leave my school at the end of this year (which makes today my official last day). There's a short story and a long story (if you want the long story, you'll have to buy me coffee). The short story is, that when all was said and done, I was not a great fit. I think it is a good school, and I thoroughly admire and respect the people who work there (and I will miss the friends that I made there). I believe it was the right thing to do - both for me, and for the school - and I have peace about the decision to resign. The next step, however, is a bit unclear.

3. A leap of faith into the great unknown...
I am currently looking for teaching jobs (again), mainly focusing on public schools for the moment. I am working on scheduling interviews, filling out job applications, and trying to network (even though it feels like I don't really know anyone. I am trusting that 1) God wants me to stay in the United States at the moment and 2) that He will provide for me. If I don't find a teaching position, I hope to sub or find a para-educator position (i.e. teacher's assistant). Prayers would be appreciated! I am not anxious yet, because I am still basking in the relief that it's summer vacation, but I do need to be proactive and I do hope that something will come up in the next couple of weeks. Please pray that I can at least get curriculum interviews with the various districts I'm applying to out of the way. Maryland has HUGE school districts, because each county is a district, and so most applicants are put into a candidate pool (unless you know people, and I don't know know people). I probably won't have school-specific principal interviews until mid-July, as teachers are not required to declare retirement until July.

4. The nebulous prayer-request...
I know, I know - you all thought my nebulous prayer request of a few weeks ago (for my readers who are my facebook friends) was probably about leaving my school. It was, and it wasn't. As I grew increasingly certain that God was leading me from my current school, I started looking for other jobs. Knowing that I had hoped all along to get a job in an international school in a few years, I started looking for international school jobs. I was able to network and found an opening at an international school in Myanmar, of all places. I interviewed and was offered the position - and given a week to decide. I was so sure was going to Myanmar (it was a pretty unique and incredible opportunity)...but every time I composed the email to accept the position, I could not hit send. I just sensed as the week went on that God was asking me to stay in the United States for a little while longer. Believe me, it was hard to give up the adventure, the certainty of a job, and the lucrative salary for life in these United States.

However, I think that God wanted me to stay here because of and in spite of my poor experience this past year - first, that I shouldn't escape to Myanmar because of a rocky first year back in the United States, and second, that there's more for me here than I've discovered - more than just good milk, food trucks, and speedy internet. In part, I think God really wants me to get involved in a church, and to put down a few roots before I go jetting off again - whether to Myanmar - or Mali.

5. A church!
At last, after almost a year and half, I think I've found a church. It seems to have a lot of the things on my unspoken checklist - small, multi-generational, friendly without being creepy, community groups, specific outreach to the community, strong Bible teaching, and moderate music (as in, not a rock and roll concert, but not slow and staid, either). There's a lot more that a person should look for in a church, but these seemed to be items that I looked for, consciously or unconsciously, as I sought a church. I am excited about the opportunities to get plugged in and to get involved in their ministries. I hate to admit this, but I haven't really looked forward to going to church since I've been back in the US, and it's been really...refreshing to look forward to Sunday morning again.

6. A summer project:
I always have big plans for what I am going to get done over summer vacation. Typically, what ends up happening is that I do not accomplish the majority of those things, if any. So, I am going to keep my hopes and dreams relatively small, and just try and do one main "thing." I am planning on creating something like this:
for my classroom for the fall. (Is it counting your chickens before they hatch to create decorations for a classroom for a job that you don't have yet??) I wanted to do something like it this year, but felt that signs pointing to Hogwarts might be frowned upon, so I held off. (Of course Hogwarts doesn't need to be on the sign, but I would know that it needs to be.) I am hoping to have a travel-themed in...'a good book can take you anywhere.' I have found all of these vintage-style travel posters (thank you, Pinterest) for places in books, like Narnia, Minas Tiras, or the Hundred Acre Wood, as well as good quality prints of fictional maps. 

I really need to be hired so that I can put my cute classroom ideas into effect. Sheesh.

7. And now time for a vent...
Yesterday, I was suckered into buying a Bath and Body Works Wallflower plug-in and scent. (Stupid sale signs...). I plugged it in this morning...went to school...came home...the house smelled lovely...and I looked at the little bottle and it was empty. The oil evaporated away in less than 10 hours. I'm sorry, but isn't that a little bit ridiculous?? (Yes, it is). Considering it costs a lot more for a Bath and Bodyworks plug-in, than, say, Febreeze or Glade, it is a bit ridiculous. So, folks, it might be nice to have your favorite B&BW scent pumping out into your living room - but a candle will last much, much longer. 

(Hey, that wasn't so much of a vent...there was no shouting.)

*Update, 6/13/14: Someone pointed out that I probably had the plug upsidedown...I checked. I did. I had bought a decorative plug, and I thought the fish was leaping up...apparently it's leaping down! I'm glad! I take back my vent, B&BW!*

8. And now time for a love letter...
To Trader Joe's Mac & Cheese. (Sorry - not that kind of love letter. No actual romance for this gal.) It tastes so, so, so good. So. Good. It should probably be illegal. I am glad that Trader Joe's is relatively far away from me, because I would probably purchase it far too often in the name of "comfort food" and grow horrifically obese - the kind of horrifically obese that would require a crane to lift me out of my house so that I could go buy more Trader Joe's Mac & Cheese. It's that good.

9. Speaking of growing horrifically obese...
Remember that half-marathon I ran last year? That I was so, so proud of? Well, I pretty much never ran again after that. Oh, here and there, but not really, and certainly not any great distance. I was going to run another half in March, but Winter happened, and I just never really could find the motivation to run in the Polar Vortex. But, summer is here, and I have been longing to run lately. I am looking forward to having the time to build an exercise routine into my life again, and hopefully: keep to it. I hope to run the Baltimore Half in October, again - it's such a fun race, and since I know it's a fun race, it's good motivation to train for it again. 

Thanks for listening to my musings and ramblings. Hope that your summers are off to tremendous starts! I, for one, am celebrating by eating Trader Joe's Mac and Cheese for supper (of course!).