Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting Settled in St. Paul

I just finished reading through my testimony, which I wrote out to share at our annual family stay-cation with Mark’s family. Initially, when I added that item to my to-do list for this week, I felt impatient. As you may have guessed from my long silence, my application before the Board of Teaching passed, and I am in the three-week frenzy before school starts, trying to get everything done that needs to be done. Honestly, right now, being terrified has eclipsed being excited.

We just got moved in to our new apartment in St. Paul, just a bit north of Frogtown (if you’re familiar with St. Paul) on Saturday. Because I hate boxes and being in transition, we got the last box unpacked last night and pictures and clocks hung. This apartment is nice, much nicer in looks than our little house in Iowa. It’s also more expensive, and what we gain in looks we lose in ambiance. The neighbors living below us have what I imagine to be giant subs and giant speakers and at times throughout the weekend they vibrated our floors and furniture with their music. Our neighbors above are quiet, except that their bedroom floorboards (which are also our ceiling…boards) squeak. I’m a light sleeper, so being surrounded by so many abrupt sounds like a squeaking ceiling and dogs barking, and people talking loudly as they walk through the halls has been hugely frustrating. Mark, being the composer that he is, whipped up two white noise soundtracks for me last night, which helped a lot.

So, besides moving, I’ve been trying to finish up my behavior management plan, my investment plan, my long-range unit plans, my first two week lessons, my trackers and displays for the classroom, my grading system and documents, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. According to my mom, “You were able to go to Mozambique and teach with two days of notice and you weren’t stressed at all! You’re really letting this get to you.” Her words are all too true, and yesterday was kind of a low point. I was trying to work on my behavior management plan for my little first graders at a library about five miles from our house, when I suddenly felt completely overwhelmed. Basically, I panicked, went to sit in my car, and called my dad sobbing. It wasn’t pretty. And really not necessary. And really not a good use of time or energy.

In any case, to get back to my original point, I felt like adding ‘Write Testimony’ to my to-do list was just one more thing, and I was impatient. But as I read through my finished product this morning (to make sure it wasn’t too short or too long), tears came to my eyes multiple times. I may have new noises to try to sleep through. Our budget and bank account may be stretched beyond what’s comfortable. I may have a whole lot to do before the school year starts. But God has been faithful, as reading my testimony aloud reminded me. God has been so very faithful to me. I have no need and no reason to doubt Him now.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

One Month Count Down

So, you may have thought I was never coming back. I may have thought that too. But when I was sitting here tonight looking at cute first grade classrooms on blogs and feeling like my life would never be complete until I had a Beanie Baby reading display and cute reading chairs and lots and lots of books... I realized I probably was in need of a step back and a healthy dose of perspective.

The last couple of months have been crazy. Absolutely crazy. Part of the reason that I haven't written in a while is that I just haven't known what to write. Our lives were in such crazy suspension that my emotions wandered off into the hazy unknown as well. I was thankful, then peaceful, then raging, then crying... honestly, I don't know what a post during that time would have looked like. (And really, so far, this post is still pretty rambling!)

Mark and I have an apartment now. We move in next Friday. It's not the old-house-converted-into-apartments feel that I was hoping for, but it's big enough for what we need and it will allow us to get a dog (a smallish dog, not my greyhound that I've been fantasizing about). Mark has a job, albeit a temporary job, as a custodian at a school. His job search process has been, for both him and me, a bit discouraging. I mean, I know that he has lots of wonderful skills and creativity to offer in the workforce, but for whatever reason he's just been unable to find that good fit yet. But we have income, and that's something we're both thankful for.

I have a teaching job lined up. My first day of actual teaching is September 3, almost exactly a month from now (gasp). However, tomorrow my application, as well as many other applications, goes before the Board of Teaching in Minnesota to see if we can get permission to be in the classroom this year. If the Board of Teaching votes down my application, well... I guess I will join Mark in the job search.

But I'm honestly not too concerned about it. Not because it's not concerning (because it is), but because I only have enough space in my brain and right now all the space has been devoted to starting to get ready for my classroom this fall. I found out this week that I'll be teaching first grade, and I got the textbooks we'll be using. I have so much planning to do. I can't even believe how many details have to be ironed out before the first kid walks through my door. I'm alternately thrilled (because let's be honest - I love making plans) and terrified (because let's be honest - I've never had to plan so many details at one time before in my LIFE.)

So, anyway, that's where we are right now. Still about 75% in transition. Not where we wanted to be three and a half months after moving up to the Twin Cities. But we're forging ahead and things are getting worked out bit by bit.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go practice some excellent self-care techniques and not look at any more first grade blogs. I think I'm going to read in bed with the covers over my head.