Am I There Yet?

Am I There Yet CoverI follow @ByMariAndrew on Instagram; she has become quite a social media sensation over the last couple of years, posting thoughtful watercolor doodles of hurdles most 20-somethings face, like overcoming uncertainty, finding purpose, falling in love, heartbreak and loss, and discovering yourself. She recently published a book, the driving concept of which is that there is no perfect map to adulthood for anyone, and some of us need an extra bit of wandering along the way. I ordered it on Amazon, and each night before bed, I flipped through a few pages, consoled that a stranger could so perfectly illustrate many of the trials and personal developments I have experienced over the last few years.

Explorer though I may be, I like the idea of a map to follow. I kind of thought I had a direct one — college, grad school, travel, settle down, teach. A modern American Dream, happily ever after. But the map went rogue on me, because this first year teaching has continued to be a slog. I wrestled with my dissatisfaction through the Spring and dialouged openly with administration, but I ultimately submitted my letter of resignation back in March and will not be teaching next year. I am leaving on good terms, but the job journey has been feeling a heck of a lot more loop-de-loop lately.

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Carolina Thanksgiving

In the Humanities class I co-teach, we’re currently exploring Restorative Justice as an alternative to punitive discipline and determining how we could institute it in some way at Carolina High. One fundamental component of RJ is building community and social-emotional skills by circling up. This past Tuesday, the last day of school before Thanksgiving break, I decided to use a form of circle time to practice oral communication and a spin-off of the circle: a thankful semi-circle.

Students were given a topic based off an old Mohawk tribal tradition giving thanks to ancestors and the natural world. Groups of eight students gathered at the front of the room and one by one went up to the podium to share something they were grateful for in relation to their topic. Among grandparents, water, trees, and the earth one group had the word “birds.”

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Off the Road

Last month, funemployment officially came to a close.

Following an unforgettable jaunt snorkelling with all the nea-ture in the Galapagos Islands, an invigorating few days trekking the AT in the Smokies, and a long-anticipated Charleston reunion with my soul friends Mariah and Tracey, I moved to Greenville for the next chapter of life: Adult-ing. Which I’m actually enjoying very much; so far, I think I’ve been kicking butt at it, even with all the boring, mundane responsibilities that come along with the role.

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In the Center of God’s Will

Happy Spring!!

My life of funemployment has continued to be a cycle of trip research, planning, and itinerary spreadsheet writing; packing; jumping on an airplane; adventuring; flying back home; crashing into bed late at night; unpacking; running a load of laundry; meeting up with a few friends; and planning once more before I’m off on another travel escapade. I have to admit…within that physical merry-go-round, I also endure psychological swings of gratitude, utter exhaustion, a “here we go again/just do it” mentality, and excitement.

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Mihi Mihi

Two weeks ago I returned to New Zealand and hit the ground running. I landed about midnight on Sunday and got bombarded with new assignments in class the very next morning. I’ve moved flats and am now house sitting in a real house with two fantastic flatmates from Christian Union, the campus ministry we’re all a part of (more on that awesome situation and the lack of NZ housing insulation in a future blog post). I’ve hosted an amazing couchsurfer (also deserving of its own post), gone tramping, and returned to UCanDance.

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Placement 1

For most of my life, I have wanted to be a teacher. Two years ago when I made the official adult decision to pursue education as a career, I came across this picture from Humans of New York.

At the time, it epitomized one of the main reasons I was committing to teaching. Why would someone who had the brains and opportunities to go into many other worthy professions willingly choose a job with pubescent teenagers? A job that follows you home, that grossly underpays and is so exhaustingly demanding? And in English, one that requires you to mark paper after endless paper??

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Home

Before I left, people asked me if I knew what my next steps after this year of study were going to be. How could I? I had not even gotten here yet. I anticipated that this country would suit me well, but there was no way to know for sure.

Well, I’ve been here five weeks now, and — big surprise — I love it. When I was talking to my mom last week, I told her how much I enjoy my classes, that I feel so confident about going into teaching. She retorted that I could like physics class so long as I was studying in New Zealand. I rolled my eyes. (She is wrong, by the way; I will never willingly venture into the field of math and science again.)

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