Saturday, June 12, 2010

School's out for the summer...almost!

I have one more contract day until I am done with being a PACE teacher. It's a little bit crazy to look back over the last two years and see how much I've grown and changed because of and sometimes in spite of the program. I am not the same girl that packed two suitcases two years ago and set off across the country to give back to her community. These last two years have been the hardest and lonliest of my life, but also the most rewarding and strengthening.

Stepping away from my family and friends has given me the opportunity to define myself, instead of letting their lives and experiences of me be who I am. For this reason it gets harder and harder to define "home", as I am caught between the community I have built for myself out here and the communities that were built for me back on the East Coast. The people here know the professional Emily, the one who struggles with caring too much about people who don't care for her. The people at home know the Emily who was quiet and reserved, and very conservative in her faith and viewpoints. I don't think I'm entirely either of these people any more.

I am packing up my bedroom and with it my memories of PACE. Steve's superman picture reminds me of the many times he bailed me out of interesting situations and our heart to heart conversations in the car. The photos of me and Kristin smiling at a party are a tribute to the girl who taught me it was okay to have fun and let loose every now and then. The stickers and school supplies from the other Kristin remind me of the teaching friends I learned so much from. That was one amazing year.

There is little in my room that speaks to this year. No photos, cards or knick-knacks to remind me of the people who have shared this second PACE experience with me. Maybe this is a good thing. It will make it easier to let go of the past and move forward into a brighter year next year. It will be hard to continue to work with the people who have made this year so difficult, so it is perhaps better to have few reminders of them.

My books are the friends that span both homes. both communities, both experiences. I will take these with me into my new life next year, a life outside of PACE.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summertime, and the living is easy

So, most of you who are still reading this know that I have planned to stay out here for another year. With the job market the way it is, it seems like a more financially responsible decision than moving back east and seeing what scraps of a teaching job I can get. And I've survived the last two years pretty well, so I think that I should be good for at least one more. It is a little overwhelming to think of living out here on my own, though.
That being said, there are a lot of exciting possibilities that can happen if I stay out here. A third year of experience and a chance to brush up on my Spanish will make me more marketable if I decide to leave.
So here are some personal goals I have for this new year out west, feel free to hold me accountable:

1. Pass my Spanish Praxis.
2. Go to British Columbia.
3. Get certified in OR, WA and NJ.
4. Learn to drive manual.
5. Make two new Yakima friends.
6. Visit Crystal in Boston and Allison in Michigan.
7. See Ruthann more than twice a year.
8. Get a piece of writing published.
9. Run in more races (preferably short ones).
10. Be a better prepared teacher.

I'll revisit this list and let you know how it goes...also, stay posted for adventures in Yakima over the next two weeks.