Since the beginning of September, I’ve been spending my Tuesdays after work in Oakland. First I take a bus, then a train under the bay, then another bus from the coliseum for good measure. Nearly 2 hours each way by the time it’s all said and done. Man alive, it’s a haul, and lord knows I am beat by the time I get home, but I have to say, it’s worth it. Because what’s at the other end is a classroom full of 6th graders.
This summer I decided to volunteer with an organization called Citizen Schools that connects “citizen teachers” who have time and a skill to share with after school programs in underprivileged areas. I cannot remember the last time I was able to commit to being in the same place for 9 straight weeks on end, but I saw the Fall stretching out before me (before I took this new job that is…) and they needed someone to teach - no joke - blogging. Turns out that’s considered a life skill these days! Yeah, surprised me too. But despite my tacit turn around here lately, I figured that was something I knew at least a little about. So in September I started making the trek to the East Bay.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been back to a middle school or around kids that age. You forget just how young that is, what a burgeoning age. 6th grade. My goodness. They are boisterous and earnest and oh-so-defiant, but mostly just looking for a reaction, testing the boundaries. My first thought was to set them up with a Tumblr account, but it only took one week in the classroom (and seeing way to many google searches for images of Grand Theft Auto and guns) to realize unleashing them on the internet and vice versa might not be the greatest idea just yet. Give it a few years… Thankfully we found kidblog.org… a mercifully contained space.
I have to say, aside from the time I’ve enjoyed spending with the kids, one of the biggest take aways I have had this semester is a whole new level of respect for teachers these days. All of you out there leading classrooms everyday are AMAZING. I get done with an hour and a half trying to get 30 kids to focus, partnered with a real teacher no less, and am drained to the bone! How do you do this all day? You all are so impressive. Seriously.
A few weeks left, a few more class posts ahead. It’s been a good semester back in school.2 weeks ago • 53 notes
I’ve been quiet. Things have been slow and I have been quiet. I tend to operate in that way. The busier things are the more I take on. The quieter things are, the more I want to stay at rest. Sorry about that, did you wonder where I went?
Fall is unfolding on the West coast and I am learning the shape of each new season here as it comes. We have been out and about though and meeting friends and making plans. I have been thinking a lot about the direction of things as I’ve been in the midst of making some big decisions, namely regarding my job, all for the best. I got a new one internally last week in fact, and just like that all the uncertainty of the last year and half seems to be worth it after all.
So bear with me, the words are coming slower than usual right now but life looks like it’s on a bit of a chaotic upswing and you know what that means: more to come.1 month ago • 29 notes
The weekend before last we crossed the country the long way for a much overdue trip back down South.
Between family, college friends and a crew of guys whom David lived with one fateful summer (who have nearly all since married and gone forth and multiplied), we have a whole cohort down there of people we love and don’t see nearly often enough. Everyone has real homes now and most have a football team of kids. Oh what a difference a few years away makes… but is there anything better than seeing your friends settled and happy? It’s pretty good if you ask me.
There are few things I crave more these days than home. Almost anyone’s home. Where a family lives. It brings me to life. We got to spend the weekend soaking up a lot of that. Staying the night in my college roommate’s new, gorgeous space. Taking a walk in my old friend from D.C.’s tree-lined neighborhood. I’m going to sound crazy, but it was actually tempting to move just one more time, right there. We stayed at J & L’s place for much of the weekend, and I couldn’t help but flash back to the trips we took when we were all dating, the call we got to tell us they were engaged, that time at the beach when she was 6 month’s pregnant with their first, and the trip to Charlotte where we met that little one when she was just a few months old. She turned 4 that weekend we were there, with her little sister and brother in tow, and a dozen other little girls in princess dresses no less. It is a wonder to me to see how markedly they age, how 4 months is different than 2 years is different than 4. Children are just a wonder to me.
The happy event that brought us to town, as it so often is, was a wedding. You see 4 years ago we took a road trip through Europe with Nathan and Tanya who live there. It was summer and we were moving fast and David realized he had left something important behind in Monte Carlo just as we were getting back to Switzerland, naturally too late to turn around. So he booked a cheap flight overnight. 12 hours alone in Monte Carlo. In that amount of time only he would manage to make new friends, feast at a closed restaurant, party next to Bono (I kid you not) and end up sleeping for a few hours on a sailboat. He was home by 10am. One of the friends he made that night, he kept. And we’re so lucky for that. We’ve seen him in 4 cities in the past year in fact. That Saturday night we watched him get married to the loveliest girl. Life is so funny how people come into your lives sometimes.
And of course, if you know David at all, none of that would surprise you in the least. ;)1 month ago • 20 notes