Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Week 'til Moving

One week?!  One week!  Next Wednesday—seven days from now—I will be in my new home, “getting settled” for four days until my housemate arrives.  That’s such a short time.  That’s 3 days in La Crosse, a wedding, and 2 ½ days in Holmen.  That’s crazy.  I should get packing.

I should…but there’s a heat index of 105 in La Crosse right now, and my upstairs bedroom has no air conditioning.  For some strange reason, packing up my bedroom just doesn’t sound appealing at the moment.  So I’m sitting in front of a fan and writing this instead.

You know, 10 years ago, I never would have told you I’d be a teacher someday.  In fact, I told multiple people that teaching was the very last profession I’d consider.  6 years ago, I told my teacher I would never have the courage or the knowledge of a foreign language to study abroad for a semester.  Then 4 years ago while I was studying abroad in Mexico, I told a friend there that I wouldn’t end up teaching English in Mexico, or any foreign country.   Yet 6 months ago, I turned down 2 job offers in Mexico and accepted one in Puerto Rico. 

Life throws us all sorts of curve balls, and we end up making all sorts of choices we never would have thought possible.   Whether these are the right choices…well, only time will tell.  So far in my life, I believe my choices have been sound.  I have no regrets.  I have not always been happy, or comfortable, or at home.  But I believe all of my experiences were necessary to make me who I am today.  I’ve done a lot of growing up in the last 10 years.  And I like the directions my life has taken.  I’m glad I’ve changed my mind on a few things. 

In a way, I believe that moving to Puerto Rico and teaching is something that I have to do.  I need to prove to myself that I can do it—and that I can succeed.  I need to show myself that I have it in me to plant myself in a brand new culture, acclimate, make friends, and survive.  I need to show myself that I can find a way to teach boisterous children without losing their respect or losing a part of me. 

And WILL I succeed?  Tune in next week to find out.  But I hope so.

Monday, July 11, 2011

One step closer to leaving.

Working my last shift at Wettstein's (the appliance/electronics/furniture store where I've worked for the past six years) was harder than I thought it would be. I think the reason was because unlike most of my friends and family, who I know I'll see again the next time I'm home, there are people at Wettstein's that I never see outside of work. So the possibilty that I won't see them again is very real. Add to that the stream of people who kept coming up to my desk to look at me with puppy-dog eyes and wish me well, and I was fighting tears (or, to use the dock manager's words, trying not to "get misty"), for most of the night.
 
Thankfully, the next night when we went out for pizza to celebrate my going away, everyone was in much brighter spirits and no tears threatened anyone. The get-together was a great send-off from my Wettstein's gang.
What's better than pizza, good friends, and ice cream
on a Saturday evening?
 
So, I'm officially one step closer to leaving for the island, now that my time at Wettstein's is done. I found out last week that I'll be in one of the 3 bedroom houses that the school owns, living with another new teacher. Last week I also started packing--mainly just moving from my house in La Crosse to my parents' house where I'll be storing most of my things rather than taking them with me (I won't need most of them; the house is furnished). Starting tomorrow, I'll be in Disney World with my four favorite female relatives (my sister, mom, and 2 cousins) for a week. We've been dreaming of this trip for years--no husbands, fathers, or kids--just the girls. We get back on the 19th. Then, I'll have 3 days in La Crosse to finish packing and see as many people as possible. The Saturday before I leave, one of my good friends is getting married. (I can't help but thank her for her timing. It will be her day, and her day only, and she will shine as a perfect bride...but I also can't help but realize it's a very convenient way for me to see many of my friends from college all at once, right before I go.) After that, it's 2 1/2 days in Holmen for me to finish packing and shipping things and soak up some family time, and then I'm off. Where did the last six months go?
 
One of my favorite days at Wettstein's...Halloween 2010. 
Who doesn't want to dress up as a pirate and come to work?