the one thousandth

I started this little space in March 2010 as I was coming into the light on the other side of a really dark place in my life. I didn’t know what it would become then, and admittedly, I still don’t know what it is, other than a hodgepodge-d place to post what inspires me or makes me laugh and to occasionally share my thoughts. I’m in the process of rethinking and revamping to post more original content that showcases all the facets of my personality and interests, so stay tuned for that! 

Also, along the way I’ve collected a mutually weird (in the absolute best way that tumblrs are!) and unique group of people who keep up with me and whatever madness I’ve concocted. To all of you - I just think you are wonderful and you inspire me and make me laugh everyday! 

So here’s to a thousand more of whatever this is! :) 

Life Lately (September & October)

Wow, I feel like I’ve spent the last few months just trying to catch up with myself!

I’ll do the not so fun stuff first… In September, we dealt with the unexpected loss of a family friend who, along with his wife, were like a second set of parents to me in high school. They both played a large role in shaping a shy, self-concious, and heartbroken young teenage girl into the woman she is today, and I will be forever grateful for the influence they have had in my life. 

I also had to say goodbye to my dear old totaled Elantra, and although it’s much less emotionally heart-wrenching and not at all like a person, she was still a good car and I will miss her sunroof, dazzl-y champagne exterior, and all the trips we took together. Now thanks to a very fortunate deal worked out between my mom, my uncle, and myself, I will now join the SUV driving masses!

On the job front, I have been so fortunate to be really busy with substitute teaching so far this school year! I’ve been able to fit in really well with the teachers and students at the elementary school I mentioned in August and they’ve been keeping me busy in Kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms (and 5th grade tomorrow!) in addition to the other jobs I pick up throughout the school system. Even though subbing is not really an ideal job, the experiences are invaluable. As a teacher, I feel that I have certainly grown quite a bit in the past two and a half months. I’ve been teaching anything and everything in every grade level so I’ve certainly learned more flexibility, strategies, and content. My classroom management skills have, I feel, grown exponentially. After leaving student teaching I classified classroom management as a weak spot because I don’t like confrontation and generally have an unobtrusive personality, but with subbing I’ve certainly been able to see myself learn to become more assertive and authoritative, which is really excellent! …Somewhere at the Rossier School, my professors are cheering because being a reflective practitioner has truly been ingrained into my brain. ;) I’ve also been able to spend some time thinking about what I really want to teach, which is middle school reading and social studies. I’ve always known that, ideally, I wanted to teach middle school because that’s where my heart has always been, but I’ve also realized that I don’t need to “settle” for a high school job when I know it won’t make me happy. In reality, I think the key to being an effective educator is to have joy in what you are doing.

So there are the stand-out ups and downs of life going into fall. I have also had some really great experiences and adventures these past few months with my profoundly amazing family and friends, but I think I’ll guard those for myself. :)  Love, E

Hallo! New life goals are happening over here and I think that I’m going to attempt learning the languge of my ancestors: Dutch. 

An entire branch of my family were Dutch colonists who came to New Amsterdam (New York City) in the early 1600s (also German & Walloon aka French-speaking Belgians, but that’s beside the point ;p) . My great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother were both fluent in Dutch, as was my grandfather’s cousin who was recruited for and used his language skills in World War 2. I think it would be kind of amazing to have that connection to my family. Part of me also wonders if, somehow inherently, you have more aptitude for a language if your forebearers spoke it? …Yes, I’ve actually given this some thought!

I’m also spurred on by postcrossing (Have I obnoxiously mentioned in the last five minutes how much I love it?!) because I’ve sent a lot of my postcards to The Netherlands and Belgium and it would be cool to chat in Dutch that way as well… I’d actually probably be more successful reading and writing it than speaking it with my crazy north meets south American accent anyway, but I’ll certainly try!

So, yeah… new life goal: learn Dutch

Life Lately (An August Recap)

So yesterday I was in my first accident. I got rear-ended and the back of my poor car is in a sad state of mess. I’m okay (so are the guy who hit me and the guy that I hit) - super glad my airbag didn’t deploy, but I’m definitely sore in my neck and back. At least it is a three day weekend and I have a good excuse for a bed day or three. I’ve been reading, napping, tumbl-ing, and catching up on some postcrossing and letter writing to some new international friends! 

In other news, I have been at an elementary school for about three weeks now as a one-on-one education aide for a little girl with severe disabilities. It has been very challenging, but I feel like the experience has given me a whole new wealth of knowledge. I finish there mid next week, but there is also a possibility that I could be hired as a full time aide for the classroom. I love the teacher, other aide, and the kids I’ve been with so I really want it. It’s not my own classroom, but it’s a foot in the door in a highly political district where it’s about who you know and not at all about what you know. As a substitute teacher, I’m mostly just really happy to have had a work-filled August! 

Mostly, life lately has been work, sleep, rinse, and repeat.

After the craziness of this month beginning with my aunt’s death and ending with a car accident, I’m really hoping for a happy and fun-filled September! 

PS - I want the weather to cool off soon because I am really into the idea of a nice, long autumn with boots and scarves and hot tea and books on the porch!

My sweet Aunt Karen finished her battle with cancer late last night and the world feels somehow emptier without her in it. I was able to be with her and say my goodbyes on Wednesday and I’m thankful that she went peacefully.
 I found this photo of my aunt and I (ca. 1986) and it made me laugh because I was trying to mimic her lady-like ways and she looks like she was thinking of a way to stealthily kick that ugly matador figurine. Eventually my sister came along and managed to do that (and we were all thankful)! :) 
I hope that throughout my life I love just as fully, act just as humbly, and fight just as bravely as she has.

My sweet Aunt Karen finished her battle with cancer late last night and the world feels somehow emptier without her in it. I was able to be with her and say my goodbyes on Wednesday and I’m thankful that she went peacefully.

I found this photo of my aunt and I (ca. 1986) and it made me laugh because I was trying to mimic her lady-like ways and she looks like she was thinking of a way to stealthily kick that ugly matador figurine. Eventually my sister came along and managed to do that (and we were all thankful)! :)

I hope that throughout my life I love just as fully, act just as humbly, and fight just as bravely as she has.

Let me apologize in advance for being cryptic.

The past two weeks have been very difficult, both personally and professionally. I can’t talk about the details of what’s gone on/still going on right now, but suffice to say that life is going to continue being somewhat difficult for the foreseeable future. Ick.  

I’ve also missed out on all of the jobs that I applied for so far and that’s just an extra nail in the coffin right now. This mess is just doing a number on my psyche!

I’m still hopeful -  there are some opportunities that may open up, maybe not what I wanted, but perhaps it’s what I need. I also know that this is just for a period and that it will end. God is in control. 

On a brighter note, I am so thankful to have some amazing people in my life. I’m incapable of expressing just how much they really mean to me, but I am indebted to them. 

- E

…and then it was finished.

I posted this at the beginning and now I’m at the end. It’s not the official end yet, but I finished student teaching last Thursday and posted a few final assignments today! Now I just have my exit interview on Tuesday and wait for final grades to post.

We administered benchmark exams on Thursday and my guiding teacher gave me the best compliment as I was leaving… He had scanned all the grades in and compared them to the previous semester so he told me that if I had any doubts about what I had accomplished while I was there then I needed to look at the scores… This semester’s classes improved on every single standard over last semester’s classes!  My students exceeded my expectations and to say that I am thrilled feels like an understatement. My first thought was “Wow, I didn’t screw them up!”

I can’t even begin to wrap my head around all the learning and experiences that I have had in the last 15 months at USC. I’ve been mentored by some of the greatest educators in the country and made some of the most wonderful friends and colleagues. Grad school has been so difficult, but I’ve grown so much as an individual and as an educator (I can call myself that now!), it has made me cry more than a few times, and it has made me pick myself back up in order to live and learn even more. 

Being at the end feels like a long time coming and like a complete whirlwind all at once.