life beyond the well…


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Coming Home.

“But sometime when the springtime comes and the sifting moonlight falls, they’ll think again of this night here and of these old brown walls, of white Old Well and of Old South. With Bell’s deep booming tone, they’ll think again of Chapel Hill, and — thinking — come back home.” – Thomas Wolfe

Everyone should have a place where to which they can return and feel at home.  Things may have changed.  Buildings are different.  Some people aren’t there. But, none of that matters when you return to that place. What matters is what that place you gave you.  How it forced you to grow.  How it introduced you to new people and new circumstances.  How you overcame far more than you thought you ever would. How it helped you become who God destined you to be.

For me, that place is UNC. One day I’ll be able to find all the words to express how transformative my experience was. My desire to attend UNC was reluctant–both of my parents worked in Chapel Hill, so I had already experienced a lot of what (I thought) made the town special.  I’ve enjoyed hot dogs and Shirley Temples from Sutton’s Drugstore since before I was tall enough to see over the counter. I remember shopping for books at the Intimate Bookshop.  The Miami Subs on Franklin Street- I enjoyed those fries and sandwiches long before I understood their appeal to late night college students. Before I had sense enough to like Cosmic Cantina, I got my tacos from the Taco Bell on Franklin Street.  I remember picking up church programs from the Copytron at the corner of Franklin and Columbia with my mom, eating hotdogs from Squeaky’s on breaks with my dad, and enjoying Time Out biscuits any chance I could.  Summers were spent at camp at Hargraves Recreation Center, Saturdays in the fall were spent attending Communiversity.

And so, I thought I had a real understanding of what made Chapel Hill special. And while I was partly right, I was also completely wrong.  My love for Chapel Hill grew immensely as a result of attending UNC. I grew immensely as a result of attending UNC. I learned how to lead and how to love. I became more culturally aware. I learned how to work smart and work hard. I had professors who challenged me and pushed my thinking. I fell in love with Jesus. I met my husband. I gained some of my best friends.

When we returned to UNC for Homecoming last month, being on campus was like getting the biggest warm hug from a friend that you haven’t seen in far too long.  Yes, things had changed.  Yes, I have changed.  But like the best of friends, when you’re together, it’s like you’ve never been apart.

Until next time.

Peace and Blessings!

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Hark the Sound!

Last night, my Tar Heels pulled off a victory in double overtime against the University of Tennessee Volunteers in the Music City Bowl.  I watched the entire game, and nearly lost my voice yelling at the tv, and cheering my team on to victory.  It’s been a rough year for the football team at UNC, and this was the perfect way to cap off a tumultuous season, clouded with injuries and NCAA investigations.  Once again, I’m proud of my alma mater.

 

 


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One Year Down…

It’s summer, and as the title indicates, I’ve gotten one year down/under my belt on the peanut field.  Looking back, I definitely feel that I made the right decision to move back to NC.

You see, this time last year, I had just signed a lease at my new “apartment” in Roanoke Rapids.  I was missing my apartment near the beach in Florida, as well as my Miami friends and the culture of Miami.  At the same time, I was glad to be closer to home, closer to my family and back to a place where for me, things made sense.  Miami was fun, but not the best fit.

Roanoke Rapids is a temporary stop on the journey.  But after this year, I have learned so much and have grown so much personally and professionally.  I definitely feel that I’m on the way to making my dreams come true.

During this past school year, I taught 8th grade Government/Economics to the Pride of 2014 at KIPP: Gaston College Preparatory.  While I’m sure they learned at lot (at the VERY least, they ALL can tell you the Preamble to the US Constitution and explain each of the amendments within the Bill of Rights, as well as explain Supply and Demand, market, traditional, and command economies, and personal finance), I learned more.  I think that part of the reason that children exist is to teach us how to love, forgive, and have patience.  The Pride of 2014 are my babies, and I’m proud to be joining them at the high school next year.

Yep!  I’ll be moving on up to the high school.  Not as a teacher, but as a college counselor.  Through much prayer, I realized that while I love being in the classroom, working as a college counselor is a better use of my gifts and talents.  I’m excited to be joining the KIPP: Pride High School staff just across the peanut field.

With any new position, there’s a huge learning curve, so I’m spending a good portion of my summer reading information and books about college admissions, as well as trying to get to know the students that I’ll be working with.  It stands to be an exciting year.

I imagine that if I had to give this past year a theme, it would be “perseverance”.  There were many things that I had to overcome and press through, but despite those challenges, God has been faithful and I have been blessed.

Until next time…


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Adjusting

One thing that I know about myself is that I don’t really handle change well.  While I’m always excited about the possibility of change, and I realize that change is really the only constant, that still doesn’t give me the ability to handle it well.

I believe that I’m pretty resilient, and surprisingly, pretty flexible.  So, changes in my work environment or within the context of relationships don’t bother me too much (unless they are EXTREME changes).

All that said, it’s still an adjustment to be in North Carolina.  While I’m glad to be back, anytime that you move you have to make the necessary changes.  I feel like the last two weeks have had me in a frenzy of getting everything set up and turned on, and now that all of those things are taken care of I’m just left to my own devices (also known as unpacking).

As much as I was ready to move back to North Carolina, I miss elements of my life in Florida.  And although I’ve been out of Georgia for a year, I miss elements of my life there as well.

I think that what I miss most is having that core group of people there to support me.  Twitter and Gchat can only provide so much encouragement.  While I know there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely, I feel like I’m walking that line.

I’m sure that as I begin work and school, things will pick up and I’ll be too busy to think about things like this.  But until then…it is what it is, I suppose.


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Feels Good to Be Home: NC Edition

I’m back in North Carolina.

I’m at home.

It feels great.

That’s the short version of the story. It’s taken me a while to get to a place where I can blog for a little bit (hello, I’m in a small town now, and people just don’t have the same urgency to connect you with necessities such as internet).

The journey wasn’t too bad. I was worried about how Q and I would fare in the car with a lot of my earthly possessions for an extended period of time.  It was a wonderfully successful trip, between lots of listening to Michael Jackson, talking on the phone to family and friends, a stop at Bojangles, and a quite interesting discovery at a rest stop. 

Roanoke Rapids is nice. It reminds me of a more urban Hillsborough, with a more diverse population. Even in it’s niceness, it’s a far cry from the activity of the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area that I had become slightly accustomed to.

What I love most is that I’m close to many people that I love and hold dear to my heart. After being hundreds of miles (and hundreds of dollars) away, gassing up the car for a quick hour and half journey is so worth it. One visit to Chapel Hill for a night at He’s Not Here confirmed that all was well. The second confirmation was this weekend, after traveling over to Camden for a wonderful 4th of July celebration.

What I do not miss, or rather, what I do not like, is the unpacking process. I dislike it almost as much as I dislike packing. I’m taking it step by step, and I’m starting to see my apartment take shape. Slowly but surely, I’m feeling at home.

I’m excited that my mother will be visiting in a couple of weeks so that she can put her motherly stamp on my apartment. In the meantime, I’ll settle for unpacking, one box at a time, while becoming a little too spoiled by Directv.

Until next time…


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Evading Responsibility

I’ve been doing a great job of shirking my responsibilities in this period of time since school ended last Wednesday.  I’ve found ways to start new art projects and hobbies (Michael’s has become my new favorite hangout), read books, watched movies, taken naps, and hang out with friends.  However, I’ve only had limited time to pack my apartment.

Sigh.

It’s really that I hate packing.  And it’s not that I haven’t done ANY packing.  I’ve packed my living room, and half of my closet.  That just leaves the kitchen, pantry, bathroom, and the other half of my closet.  And the movers aren’t coming until Saturday.  That means I have plenty of time, right?

You can consider this blog entry as a sufficient way for me to yet again, evade the responsbility of packing.  Today’s goal includes packing the pantry, the bathroom, and the other half of my closet.  That will just leave me with having to do the kitchen, and get those clothes out of my dresser into their respective suitcases.

I am proud to announce that it’s very likely that this will happen.  Partially because I don’t really have anything else planned today to prevent it, and partially because it’s entirely too hot outside to venture out to do anything else.

But, I really do need some help.  If you know some people who are able and willing to help, please send them my way.  I think your recommendations are safer than that of my BFF, who recommended that I go to Home Depot early in the morning and secure some day laborers to help me pack for $50.  I guess that’s what friends are for?

Anyhow, enough of this evading responsibility.  I’m off to try and make some things happen.  Until next time…


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So Proud…

I normally wouldn’t do this, but some things are worth recognizing.

Big shout out to Quinton Sawyer on his new position as Head Athletic Trainer at Campbell University.  You can check out the awesome press release on Quinton here.

So…this should help to further dispute the idea that there aren’t any good black males out there.  There are, and you know it.  And while I know it’s tempting, don’t run out and try to holla at Quinton.  I don’t think his girlfriend would like that too much.

Congrats Q!


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All My Bags Are Packed…

Well, my bags aren’t QUITE packed, but I’m READY TO GO.  It’s been a while since I’ve written, because the life of a teacher gets to be crazy around the end of the year.  There are tons of end of the year shenanigans: meetings, parties, final exams, review sessions, and for me…preparing to move.

Yup.  I’m going to make another move.

After being in the Sunshine State for just under a year, I’ll be calling it quits…and heading to a land that is much more familiar, but still somewhat unknown: the Old North State.  Yes!  Heading back home to North Carolina!

While I haven’t detailed it much here, it’s been a particularly difficult year for me in Florida.  Between challenges with my school, the students, and their parents; along with never really feeling quite “settled”…I thought it was best to leave before I got too attached.  Along with the desire to be somewhere where at least a few people know my name, have family close, and be even more cautiously optimistic as I partake in what continues to be one of the biggest blessings to my life.

I will still be teaching.  As I began the journey of figuring out what was next, a big question was whether the classroom was truly the place for me.  Was I able to fully exercise and utilize my gifts and talents by working in the classroom setting?  After much thought and prayer, I realized that my calling is to a classroom.  I love the energy and watching their eyes light up as the connections are made.  But what I love most is that classrooms are still full of possibility.  There are full of what’s to come, of what could be.  And I’m thankful that God has given me the desire to be a part of that possibility, as well as the ability to handle that responsibility.

The next stop on my journey will be Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.  I’ll be working as a teacher at the KIPP: Gaston College Preparatory School.  I’ve been impressed with KIPP Schools since seeing the founders on Oprah a few years back, and I feel extremely blessed to be able to work in that environment.  Of course, a new environment creates new challenges, but I’m very excited about what’s to come.

Of course life wouldn’t be life if there weren’t too many things to take care of in too little time.  However, in the midst of all of the “things”, I’ve been able to enjoy myself.  Memorial Day weekend was awesome- laid back and enjoyable, with some time spent at the beach, and I enjoyed my last Jewish holiday of the school year, Shavout (it’s when the Jews received the Torah from God) by taking a short trip to the Bahamas.  Life is good.

At any rate, I’ll be grinding it out for the next week or so, as I make it to the end of the year.  Then I’ll make a quick trip to North Carolina for a very special graduation, and then it’s back here to pack it up and move it out.  To sum up Florida:  “…all of my good days outweigh my bad days and I won’t complain.”

As for now, back to the grind!  Until next time…