A Sense Of Place

I write less and take fewer photos here in California than I did in Michigan. Maybe because any energy or time for communication or artistic expression is already monopolized in other parts of my life. Maybe it’s because I don’t need to work as hard to find beauty as I did in those long, grey winters. One sunny afternoon feels like the next, and my sense of time isn’t as rooted in fireflies / changing leaves / numb extremities / slushy roads / crocus buds.

This year I have been teaching a photography club after school. Maybe “teaching” is the wrong word because mostly I’m just handing cameras to kids and leading them rambling explorations. They climb trees, lie on the sidewalk, climb up into trees, and cluster around any available tiny leaves, unique garbage, cute dogs, and interesting patterns.

Their perspectives on the world make me more aware about my own, as I sift through the digital residue of the last few months. I’ve been in San Diego for almost three years – long enough to have routines and connections, but not to outgrow a feeling of being a newcomer. Pulling up roots can be so fast, and regrowing them so slow.

I love reading novels with a strong sense of place, and after 3 years in this place I have more senses than I have fully formed thoughts.

Cloudy May mornings.
Radio telling me about the texture of the ocean.
The bend of pelican wings above me (not quite echoed on my shoulder blade.)
Jacaranda purple pooling on sidewalks.
Palm trees bending and crackling under jet paths.
Smoke creeping over dry hills.

I can recognize the songs of humming birds & the scent of jasmine.
I am waiting for my lemon tree to produce fruit.

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Year Eight: Growth vs. Grit

A new home.
Yesterday I lay on the floor of the lunch room at school and surveyed my eight years of teaching from that angle. On a floor or flat on my face can feel like the right perspective for this expanse of time. I remember lying on the floor of my empty apartment, my first year of teaching and my first year of living by myself. I remember sleeping on the floor of my first classroom, trying to gather myself together for a long commute home in the snow. I remember sunnier afternoons in Spain, where two other teachers and I lay out mats on the floor in the music room on during afternoon siestas, for un poquito de relax.

Eight years brings me here to San Diego, where we finished our two weeks of teacher prep with an hour of yoga together. Stretching and moving and lying still among a big group of my coworkers was good. For some reason I think it helped get me into an emotional place where I can actually reflect on my school year, which I try to do each summer. Maybe the equivalent of mental stretching.

As a not-new-anymore teacher, I keep checking my pulse: Am I growing or am I just surviving? The end of last year was hard because I didn’t know if I was doing either. It was an exhausting year, and the exhausted end of the year is not the best place to recognize growth. In the midst of growing pains is also not the best place to recognize growth, and there were a lot of growing pains (both as a school and as a teacher.)

And now… I’m here, and I’ve grown. So here I am with some wordy lists and some listy words (because that’s just me.) Read more of this post

Vuelos

I don’t write and take pictures anymore, other than the small pieces that fit through the screen of a smartphone. So it’s March and I am just now looking through the photos I took in December, when we went back to Michigan for the holidays. Winter in Michigan is probably what I miss the least, but I do miss the people there, and the colors that are so bright and surprising in the middle of gray days.

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Mi primer fin de semana como una maestra…

Ohh, Saturday. It’s nice to have a day off. I’m freezing in Caribou’s air conditioning, but that’s better than sweltering in my apartment. I can’t find fans anywhere, so just have my small one pointed at my bed for now. I took three showers yesterday, and still spent most of the day sweaty.

Everyone seems so nice around here… I’ve had very friendly conversations here at the Royal Oak Caribou. I’m trying to pick up some hours here. People definitely seem friendlier than Ann Arbor, at least. Or maybe I’m just desperate for human interaction. That’s probably it.

I did have dinner with a friend this week, though, who works not too far away. And I drove a bit to help a friend with her move. She just got married, after a week long engagement… which is crazy. But she knows how I feel about that; I’ve definitely ranted about it enough.

Mi novio came over last night to see me. Friday nights are pretty much the only times I’ll be seeing him for a while; I’ve been spoiled all summer, when he could stop and knock on my window on his way home from work. But it was really good to see him, and it was a nice evening, despite the unbearable heat.

My freezer is on the fritz. I put ice cube trays into the freezer last night, but when I got up in the middle of the night to get some ice water, they were still lukewarm water. Worse, the other food in the freezer was thawed. The freezer must have died sometime in the night, however, because the chicken I took out to thaw for dinner was definitely still frozen. Argh. My landlord came over this morning and tinkered with it; hopefully it is running normally soon.

As it is, I am going to be cooking a lot of chicken in the next few days. How long does thawed chicken stay good? Maybe I can put my new *crock pot* to some use. Maybe I should have a house warming soiree this weekend, and serve chicken appetizers, a tasty chicken main dish, with a side of chicken, and a tasty dessert of chicken… hmmm.

When is fall going to get here? I’d give anything for some cold weather. Wasn’t I whining about the opposite this winter?

Oh no, I really am a grown up. I’m writing about the weather, and my freezer.

How about a visual tour of my new apartment? Hmm?

Read more of this post

Deep breath

My first interview is today. It’s the one that actually seems like a real possibility. I leave soon. I woke up probably 5 hours earlier than I really needed to, because I’m nervous. Inkster is probably about a half hour away, but I’m giving myself an hour… because I know me.

I just typed a big long paragraph about how stressed out I am about money right now… but then I realized that I hate talking about money almost as much as I hate stressing about it, so I think I’ll just leave it at that.

Aaaaauuurrrrggghhhh.

Anyway. Keep your fingers crossed.

It’s official!

…it’s snowing outside!!! 🙂
I’m so excited. There are sleds waiting in my garage.

That’s all, really. Back to work.

hola.

I’d like to have a blog for when I am in Spain. Until then I’ll just be messing around with this; nothing really significant.

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