Monday, April 7, 2014

Life in the Sunshine State

The Numbers Game
March 30th

Ten, four, six. Right now these are the defining numbers in my life. Ten weeks of student teaching completed, four weeks left in Florida, six weeks left until I graduate into the real world. That last number though, six, has been the one weighing on my mind the most lately. Although I've waited for the day of graduation since the first time I stepped foot on Ashland's campus, I feel like bait being thrown into a shark tank whenever I think about officially being a graduate. It's an intimidating thought knowing the world is wide open, just out there waiting for me. I can go anywhere I want and essentially do whatever I want. Throw job applications and interviews into the mix and you've got a great recipe for an overwhelming amount of anxiety. Then there's the dreaded, "So what are you going to do with your life after after graduation?" question. It's stressful enough trying to plan the next step of my life without being asked on a daily basis what my plans are and being interrogated by job application questions.

On the flip side, teaching is going great here! At the end of the day Thursday I stepped back and realized I had taught everything the entire day, definitely an amazing feeling. On Friday morning the kids didn't have school so the staff could have a meeting and work on report card grades, so I went to my first all staff meeting! They do this really cool thing where any member of the staff can recognize another member of the staff for something positive they did by giving them a package of candy. I was so excited to be recognized for volunteering at Family Fitness night the night before. My teacher was recognized a little more formally for doing such a great job in the classroom so far this year, so now it's official that I'm learning from the best of the best.

The Struggle is Real
April 7th

Florida has been great and all.... but I'm still spending most of my time missing South Africa a terribly large amount or wishing I was home already. Maybe I haven't given Sarasota enough of a chance. But then again maybe my hearts not in it. It's crazy because I feel like a teenage girl wallowing over a break up... Only mine was with a country and not a person. And even though this great new thing has come along, it just can't compare. Don't get me wrong there are SO many things I am grateful to have here, but I think I'm still so stuck in South Africa that it's hard for me to think about the positives all the time. Not a day goes by that I don't think about and miss my 25 favorite grade 1s back at Summerwood Primary. It's also hard knowing I'm so close to home (okay well not really that close but a heck of a lot closer than an 18+ hour plane ride) but I can't go home.I'm trapped in such a weird place.

Anyways, I'm determined to love Sarasota so these are things I already love here and I'm so grateful for : 

1. My amazing host mom. How lucky am I to have this woman take me into her home who is always checking up on me to make sure I have everything I need and I'm okay. Her family is just as amazing as she is and it's been so nice to get to know them as well. This week grandma and uncle bob are in town and I get to spend some time with them. Friday night they took me to Spanish point with them and it was beautiful! It was so comforting to be on the water again.

2. My bike. Okay well it's not my bike, but with the amount of miles I've put on it in the last few weeks you'd think it was. Last week I found legacy trail which isn't far from my house at all. I've spent so many afternoons exploring and I've made it a goal to go a little farther every time.  When my feet are moving, my mind stops. I'm at peace. I think that's why I like biking so much, that and I can't bear to be inside on beautiful days so it gives me a reason to be outside.

3. My mentor teacher and classroom. I am so lucky to be placed with Toni! I think I got one of the best teachers in the school. Not only have I learned so much from her, but I love just hanging out and chatting with her in the classroom when the kids are away at specials. She's such a great person and a wonderful teacher and has welcomed me fully into her classroom from day one. Last Monday I had the opportunity to go on a field trip to Myakka State Park with my kids. It was such a beautiful place... filled with lots of gators. We lucked out and had perfect weather for the trip, and the teachers lucked out and half the kids fell asleep on the bus ride back to school.

The Canopy Walk!

4. Ashton Elementary School and the other staff. Everyone has been so welcoming and friendly and the school is as close to perfect as I've ever seen. Such a special place. One of the other kindergarten teachers has been so great and invited me out to my first Run or Dye race with her and her family which was everything I thought it would be! Later that night we ventured out to the Amish Country of Florida (nothing like it is back home) so I could get some pie and take a picture to prove to people back home that the Amish live down here in sunny Florida. 

5. 24/7 phone service. Not relying on wifi to send a text or make a call is wonderful. It's nice to be able to contact people whenever I want, talk about first world probs. 

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