Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It ebbs and flows...

This just in. As of 8:17 PM, my county is under a Flash Flood warning. What exactly am I supposed to do during a flash flood? Stay inside? Climb to higher ground? Grab my paddle?

I'm not in Manitoba anymore!

But I am back to the land of the living, thanks to my new internet connection. Gosh, I feel like I've been out of touch for ages! There's probably a lot that you all want to know, and maybe I'll answer some of that here. But if I don't... just send me a comment and ask!

Thursday was a very long day. After three full days of travel and orientation, I really just wanted to lay in bed all day and sleep. But I couldn't, because I had to travel from Raleigh to Clinton and meet my local advisor. So we all said goodbye (some of us were travelling in the same direction - I was not) and left the luxury hotel and entered the unknown. The drive to Clinton was... umm... awkward? Really, I just wanted to sit and observe the passing scenery. I think my driver (an older guy from Durham... Could have been my grandpa) caught on to that. When we arrived in Clinton, he waited at the car while I went into the Central Office (like the division board office) and asked for whomever was expecting me. I guess I came at lunch, because there weren't many people there. Including my local advisor. I knew he was at a conference in Charlotte, so his wife met me a short while later and we loaded my stuff into her car and left the office. She took me to their place, introduced me to her kids and fed me lunch. (My local advisor, Alvin, and his wife, Rosalyn, are from the Phillipines and have been with the VIF program for two years. Kind folk. Very helpful.)

After lunch, we went to the rental office where my landlord was expecting me. I had filled out an application for an apartment the week before, and she took me to go see the apartment that was available -- which just happened to be in the same area that Alvin and his family live. I liked what I saw, and felt that the rent was reasonable. In a smaller community, there really isn't much availability of rental places, especially if you're not looking for a house with the bigger bills and rent payments. The unit was available right away, so after signing the agreement, I was given the keys to my new two bedroom townhouse. (Photos to come... eventually.)

Next came my favourite... shopping! The first piece of furniture that I bought was a bed. That was the only furniture I had for the first two nights! My last trip out on Thursday was to Walmart (!!) to buy sheets and some essentials for the place. I wish I could say that I slept soundly that night, but well... not so much.

On Friday I got the sweetest phone call... from my parents telling me that they'd just arrived in town and were on their way to my new place. Seriously -- I almost cried! After meeting so many new faces in the last four days, I just wanted to surround myself with familiar people who knew me and loved me in spite of it! We did a little more shopping and went out for dinner. Later that night I got a phone call from Alvin -- he was back in town and wanted to show me the school where I'd be teaching. So I took my parents and I got my first look at the school and my classroom. More on that in another post. Let's just say... I liked what I saw. ;o)

Saturday I shopped... and shopped... and shopped. We went to Fayetteville (about 45 min away) because we were told that they had a larger Walmart with more selection. Still, couldn't buy more than would fit in my car. Managed to get lots on my list, though.

Sunday we decided to take a break... relax... and go to the coast. Ha! Obviously we weren't thinking about all the crowds we'd have to fight on the weekend. We got about as close as we could get without actually having our feet in the sand. Toured the USS North Carolina -- a real battleship used in WWII. Very cool. Ate lunch in Wilmington at a dockside restaurant that looked very familiar (seriously... it was like I was at the Ice House!) and then tried to find a parking spot at Wrightsville Beach (fail!) before heading over to the nearest Walmart (3 different stores in three days!) to tick off more items from my list. Whew. Who thought that would be a relaxing day?

Monday I headed with Alvin back to the Central Office to fill out some paperwork -- and was promptly informed that I was expected at a new teacher orientation that started an hour earlier at the high school! How was I to know?? We rushed over there, gave our apologies. Everyone understood. Met a few more new teachers who were also teaching at the high school. Except they'd already had time in the school (some had taught there the previous year) -- I was the only one who was brand-spanking new to the building! I felt like I blended in really well though... The new teachers are around my age and we had a good time chatting and getting to know each other. The seminar topics were, well... Those of you who were once new teachers and went through similar orientations... it was exactly like what you'd expect. A little redundant for someone who isn't quite as green as the rest... But I still felt like the whole thing served its purpose!

Today was much the same. More new teacher orientation -- more paperwork at the Central Office. Tomorrow I get to spend more time in my classroom and also get to meet my teacher mentor -- whoever he or she will be!

The whole process so far has been... Eye-opening. Overwhelming. Scary. Fascinating. Yeah, all of that. I've been close to tears a few times... moments of trepidation where I wondered if I would be able to cope. Having my parents here has been my saving grace. They've been there for whatever I need and I'm going to be more than sad to say goodbye to them in Raleigh on Sunday. But that's still a few days away, and I'd rather not dwell on it right now.

Sounds like the storm seems to have subsided a little bit. It's almost 9:30! I was in bed by this time yesterday!

I want to close by letting you all know that I adore and appreciate each and every one of you and the support you send me. It's great to read your comments. Thank you.

**I apologize for any typos and/or grammatical errors in this entry. They won't all be perfect!


Kimber said...

You're ONLINE! Yay! It's great to have you back, kid. Wait, who am I calling kid?? Oh, that's right - I *am* 3 months your senior! LOL. I'm glad to hear you arrived in your new community safe and sound, and that you like the looks of your new school and classroom. You know we will want to see photos in the near future, right?!?

I'm insanely jealous that you've been to Wilmington ... but someday I'll come visit you, and then YOU can take me for a tour there! And we can go out onto the dock and sing Paula Cole and pretend *we* were in the show. Global TV.ca is airing "classic" episodes of DC now, so I plan to make full use of that service, so I can feel closer to you and where you are.

Thanks for the update, the details, and I am super happy you are doing well! The only thing that could be better is if we were there with you! But soon enough ... soon enough!

Blair said...

Glad to hear you are getting settled. Urgently awaiting pictures, all kinds of pictures. Hope you are showing mom and dad a good time! BTW, today's temp is a balmy 33...beat that!

Anonymous said...

a flash flood warning just means that there's a chance all the rain is going to flood out local roads or areas by small streams and rivers. if you're not drastically close to any of that sutff, you probably don't have to worry too much. do you guys really not have flash floods in canada?

i'm really excited to continue reading your blog! i feel like i'm the minority here, already living and teaching in the US. it's funny to read your thoughts about living here and how things work as opposed to in canada. I'm seeing my country through an outsiders eyes and that's very very intersting.

when do you acutally start teaching!?!? sounds like orientation is going on now so it should be soon i would think..

MS said...

Steph?!? Is that you? :o) My first official day of work is August 18th, though I have been at the school every day this week (except tomorrow!). School resumes on the 25th, aka the day the day of anticipation. Interesting is the length of time that schools down here require their teachers to be at work before the school year actually begins. Back home, it's not uncommon to walk out of school on June 30th (last day) and walk in September 8th (day before first day). Not recommended, but it happens.

I return the question... When do YOU have to be back at school?