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!