Teens Affected by the Election.

As I was driving to work this morning, I was nervous. I teach 14-16 year old students who are curious and quite willing, or rather compelled, to say whatever it is that they are thinking. This sometimes includes rude remarks, inappropriate comments, ill-timed jokes, and unrelated questions. I was nervous what types of questions and comments I would be hearing today in my classroom. I was nervous they would call each other names, make assumptions about each other and their families and the people who make up this country, lose faith in the democratic process, and write off the decisions that the people made. I was nervous they would be discouraged and jaded by yesterday.

Rather than avoiding these discussions and hoping that my students would figure it all out on their own before the age of 18, I decided to meet it head-on. I started each class today by asking if anyone had questions about the events that took place yesterday. What happened was a series of small moments when I got to look at the quiet faces of these kids (who are rarely quiet); they care and they understand the seriousness of the situation. Today was not a discussion of who voted for whom or why either of the candidates are the way they are; it was a discussion of “What now?”

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Small Victories are Sometimes the Biggest.

Yesterday I finally finished hanging up all of my clothes in our new house (it only took me three weeks).

I also folded up all of the tarps I was using to paint the living room and kitchen (with the help of my fiance–those things are too big to be folded by just one person). Keep in mind I’ve been done painting for four days, and they’ve just been piled up, taking up a whole dining area of floor space. I guess they were a good playground for the kitten though.

Today one kid (out of my 134) told me that I’m a good teacher.

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Big Changes.

Many of my blog posts are about small moments with big impact or revelation. Well…I had a big moment this weekend. My boyfriend proposed to me! And I said yes, of course!

So now begins the wedding planning and the house hunting. These are big things that I’ve never done before, and it’s a bit daunting sometimes when I just stop and reflect and think,”I’m getting married. I’m buying a house.” I will admit, in the midst of my overflowing excitement is a little fear. However, and this is a big however, I’ve found the key to keeping my calm is remembering that in no way am I in this alone. (That’s kind of a big part of why we get married right?) I’ve got my fiance, my family, my friends, just like I have in every situation prior to these. That realization makes all the difference in my current situations, but I also think it makes all the difference in most situations.

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The Journey Downhill.

This weekend’s hike was 5.8 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 2400 feet. The trek took me much longer than it should have and also forced me to admit that it was more than just the elevation that was causing my hardship.

The views at the top were indescribable, and I will attempt to tell you about them in another post, but today I want to focus on my journey down the mountain. I have terrible knees, and I wear braces on the downhill portions of big hikes to help with the pain and give my legs a bit more strength as they hold the pieces of my knee in their proper places. So the hike back to the trail head was more painful than the hike up to the top (which is saying something as this was quite possibly the most I’ve ever struggled on an ascending hike–and I’ve hiked the Grand Canyon before).

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A Quiet Float.

I went camping for a few days over the weekend (hence my lack of posts since I had no cell service up there–Yay!). Having no cell phone service is one of my favorite things as it allows me to truly enjoy the nature I’m in and the people I’m with, with little distraction. And in our fast-paced, tech-centered world, distractions seem to be everywhere throughout our daily lives, right? This weekend was different.

We were camping about a mile and half from a beautiful lake. The hike up from the lake was not an easy one, and by not easy, I mean that I was chanting song lyrics in my head to keep my rhythm up the hill going so I could reach the top. But let me tell you–it was worth it. On one morning we headed down to the water after some bagels and coffee, after the sun had risen and warmed up the leaves and rocks. When we arrived, there was literally no one else at the lake.  Aside from the ripples on the water and the crawfish searching for food, it was still. So serene. After  a few minutes of chatting and getting comfortable on the rocks, I decided to go for a swim.

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The Monsoons are Here.

As most Arizonans seem to, I truly enjoy the monsoon season. Those ominous thunderheads rolling into the hot valley, giving the light show of a lifetime, offering a small reprieve from the stagnant heat with their wind and (sometimes) rain. They make the summers here a bit more bearable. It’s not like rain other places; it doesn’t rain all day or even for hours, but usually only for a matter of minutes. They force you to savor those moments of rain that make the families turn off their TVs and step away from their computers and the washes run fiercely (as they siphon the water from the mountains surrounding the valley) and the smell of the creosote rise into the air (put this smell on your bucket list if you haven’t already experienced it).

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Annoying Wake-Up Calls.

So I have a kitten; he’s about 12 weeks old. Adorable–yes. Crazy–also yes. His wake-up time is approximately 4:30 am every morning, and he apparently thinks that I should wake up then too. Now, I’m currently on summer break, which means I don’t have to set a morning alarm if I don’t want to. And while I love mornings, I also enjoy the luxury of not having to wake up before I’m ready. Since I’ve had this little kitten though, I do not get to enjoy that luxury quite so much.

The Point. It’s easy to get annoyed at small inconveniences that interrupt our otherwise planned out days and activities (like sleeping). But when I was abruptly woken up this morning by needle teeth poking my feet and ankles (anther issue altogether), I caught a glimpse of the sunrise outside my 2nd story window, over the tops of the houses and through the trees. There were these clouds–the ones that look like stucco dabbed onto an old house. They create a sheet of clouds that looks like it’s made up of hundreds of smaller clouds, all just barely not touching so the sun can shine through and alert the birds it’s time to start their morning chorus.

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