fresh papers && fresh perspectives

As mentioned, education is, has been and always will be a big part of my life. As the child of educators and as a child who loved school, I have always associated August with fresh excitement.

Buying school supplies will forever be an enjoyment for me, since there is nothing like starting something exciting in a new notebook with a crisp pen.

Shopping for clothes is, of course, a favorite pastime, but finding the perfect first-day-of-school look is amazing.

And the first day of school…*ahhh*…the smell of erasers, old books and just-polished hardwood floors…the sound of squeals as people reunite and bells moving people to new classes full of possibilities…and the overall optimism about a new year of new education…I love it all!

Since I’m married to a teacher now, I’ll get to enjoy the good parts of this still (yay shopping), but for the most part, my days in a school building are done.

I thought they already were, since I graduated from high school in 2009, and I finished up college a semester early, in December 2012.

In the summer of 2015, though, in a long series of events that I’ve previously blogged about (and don’t want to type out again), I went back to school – on the other side! – and became a teacher in my hometown. For two years, I taught English, journalism, theater arts, basketball, UIL and life lessons in the same classrooms I learned in, at my old high school. I taught with teachers who taught me, as well as with my parents. #weird #butgood And while I was teaching, I stressed about finding the right curriculum to get through to different learners…I freaked out when confrontations (you know, like fist fights) happened in my room…I cried when our small community dealt with loss…and I learned…a lot…such as…

  • more advanced English terms, since I had forgotten some and picked up new tricks on remembering others
  •  I do better in bigger towns, where I have more options for eating, shopping, friends and entertainment
  • “Predestination” is now one of my top favorite movies
  • teaching = counseling and nurturing (Some kids wouldn’t listen to me talk about hyperboles and protagonists, but as soon as someone asked me a personal questions, as soon as a disagreement happened between students, as soon as really anything out of the ordinary happened, the kids turned to me. They looked at my reaction, they looked at me for advice, and they looked to see what the adult (who was only eight years older than some of them) in the room had to say. They opened up about difficult home situations, breakups, battles with depression, worries about their futures and so on, seeking guidance from someone who had at least a couple of years of real-world experience. I didn’t always have the right answers, I never figured out what girls needed hugs and which ones needed to just be mad, and I definitely didn’t realize how much of my days would be spent doing all of that…)

I could go on and on about what I learned, but I guess I just needed to blog it out! I guess that school is about to start, and I’m not buying new pens and papers. I guess I’m searching for what this new perspective on education will be. Obviously, I still learn and grow every day, and I’ll still be around friends and family members who come home with stories of grading and PTA meetings. I will be doing other things, though! And while I am beyond thrilled to be a full-time, work-from-home writer (#dreamscometrue), I’m finding myself a little…nostalgic…a little…sad? I will miss aspects of it. I will miss those lightbulb moments, when my hard work paid off and students grasped new concepts. I will miss reading super creative stories from super talented individuals. I will miss stuffing people in basketball practice. I will miss talking about fashion and The Real Housewives with my mom during break. I will miss Taco Thursday with my dad. I will miss Woodson, the best little town out there, since I had to tell it goodbye once again.

My parting words…

  • Good luck to current teachers! You have THE hardest job in the world (which I also previously blogged about), but know that you are SO valued and respected (even when it doesn’t feel like it).
  • Good luck to students heading back to school! I know you’ll get tired and bored and stressed, but know that what you do now really will affect your future (so be the best you can be).
  • Thank you to all educators! You taught me, you teach them, you teach yourselves, and I’m excited for my future children to learn from hardworking and caring individuals like I had.
  • And thank you Woodson for always being a calming constant in my life, with funny and skilled kiddos, smart and determined faculty/staff members and locals who bring smiles to my face with their memories and goodness.

P.S…Leaving this here…Nothing big…Just a fellow small town on ESPN!

P.P.S…People who didn’t grow up in a town of 300…People who didn’t graduate with six other people…People who don’t visit home – a town they moved to when they were one/the town their parents will retire in…They are missing out. Yes, I love the hustle and bustle of the city now, but I love the stars in the country sky, the lack of traffic on our dirt roads, and the shine of stadium lights on Friday nights. People may see this and think, “Wow, ESPN. Really? No one cares about small towns. I thought teams that had to use girls were just made up. These people are just rednecks.” I can make the occasional redneck joke – but only me and my fellow small towners! When other people think they know all about rural America, with a sad mental image of the “typical farmer” and such…Wow. Okay. Off on a tangent! Just wanted to spread a little more goodness out there about the charm, care and coolness of small towns (but ours is the best:).

Seven Little & Light Life Lessons

If you’re looking for tips on how to find The One, career advice or details on the latest diet craze, you’re out of luck, because these little life hacks are fluffier things I have come to realize.

  1. Be adventurous: I’ve never had caviar or done stand-up paddle boarding, so I’m going to do those things in the upcoming months, because I can and should! What are some adventures on your bucket list?
  2. You should move regularly: Yes, I transfer to new apartments frequently, because I get bored, but what I really mean here is that physical activity is one of the most important things. I never realized how valuable a built-in athletic period was in my life, and now, it can be a struggle, but even if you’re just stretching two or three times a week (but I’d prefer you do more;), your body will thank you.
  3. Know your passions: We have one short life, and we should fill it with people, careers and hobbies that please us. So indulge in that one Netflix show, go back to school to fulfill your dream and get all wrapped up in things that make you happy AND can pay the bills.
  4. Know your weaknesses: First off, you should know this just so you’ll be prepared in interviews, but more importantly, it’s good to keep personal perspective, to know what makes you human, where to ask for help and how to build yourself up.
  5. Have patience: All of life is waiting – in line for groceries, for your alarm to go off, to find an SO, for your favorite month/holiday/day of the week – so learn to deal with all of this, as well as the rest of the odd/not-always-perf curveballs of life.
  6. Love yourself: You’re going to have a bad time if you’re always upset at/disgusted with why-oh-you. Sure, you may wish your bottom teeth were straighter or that you had a Kardashian booty or that your could paint like Picasso, but you’re you, and that.is.awesome.
  7. Cherish your loved ones: If you are having trouble with any of the above, at least you have at least one person who gets you and cheers you up…so tell me about those lovely people, because I love to brag about mine!
This covers numbers one and seven, and we can talk about these lovely people, too;)

This covers numbers one and seven, and we can talk about these lovely people, too;)

thoughtful tuesday: moving tips

I lived in the same house my whole life. Well, okay, I moved into it when I was one, but for all my life I remember, I was crawling up the same steep stairs to my room, hanging out in the same decorated backyard and washing my hands at the same white kitchen sink.

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A larger, short-haired, prom-ready me in my high school senior room (mattress on floor, lots of colored things, a huge bear from my bf and V-Day balloons).

When it came time to move away from home and attend college, I was ecstatic. Like any young adult, I was dreaming of freedom and parties and individualism. Plus, I still got to visit home, not losing the memories and home-cooked meals.

Then it all began, though. Each year, my lease would end on my student apartment, meaning I’ve now moved, like, four times in four years.

Mom and Tan helping me move out of Hardin House after freshman year.

Mom and Tan helping me move out of Hardin House after freshman year.

My first two years in Austin, I had furnished rooms, so I only had to bring my clothes, accessories, wall hangings, school supplies and bathroom necessities. These alone add up to…a lot, though.

So when I added furniture for a living room, patio, kitchen and bedroom – plus cat stuff, a bike and even more decorations…It takes several vehicles/loads to get all of this done.

Where I actually spent a bit of time sophomore year, with a view of the Tower.

Where I actually spent a bit of time sophomore year, with a view of the Tower.

And here I go again! And I’m kind of a pro;) So here are some tips…

All in: Come early, stay late, wear grunge and be fast. Be really fast: Move boxes, go back, move more, … Careful, though: You’re bound to drop something, so get your cat-like reflexes ready. Distribute: Everyone should have a task, and the wimpy girl shouldn’t be struggling with the huge couch. Eat now and then: You’ll get cranky on this day, so have donuts or Cheetos lying at random grab stations. Finish, no matter what: As with the first rule, you just got to keep going, so on day two, you only have a few finishing touches, then you can enjoy.

loved living alone junior year...

loved living alone junior year…

Guzzle water:  This is a workout, so stay hydrated, too. Have everything ready: When the few friends/fam do show to help, have wall hangings down, dishes packed away and your game face on. Ignore problems: Notice a rip in some jeans as Dad is carrying them out? Hem ’em later, honey. Juggle: That’s what the whole day is about, literally and figuratively. Keep rooms organized: It’s best to load all the living room furniture together to be carried straight into the new living room. Let anyone/everyone help: You know that creepy neighbor you avoided all semester? His able body is now your best friend. Manage wisely: Don’t be a move-zilla but still be able to efficiently tell people where things go, what to be extra careful with, etc. Never use U-Haul storage: One bad experience there = bye-bye, business. Own up to your junk: “Alllll these boxes of Oreos are your’s?” “You still sleep with stuffed animals?” Yes and yes! Put clothes on a rod: Keep outfits hanging by transporting them on a spare curtain rod. Quit worrying that your bf’s roomie is holding that trunk all wrong: As long as nothing gets totally smashed, you have to put caution and OCD a littttle to the side and focus on getting everything out. Rid yourself: Your pre-moving day would be a good time to donate old items.

Casa de Bri-Brie (for me and my roomie, Brionne), where Cat can gaze through bamboo and people can enjoy coffee outside.

Casa de Bri-Brie (for me and my roomie, Brionne), where Cat can gaze through bamboo and people can enjoy coffee outside.

Stuff your stuff: Cram as many socks, pillows and DVDs into one trash bag as possible…and then some more. Take time to clean: Before people start loading your furniture into vans (way before), you should dust shelves and vacuum cat air (Your allergic Mom will thank you.), and afterwards, leave your old apt clean to avoid charges (Trust me, they won’t think it’s good enough and still make you pay.). Use “recycled” boxes: I hardly ever need moving boxes, because my trunk, storage bins, laundry hamper and bookshelves usually help hold a great deal of my crap. Very thorough, you should be: Re-check every drawer and nook again. Whip things into place: In your new digs, don’t worry about setting everything up exactly perfect at first; just get it all in the right room. Xcitement: This IS a thrilling time, so have fun amidst the stress! You should be thankful: Thank your helpers (Gosh, I hope you have some!) periodicially and know that you’ll probably have to return this favor someday. Zap!: Before you know it, you’ll be in a fresh place with a clean kitchen and different wall arrangements…so enjoy (and throw a house-warming party)!

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fireplace and housewives in the new loft;)

thoughtful tuesday is my crazy-beautiful mind, thrown up onto this screen