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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Job, 2nd edition, vol. XII (Home)

Cab drivers in New Haven are crazy.

I got scolded by mine this morning for giving him a non-existent address where he could pick me up. But I don't live there, so I had no idea what address I was at. Then, he proceeded to tell me long, obnoxious tales about his gifted engineer son, which, for some reason, I didn't believe, and I was very glad that the ride to the train station was only a few minutes.

Heading back to Boston was nice, especially since I slept a good chunk of the way.

I'd been experiencing a long-forgotten sensation these last few days, in anticipation of coming back here for the weekend. On the periphery of my consciousness, this feeling that I would be going HOME this weekend, not just back to Boston, was sneaking in.

This is not a feeling I take for granted or lightly.

This is big.

And a welcome and comforting surprise.

Basically, the reason I'm here this weekend is because I got a second interview for a Teaching Artist position, and, so, that was the first thing I did when I got off the train.

It's pretty amazing to feel both confident and experienced in a job interview.

The work I'm doing this summer is absolutely building my confidence in my job and myself. I'm excited to see how employment opportunities fall for me in the days and weeks after this summer gig is over.

I treated myself to a fast food lunch downtown and then headed to my apartment for a moment, which felt REALLY good. Just lying on my own bed, thinking and resting. The silence was actually kind of deafening. It felt like the first time I've REALLY been alone in weeks.

Now, my cousin and I are vegging for the day and night. I'll see my girls tomorrow, get a much-needed pedicure, and head back to CT with, what I hope is, the energy and enthusiasm to push me through the last two weeks of this crazy, amazing job experience.

I'm pleased to feel as excited about the next two weeks as I am.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Job, 2nd edition, vol. XI (A Weekend Off)

The first week has gone fairly smoothly.

Personally, I've been in a really good mood for a few days standing, which is lovely.

These are the things I love about this job, these days:
Flash mob dances at 4:15 in the afternoon,
Observing classes I saw last session and noticing all the improvements,
Planning for Karaoke Wednesdays,
Productive meetings with my lovely directors,
Cheering for students who get dessert, for no reason besides the pure silliness of it,
Leaving the dining hall with cups of Lucky Charms for dessert,
The flexibility of my weekly schedule that allows me to sleep till 10 during the middle of the week,
Sangria with co-workers,
One of my instructors saying she couldn't imagine life here without me,
The hammocks in the courtyard of my dorm,
Nights on duty that involve nothing more than prowling Facebook and talking about The Bachelorette,
Hot guys on staff,
Nice guys on staff,
Hot, nice guys on staff,
Appointing myself as Deputy of High-Fives,
Feeling confident about the job I'm doing here,
Feeling good about myself here,
Accruing days off so I can be in Boston this weekend, during which I will have a job interview for a great teaching artist position.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Job, 2nd edition, vol. X (First Session Ends)

In ten minutes, I will be taking a shower that will wipe the dirt and sweat of two intensely difficult days of work off of me.

Or maybe it's three.

I can't keep track here.

It's funny. I was SO burnt out and exhausted at this point last year. I couldn't imagine that we were only halfway done and that I had to do this all again.

This year, it all seems manageable and I'm having a great (although not entirely easy) time.

And I've been sick twice.

It's like my body is telling me, "Nah, we got this. You can do this job, even with a cold!"

And then, I do.

As the session ended, the curriculum work intensified. We had final showcases to plan and pull off, including the drama showcase that I was a part of as a teacher last year.

I can't decide if it was easier or harder to be in the booth, running tech, this time.

But it went off without too many hitches, and then, because I love my job so much, I agreed to help shuttle kids to and from the LARGE showcase that culminates the whole session, even though I was off duty.

After running around for about 6 hours, I regretted this decision swiftly.

And then, we shuttled the kids to the big concert hall, and I heard the first roars of excitement as the Rock Performance class started to perform "Under Pressure/Ice Ice Baby," and remembered why I'd volunteered in the first place.

This place can be really magical.

Today was spent holed up doing data entry, as we entered every single student's evaluations of the courses we've been mentoring.

Then, the whole staff cleaned up the campus and got a break to eat pizza and nap.

Tonight, I'm going out with my office mates, and then I don't know what.

Working again at 9 AM tomorrow, since a whole new crop of kids will be arriving.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Job, 2nd edition, vol. IX (Washington, DC)

I don't even remember what has happened in the full week since I posted last because my brain is full and my ears are ringing with Spanish children's accents.

Let me explain.

Early last week, in fact, on the worst day I've had here thus far, I found out I had been assigned to chaperone the 2 1/2 day weekend trip to DC. This trip involves an 8-hour bus ride each way, a full 16-hour day of touring the city, two nights in a hotel, and 49 children.

It also meant that I wouldn't be getting a full day off until July 23rd, because this coming weekend is departure day for first session kids and arrival day for second session kids.

I was pissed.

And stressed.

But found some solace in the fact that a few of my favorite staff members would be suffering with me.

Later in the week, the staffs got switched, but I was still assigned to the trip. So, suddenly, not only was I still going to DC for 2 1/2 days, but I also would be leading a staff of three that I didn't know.


And stressed.

Everyone I talked to didn't understand what had happened, or why I still had to go.

I shuffled through the rest of the week, dreading the weekend.

I cried to the Programming Director about my concerns that I'd be the only one working hard all weekend, and that it just seemed unfair and unsafe. Got some fairly encouraging words about my ability to lead them...

Got some serious pep talks from some colleagues and braced myself for impact.

Really, the weekend was too packed to go into detail here, but here are a few vital stats of the weekend:

Number of students on trip: 49
Number of staff: 4
Number of staff over 21: 1
Number of staff under 20: 1
Number of indispensable tour guides who joined us for whole weekend: 1
Number of indispensable bus drivers who suffered us gladly all weekend: 1
Number of hours spent in bus going South: 7
Number of hours spent in bus going North: 8
Number of hours spent working/touring/walking on Saturday: 16
Number of hours I slept Friday night: maybe 1
Number of memorials we saw in 2 1/2 days: 6
Number of museums we saw in 2 1/2 days: 2
Number of times I called the nurse on call on Saturday: 4
Number of security guards hired to watch the hotel corridor overnight: 1
Number of times I got stuck outside the Capitol in the rain with a sick kid: 1
Number of times he asserted he should go back to the hotel and that he'd call his dad: Many
Number of times I had to go through the security line at the Capitol: 2
Number of hours the staff and I hid in the Bedding section of Macy's: 2
Number of times the Spanish students asked if we'd watch the World Cup on the ride home: In the hundreds
Number of times they asked to stop on the bus heading North, so they could watch the World Cup: In the hundreds
Number of times I had to ask them to sit down on the bus: In the hundreds
Number of staff who stayed awake to help me during this part of the bus ride: 0
Number of hours I slept on the bus ride home: 0

When I walked through the gate on campus before 10 PM Sunday, I felt like I was coming back from a war. My head was pounding, my body hurt, and I was so happy that I don't live with kids this year.

I slept almost 10 hours last night and woke up feeling pretty OK.

Before I left on Friday, I was sure I'd either come back with strep throat or with everyone on the trip thinking I was a raging bitch.

Neither happened, so I feel pretty much like I triumphed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Job, 2nd edition, vol. VIII (Where Does the Time Go?)

Two days into the second week of classes.

I've already hit the point where I feel like avoiding large groups of people. It feels like it happened earlier this year than last year, but maybe it's just coinciding with my PMS, just like it did last year.

So many things have happened since I last posted, including but not limited to:
My weeping in an Arabic Culture class I was observing because the visual of seeing white, American kids in traditional Arabic dress was incredibly powerful,
My weeping at being overwhelmed by the social navigation here, as I was last year,
My getting drunk on sangria and eating housemade guacamole with some really amazing people on a Friday evening, while sitting outside,
My leading 36 children to MoMA and back without anyone losing a limb,
My epic day off, that included but was not limited to, sleeping, eating, lying in a hammock, drinking a lot, and watching fireworks from a garage rooftop.

I know I haven't been as good about updating as I was last year.

Part of that is because, while I spend a lot of time in front of my computer in my office(!), I never feel right about updating from there.

Another part is that I'm trying to be MUCH better about resting when I have time to.

Which usually means avoiding my computer when I'm off duty.

Rest assured, while I'm crabby and kinda sad today, it's been a wonderful start to what I'm sure will be another unforgettable summer. I'm feeling very good about the job I'm doing here and know that what I'm learning here is probably surpassing what I'm teaching others.