Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Journey South: First Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 2006

Friday was a long, crazy day. One last class and review session followed by the exam. [I really need to say at this point that I had some of the greatest classmates this week. From the time news started spreading about the job, everyone was full of good wishes, great advice, and general encouragement. They helped keep me sane and I appreciated it more than they knew.]

The exam should have been the easiest one of my MAHG career...the part I most clearly remember asked about the statesmanship of George Washington. Books could be written on his humble leadership alone, but instead I found myself distracted by packing lists and things to remember and what I absolutely couldn't forget. Somehow I managed to eke out enough to earn a 'B' and was on my way.

I stopped on the way home to say goodbye to my friend Tina. I was all prepared to tell her about what was going on and that I would be leaving the next morning, but when her son told me she wasn't home I wasn't quite sure what to do with that. You can't exactly say, "Tell your mom I'm moving and I'll see her at Christmas," so asked him to have her call me and went home to pack.

My grandparents came over for dinner and my friend Kayla came to say goodbye. I spent a good six hours sorting through clothes and teaching materials, things I thought I might need if I found a place to live and things I didn't think I could live without. I am still amazed at just how little and how much can be crammed into a Ford Escort ZX2.

I left the next morning...I think I cried the whole way to Cambridge. I was leaving everything and everyone I knew and loved to go someplace I had never been with people I had never met, I think I was entitled to a few tears.

I stopped for the night in Rock Hill. I knew I didn't want to drive all the way through in one day because I would get there too late and I would be too tired. I was slightly familiar with Rock Hill from my interview earlier in the summer and it seemed like a good place to rest. I went out to get some dinner and found out it was the back-to-school tax free weekend so I bought some school supplies, but was very much looking forward to sleep. The South Carolina wildlife had other ideas though. There was some kind of bug living behind the mini-fridge, sounded like a cricket, that would not stop making noises all night. At one point I was so frustrated that I tried killing it with hairspray (it didn't work, but it made me feel a little better).

Back on the road the next morning, I made a detour through Aiken because when I was looking online for places to live (you know, all those times I should have been studying) it seemed like my only option. Aiken seemed like a nice enough town, but the drive from there to Allendale could best be described as desolate. It seemed like I passed nothing but pine trees for most of that hour. It had been a dry summer and everything was some shade of brown, even the greens had a brown tint to them. (The next summer when I went back to Ohio, I felt like I had stepped into a technicolor movie and had to readjust to how vivid everything seemed.) Nothing prepared me for the heat. I had spent the morning in my car's air conditioning so I hadn't noticed the rising temperature, but when I finally reached the high school and opened the door, I felt like I was entering an literally took my breath away.

So it was with a sense of relief that I entered the school. I was out of the oppressive heat. I had reached my destination. My life was now about to begin....which meant, of course, I needed to call my mother. It was at this point I learned one of the most important lessons of the next few weeks...Sprint cell phones didn't work very well in this part of South Carolina.

After a brief discussion with the principal and a tour of the school, I was more than ready to call it a day and find someplace to crash...after all I had to be back there early the next morning. Instead of directions, or a ride, to the place I was supposed to be staying I was instead told that the assistant principal was not able to have me stay with her that evening, so they were going to send me to a local (20 minutes away) hotel. I followed another teacher to the hotel, checked in, and tried to prepare for all that was about to happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment