Well, I've now been in Utah for 4 weeks. I am enjoying my student teaching. And I have a boyfriend. Wow...that's weird to say. But it sure does make me happy. Jeff is an amazing guy. I actually met him online...something I never pictured myself doing, but it is so worth it! I don't have much time to update...and y'all probably don't want to read the details anyway, but I have to share!! I'm so happy:)
Well, the day started out by judging the Elementary School Science Fair. That was...interesting, to say the least. Never thought I'd be doing that on my year mark of being home.
But the part that really freaks me out...I started applying for jobs online. Real jobs. Big-girl jobs. That will also have big-girl pay checks (that's a nice thought). Yep. All of my preparations for teaching are underway. Now all I have to do is keep filling out applications, and wait.
At this moment, exactly one year ago, I was finishing my first meal with my family in over 18 months. I was sitting in mom's new kitchen with my family, missionary nametag in place, but knowing it wouldn't be there for much longer.
Last night, it really hit me that today is my year-mark of being home. And I totally broke down in tears. I reached over and picked up that black nametag, which I always keep nearby. It's something so trivial, yet something that means so much to me, because the months that I wore that nametag were the months that most shaped me into the woman I am today. And as I sat there, holding my nametag I started to sob. My heart ached for the mission. I longed to be back with the people I grew so to love. I yearned to have a full-on conversation in Spanish. I wished that I had all of my missionary journals here with me, so I could read them, and, in a sense, go back to that time.
I turned out my light, and tears rolled down my face and onto my pillow. How I wished I had, at the very least, a teddy bear to cuddle with. But I didn't have even that. Eventually, I fell asleep, still longing for the mission.
Now, overall, it has been a good year. Of course there were ups and downs, but I do believe that there were more ups than downs. I've met many more wonderful people who I have grown to love. I've had conversations in Spanish. Honestly, I wouldn't trade the past year for anything...except to go back.
Every day, for the past 365 days, I have thought about being a missionary, and the many wonderful experiences I had as such. And for the past 365 days, I've wondered how it would feel to hit my year mark being home. Now I know. And I dread the day, in just 6 short months, when I will have been home for more days than I was a missionary. I don't even want to think about that.
And so today, on this anniversary, I want to joyfully remember all of the people who touched my life while I was a missionary. I want to remember the experiences I had. I want to remember the joy I felt on oh so many occasions. Don't get me wrong, it's been great being with my family, but, as to this point in my life, nothing compares to being a missionary.
Well, I've got 2 weeks of my student teaching done already. It's been a busy couple of weeks. I moved here to Utah on New Year's Eve. Since that time, I've gotten settled into my apartment. I'm really enjoying living alone for the time being. Of course, if I do end up getting a job somewhere in this area, I'll likely move in with roommates, but for right now, it's nice to have "me time." I kind of have a cat. Actually, the people I live with have a cat, but she won't leave me alone, so I call her my cat. I really like my ward. I feel more welcome here than I have in any other ward I've been in--at least with the sisters. I don't know that I can say as much for the guys. But I've only gone 3 Sundays. Something is bound to change sooner or later.
I'm also completely loving life in the Salt Lake area. This past weekend, I hopped in the car and made the short drive to Provo. It was very much like all of my driving from Rexburg to IF and back...just with more traffic. I was able to see a bunch of friends--family, friends from high school, old roommates, mission friends. And I met some new people as well. It was fantastic! I love living this close to Provo!
Anyway, I'm really enjoying my student teaching. So far, I've only had 4-day weeks...and this week is no different. Next week when I have all 5 days is going to be a real shocker...but then again, I have a training all day on Monday so I'll still only be in the classroom for 4 days. In my class, there are 31 students, but we switch back and forth with the other 6th grade class, so I have the wonderful opportunity to get to know all 61 6th graders at Fremont Elementary. Yes, that is a lot. And it makes it even more of a challenge that about 2/3 of the students are English Language Learners. But...the whole reason I'm not already done with student teaching and graduated is because I wanted to be certified to work as an ESL instructor...so it's totally worth it. It's going to give me a lot of experience.
There are many different nationalities and languages represented in my classes. I don't even know them all. They include: Burma (Chinese), Thailand (Khmer), Somalia (Somali), India (Indian), Vietnam (Vietnamese), Japan (Japanese), Latin America (Spanish)--I lumped them all into the same category, because I have no clue which countries are represented. As as you can see, we have a very diverse class. It can make instruction difficult at times, but it is so rewarding to be able to see the students succeeding and to be able to help them realize that they really can speak English and perform well if they put their mind to it. And I love the challenge that each new day brings!
We found our Happily Ever After in July 2012 when we married, just 6 months after we met and will use this blog to document our many wonderful adventures in our lives together with our new son, born June 2013