Things that even a jacuzzi tub can’t fix

The past few days I’ve been feeling really homesick.  It’s hard for me to understand still that I’m not just visiting here, that this is supposed to be home now.  It doesn’t feel like home at all.

This is a really hard place to live if you’re over the age of 22.  College towns are like that, and especially this college town.  This is not one of those cool college towns you see in the movies with people wearing scarves and carrying lots of books.  Here you’re always surrounded by young blond people wearing too-short-shorts and talking too loud.  And they all wear too much makeup or are thicknecks.  Or both.

Another reason I’m homesick is that it’s hard to find things.  I still make wrong turns, even on routes I’ve driven lots of times before.  The lanes change all the time and the roads change directions.  I go to the grocery store and things are in weird places.  As much as I grumbled in Las Cruces about being bored, at least I knew how to get where I needed to be.  I get tired of feeling lost all the time.

Take today, for example.  It took me two trips and about five hours to do my grocery shopping for the week.  And it’s not like I was looking for really weird stuff.  I had to go to six different stores to find a decent beer.  I still couldn’t find the toothpaste that I like.  I wandered back and forth around the Kroger, trying to figure out where the graham crackers were.  I discovered that they’re not anywhere near the rest of the food; they’re past the cosmetics and the shampoo, with the beer and wine.  Why would graham crackers be with the beer?  Meanwhile, the guy stocking the meat counter in the back of the store watched me wander past five times, pushing my nearly empty cart, and I’m sure he went and told his meat counter buddies about the crazy lost lady later on.  Then, at the checkout, the bagboy put each item in its own individual bag, like he does every time, so I have five hundred plastic bags under my sink.  Grocery shopping should not be this hard.

Honestly, I expected to be a little homesick.  I knew things would be different here and it would take some time to adjust.  But I didn’t think it would be this bad.  I keep wondering if it’s because we moved, or because we moved here.  For so long all I wanted to do was move somewhere new; I felt like I couldn’t breathe anymore in Las Cruces, like I was asleep.  Nothing is really wrong — I’m happy with my job and the people I work with, my house and my huge yard with grass and trees, but this is just very different from what I thought it would be.  I haven’t found anything that I really love, anything to make me feel like I belong.  I just feel overwhelmed, lost, and lonely.  But I’ll just go take a bath, and maybe I’ll feel a little better.

A funny thing happened…

On my way to school this morning, I saw a woman walking her chihuahua.  But rather than a leash, it looked something like this:

Dog in a Sling

Dog in a Sling

Is it just me, or is this completely ridiculous?

I’ve moved!

Sorry for the long hiatus!  But I’ve moved, and have a new job, and have been buying frog legs by the pound at the grocery store.  Since you can do that in East Texas.

And my house is a disaster.  I started to get some of it organized where I didn’t have to climb over the piano to get to the coffeepot, but then I bought a couch, armchair, dining room table and chairs, and hutch.

Lots of pictures and stories coming soon, though, I promise!

My Last Night in New Mexico!

It’s so bizarre to think that I’m really moving.  And I’m coming up on my last few hours in Las Cruces.  It’s kind of sad, but then I’ve been to busy to really be melancholy about it.  Moving is hard work, that’s for sure.

I’ve been trying to figure out what to do on my last night here.  I’m having mexican food, I ate at Caliche’s last week, and I’m taking three bushels of green chile with me.  I’m trying desperately to get my fix of all these things to last me until I get to come back.  But what I’m really going to miss is the people.  I’ve been so busy with all of the details that I haven’t had enough time with the people that I love.  So I guess I’ll just have to come back…

Boo

I hate moving.  We have too much junk.

That’s all.

Moving!

It’s official — we’re moving!  Last week Brian and I made a preliminary trip to College Station, TX, and God worked things out in such amazing ways!  We found a great house, and I got a great job, and life is good!  Of course, that means that I have to spend the next three weeks frantically cleaning and packing up this house.  So please, don’t expect many deep thoughts from me for the next month or so.

As thrilled as I am about this new opportunity, I find myself sad to leave here.  I miss the mountains already, and the blue sky.  And of course green chile.  I haven’t eaten much without it for the last week.  And I will miss all of my sweet friends and family.  But it’s time to move on.  And so I keep sifting through piles of junk, trying to decide what I can throw away before Brian notices.

Vocation

“This means, in practice, that there is only one vocation.  Whether you teach, or live in the cloister, or nurse the sick, whether you are in religion or out of it, married or single, no matter who you are or what you are, you are called to the summit of perfection: you are called to a deep interior life perhaps even to mystical prayer, and to pass the fruits of your contemplation on to others.  And if you cannot do so by word, then by example.”

Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

I finally finished reading The Seven Storey Mountain, and though the first half took me forever (like a month) to get through, I couldn’t put it down once I got to the second half.  It’s a wonderful story of how Thomas Merton went from a life of sin and selfishness to become a Trappist monk.

I really struggle sometimes with the fact that I have to live in this world, that I can’t just go be a hermit, where there is nothing to tempt me or distract me from loving God.  But I also know that I am called to be a teacher, and a wife, and a friend, and probably all sorts of other things that I’m not aware of.  No matter how hard it is and how much I feel like I am wasting my time, I am doing God’s work there because He wills that I be there.

This idea is very encouraging to me – the thought that no matter what our jobs or hobbies or callings might be, we are all in the same vocation.  We are all called to love, to think on God, to pray continually.  That’s it.  And through that work He is perfecting us, and making Himself known to the people around us.

Happy Father’s Day!

So, I get really confused in the summer, and I never know what day it is.  I thought Father’s Day was last week, and called my dad and left him a message.  The next day I realized I was wrong.  But I figure it can’t hurt to tell him how much I love him an extra time.

Anyway, I am so grateful for my dad, and my grandpas, and my father-in-law.  I am so blessed to have such wonderful men in my life.  I know so many people who never had that, and I hurt for them.  So thanks, dads, for being so good to me.  I love you!

Sun Tea and Lilacs

sun-teaI have these memories of sun tea when I was a kid, setting it out on the porch and then running off to play. I never drank tea when I was little, but it’s still associated with the sweetness of summer.  The heat of summer in Roswell, NM, where you couldn’t run barefoot on the sidewalk, and the incredibly blue sky.  Where you could run around the neighborhood all day and no one worried about it.  And the freedom of knowing I had time.  Summer was so long, I never considered that it would end in August.  I just spent every day being a kid.  I kind of miss those days.  So this year I was thrilled to get a sun tea jar, so I can sit outside and watch the dark tea slowly stain the water.

The other very distinct sensory memory I have from childhood is the scent of lilacs.  Every time I smell it I have to stop a minute and take a deep breath.  We had a huge lilac tree (bush?) in our backyard, which was one of my favorite places in the world.  I had to walk past the tree every time I went into the backyard, and that scent is all tangled up with memories of climbing trees and the tire swing, of writing ridiculous poetry and making s’mores at the very far end of the yard, the “secret” club my friends and I made, the mushy mulberries all over the ground.

I sometimes fear that I’ll forget my childhood and all the sweet, silly things about it, but I think that as long as I can make sun tea and smell the lilacs I’ll remember.

How to look cool in the eyes of a sixth grader…

On Friday, the last day the kids had class at my school, I walked into the lounge to see a stack of letters in my box.  I immediately groaned inside, thinking for sure it was some complaints from the office nazi, or some bean counter at central office telling me I had forgotten to fill out some obscure form and now was not going to get paid for the summer.  But happily, I was wrong.

What I had was a few letters from my sixth graders, who have now left me for the middle school.  I have to admit that I’m a sap who cries when watching commercials with puppies, and so of course a couple of the letters made me get all choky and teary.

So here’s a few quotes from my sweet kids.

“I would like to thank you because you accepted me in your class and you were a cool teacher.  Thank you for changing my life.  You are super cool because you let me play the instruments, drums, and xylophones.”  Ruben

“I’m happy about joining band next year because you have taught me a lot this year…You are one teacher that I enjoy being with.  I like you because you’re nice and cool.  I remember a time when we went to the school to play, I had fun because you weren’t a tattle tale when we stole the candy.”  Krystal

Percussion class

Percussion class

“(Next year) may be a better music class, but I know it won’t be as fun there…The music instructor at middle school will never top the real music teacher and that’s you.”  Daniel

“You are a teacher who really inspired me because I know you like to teach and you loved each and every one of us.  You really impacted my life this year…I could clearly see you loved teaching us.”  Armando

“(Before you came) I wasn’t into music very much, I thought it was very boring, but now I want to tell you how much fun I had with you during class…You are like one of my friends, a kid my age can really have a conversation with you because for me you’re not a teacher you’re my friend.”  Angelica

It’s moments like these that remind me why I love my job so much, even with the office nazi and the bean counters.

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