getting unsquashed

^that’s not really a word but please just roll with it.

On the last episode of Caroline Writing Out Thoughts & People (Maybe) Reading Them, it was July and I was freaking out about how it was July. Now we’re approaching the end of September and I’m freaking out about how we’re approaching the end of September. I keep finding myself here after too many months of not being here (sorry?).

August was a whirlwind in a lot of beautiful ways. I spent about half at Home in Illinois, and half trekking (Not really. I drove.) around the Mitten visiting various members of the Tribe of Caroline’s Favorite People who happen to live here. And I got to celebrate the ending of Marie’s single chapter for w4 hours straight. I also got my hair done. And Matt and Marie got married which is officially on the list of my 5 favorite days ever (don’t ask me what the others are. I only remember one right now). And I moved into a new house and my housemates are the sweetest (HI, LADIES). And I ate a lot of good food. That’s what I remember.

September. Another great wedding. Memorial Day Weekend at home. Buying a bed. Assembling a bed. Starting school. Not dying after starting school.  Seeing Emily complete a “cello obstacle course.” A roadtrip with Joey to see Josh being all-grown-up and killing it at his fancy Chicago job. Youth Group kick off with SO MANY KIDS.

So I kind of rushed past “Starting school.” Let me back up for a moment. This year. Man. The second year of teaching is my favorite year of teaching. (okay, so it’s only been two and the first one is NO ONE’s FAVORITE UNLESS THEY’RE A SADIST but still. It’s pretty good.) Four weeks in and I feel like a different person in that classroom. Heck, I felt like a different teacher on the first day of school. I am by no means perfect, but at the end of the day I know that I’m doing my job, and doing it pretty well. I have found my voice to speak up when I have an idea or a concern. I’m apparently confident? Munster says I’m tough now (Hey, Karrie!). BOOM. 

My first year of teaching squashed me. It hurt. It messed up what I thought was my great and perfect plan. But all of that squishing pushed out a lot of bad ideas and naivete to make room for a lot of good. And now, I get to spend my second year un-squashing myself and seeing what’s possible now that I’ve let go of a lot of unhelpful mess. (I’m not sure if ANY of that made ANY sense at all. But it’s the truth, even so).

I’m not sure where this tidbit fits in but it’s worth documenting somewhere. This week is the best because we got to go out for apps at Applebee’s as a staff on Monday and I ate ALL OF THE MELTED CHEESE (mozzarella sticks, quesadillas, spinach dip, etc) and I also got to go to Icons Coffee with Bouwhuis (and Pipe for a lovely but brief moment) today and it made me really happy.

In other news, living with people my own age has been such a switch. I loved the sort of “host family” feel of my last place, but coming home at 11 to the lights on and friends watching Netflix in the living room has been a dream. We watch Stranger Things and Grey’s Anatomy and random documentaries together and it’s just the best. (S/O to the Cosmos. Not the Hope Frat. My house. This one’s for you, Nat).

I have high hopes for the months ahead. I also have slightly-less-high hopes that I’ll post here again before January, but we’ll see how that goes.

As always, I love you for reading this, whoever you are.