by taylordoe

I’m so good at blogging!

I obviously don’t find as much time as I would like to update my blog, but I have a few hours on my hands so now seems like an appropriate time to play some catch up. As write this, I am winging my way back to Colorado after spending Thanksgiving in New Jersey and NYC with my college roommate and one of my best friends, Alli.

I had an incredible time with her family on Thanksgiving. We went to a family friend’s house in the morning, ate some delicious food, had some drinks and talked to lots of her neighbors. Apparently, this family has a tradition of playing the song “Alice’s Restaurant” at noon on Thanksgiving Day, so it was a lot of fun to be part of that. Fun fact though — that song is 20+ minutes long with only about one minute of actual singing. The rest is the singer telling the story of how he was arrested for littering. It sounds crazy, but it’s a really neat song.

Next stop was Alli’s grandparent’s house for dinner. Her grandparents were incredibly gracious in letting me join them for the holiday and it was a blast. I met a lot of Alli’s aunts and uncles, who were all so intelligent and interesting and kind. I got to talk to her aunt, Tina, who works for Random House and she told me some truly fascinating stories about what it is like to work in publishing. She oversees a lot of nonfiction and gets to meet the authors while they are working on their books. So, she regularly meets with some of the most powerful and fascinating people in the world, like Condoleezza Rice, Michelle Obama and George Bush. I probably asked Tina too many questions, but I was so interested in hearing about what it is like to work with such influential people. Maybe a potential post-TFA career?

On Friday afternoon, Alli’s dad drove us into the city. I felt like a child because I was so excited, but the last time I was in New York was senior year of high school, so I was excited to see New York now that I am a little bit older. When we got to Alli’s place, we lugged our stuff up the five floors to her apartment. I admire city people who live in walk ups — I couldn’t imagine trying to carry your groceries up that many stairs!

After getting settled in, one of my most absolute favorite people in the world, B. Copeland, came over to see me. B was my “little” during my time in a sorority in college and we have stayed friends since. She is effortlessly confident, intelligent and gorgeous. She joined us as we set out to walk around the city. We were also accompanied by Alli’s roommate’s girlfriend, Emily, who recently moved to NYC. We went downtown to Union Square and strolled through the outdoor shops that sell all sorts of different goods and food. B and I split a delicious waffle and I bought a new hat that is sewn to look like a frog. I can’t wait to see my friends’ reactions in Colorado when they see it.

Saturday morning we met up with Jeff at The Met. Her uncle, Andy, works at the museum and had left us free passes so we could tour the museum, which was very kind of him. It really is mind boggling how much there is to see there. You could spend your whole day walking the exhibits and see nowhere close to all they have to offer. I wish my kids could visit somewhere like that. I don’t think they see things that incredible very often in the Springs.

Once we left The Met, we walked through Central Park. What can I say? It’s so gorgeous. It looked the way it does in the movies, with fall leaves still on some of the trees and lots of people milling around, enjoying this haven in the middle of a bustling city. I love the idea of a huge, open space in the middle of a metropolis that everyone has equal and free access to. I think if I lived in the city, I would spend a lot of time in Central Park.
A short ride on the metro late, we hopped off and walked the Highline. It really is a perfect place to see the city. On one side we could look out onto the water, the other gave us a gorgeous view of the city’s architecture. It was great having Jeff there because he could offer some background on the history of the area, what buildings I was looking at and funny stories from when he lived in the city.

We left the Highline and headed down to the 9/11 Memorial. I’d been to the area in high school about a year and a half after 9/11 and obviously there have been huge changes since then. Jeff worked at the Trade Center at the time of the attack and told me about how he watched the towers collapse from a ferry on the water. I can’t imagine what that experience would be like. It was clear that more than a decade later, reflecting on that day remains an emotional experience for him.

Then we decided to change gears and we made a special pit stop for me. I have been pretty fascinated by the Occupy Wall Street movement for a number of reasons, so I had told Alli I would like to see the protesters at Zucotti Park, which is just a few blocks from the  9/11 Memorial. In the wake of Mayor Bloomberg dismantling the occupation last week, there were fewer demonstrators than there had been at other points in the protest. However, there were still quite a few people there and it was really interesting to see people from all different walks of life joined together. I’m not sure I necessarily agree with the tenets of the movement, but any time people come together to call for change using peaceful means, I think that is a good thing. There is inherent value in those types of conversations.

At this point, we parted ways with Jeff and headed out down to the South Street Seaport. It reminded me a lot of Faneuil Hall in Boston, with lots of vendors, people and street performers. We had a really great view of the Brooklyn Bridge and were able to take some good pictures. After walking the city for a day, we were both exhausted so we got back on the metro and went back to Alli’s apartment. When we got back, Alli’s roommate Chadwick had gotten back from Ohio. I went to college with Chadwick and hadn’t seen him in more than two years, so I was happy to see an old friend. I’ve always loved the way that no matter how much time has passed, you can always pick up where you left off with friends.

Saturday night we tied up with my other Elon friend, Andrew Cushman, and went to a bar called Prohibition. There was a fantastic 80s cover band playing and if you know me at all, you can imagine my excitement to walk into them playing “Don’t You Forget About Me.” We danced and drank and smiled a lot. It was totally different from a Saturday night in the Springs and I enjoyed experiencing a night out in a big city.

 Coming home at 11:30 on Sunday night and setting a 5 AM alarm wasn’t exactly the most cheerful start to the week, but we have been given Friday off by our Superintendent, so it will be a happily shortened week for teachers. Thanksgiving was exactly the break I needed. I can feel myself getting worn down from school. I have essentially been working non-stop since the first week of June between Induction, Institute, our two week training with the school district and of course, school itself. I can feel exhaustion setting in and my patience wearing thin, but the light is at the end of the tunnel – only 22 more days until the first semester is over! It boggles my mind that I am almost done with my first half of the school year. For as long and arduous as the last five months have been, the time has flown by.

I am very much looking forward to spending Christmas break at home with my family. We haven’t all been together in the same place since Memorial Day and I miss them terribly. I can’t wait to spend time with my parents, my sister, Doug (an adopted Doe family member) and my friends. I fully intend on plopping my towel at the beach, soaking in the sun and getting caught up on all the books I haven’t been able to read in the last few months.

Until then, it is all about keeping myself and my kids focused on finishing this first part of the year strong. District assessments are rapidly approaching and the kids need all the learning time they can get so they can be adequately prepared. We are learning every day, getting closer to our goals and coming together as a class to create a really positive culture and environment. I am so proud of my kids for all their hard work. It’s paying dividends.

Until next time! 🙂