Garbage Day

This morning when I woke up, the radio told me it was -1º outside. Funnily enough, that’s not the coldest it has been this winter. We had a very mild winter last winter, so I guess we’re due for it. It was bright and sunny today, though, which was exciting. By the time I left work at 4pm it was 24º. Much better. Felt balmy. It’s amazing what can perspective can do.

Anyway, thanks to the sun and the rapid temperature increase over the course of today, the snow on our roof started to melt. Today is garbage day so my ’round the back neighbors filled their recycling bin and left it on the side of the house. I assume they plan to bring it to the bottom of the driveway, but my neighbors also seem to drop the ball when it comes to taking out the garbage. Thanks to the melting snow, this is what happened to their recycling bin:

Recycling Bin

Trader Joe's Bag

Dripping Beer Bottle

Welcome to winter in Rochester, folks!

Malaysia, Pomegranates, and an IEP

As we stared out the window last night watching a foot of snow fall, two topics of discussion and one fruity experience took center stage.

Map of Malaysia (Map from Lonely Planet)

Earlier yesterday evening, I had a final job interview for a social studies teaching position at a school that is just starting up in Malaysia. Suffice to say, I believe it went quite well. I’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for an email from either of the administrators who interviewed me . . . and I’m bad at waiting. Wish me luck!

 (Delicious fruit from here)

My roommate, E, and I debriefed about the interview over dinner. We talked about when I might move (hopefully August), what my responsibilities would be (to be determined), and what we know about Malaysia (not much). Then E decided she wanted to have pomegranate seeds for dessert. We’ve both been trying to expand our food options because we’re bored of what we usually eat, which presented a problem: E didn’t know how to obtain said seeds from said pomegranate.

The first time I had pomegranate seeds was in middle school. A family for whom my sister babysat sent her home with a pomegranate one night. My mum looked up how to get the seeds out, and we’ve been playing in warm water and banging wooden spoons ever since.

And so E and I cut open the pomegranate, obtained the seed, and had our dessert. There’s something about pomegranates that always make me smile because they’re so pretty to look at and so sweet. They always remind me of being in Israel where pomegranates grow like apples do here. As in, on trees. Everywhere.

(You can see more pictures from my time in Israel here)

I’m going to make the grandiose assumption that most people do not spend their evenings discussing special education policy while doing the dishes and cutting pomegranates, but E and I did. I’m going to miss that when I move wherever I’m lucky enough to get a job. E is involved in a local adult literacy program and told me that the student she tutors, who is our age, had an IEP in high school. E asked me to explain the difference between an IEP and a 504 (used my Master’s degree today – CHECK!). Simply put, there are 13 categories of disabilities for which students may receive an IEP, which provides access to special education services, certain accommodations, and certain curricular modifications. A 504, however, is for students who do NOT fall into one of those 13 disability categories but does have a disability; these students do not need special education services or curricular modifications but may need some accommodations in the classroom.

Perhaps that wasn’t so simple. (For example, you may be wondering what I mean by special education, accommodation, and modification. If so, I apologize for my poor explanation and encourage you to look here for a PDF from the Disability Rights Center, which may help.)

Anyway, I’m rambling so I’ll stop now. Like I said, bad at waiting. Have a great day!

Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend.

If you’ve never heard the old (relatively speaking) song “How to Save a Life” by The Fray, go ahead and listen.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to grow up, about how friends go in and out as people change. Is it okay to drift away from people who have known us since way back when? Is it okay to find people who understand us better than those friends ever could? I tell myself, “Of course that’s okay. That’s how we live. That’s how we grow.”

But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I trace my life back through the friends I’ve had and friends I have, friends who were once mere acquaintances, and acquaintances who I once called friends. I used to make friends on my own, but recently I’ve come to rely much more on other people, and the friends that they bring into my circles. My friendship circles are smaller, but also larger; diverse, but also eerily similar. I wonder how that happens.

In some senses, I know when it’s time to let someone go and I know when it’s time to let someone in. (Admittedly, however, my favorite people are the ones with whom I’ve grown closer naturally; those are the friendships that leave us laughing about how we possibly got here.) What is hard for me, however, is watching friends drift away. Sometimes, it’s a mutual drift in which all parties recognize a natural parting of ways, remain in touch, and catch up on occasion. Other times, it’s a one-sided drift in which one party holds on frantically, afraid of what’s going to happen if he or she lets go.

A little over a year ago, a very dear friend and I stopped speaking. I’m not sure when it happened, how, or why, but I do know that I tried to pull her back. And I do know that she resisted. I was angry for a while, then sad. I was disappointed, I was hurt. I’m still sad because I loved her like a sister, but I’m not angry. People grow, people change, and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. If she ever needs anything, I’m here for her. In a crisis, I’m sure she’d be there for me. But rather than dwell on that, I’ve put my energies into new groups, new friendships. People grow, people change…. Right?

Nevertheless, it’s hard to say goodbye to someone who knew me way back when.

“Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend somewhere along in the bitterness. And I would have stayed up with you all night had I known how to save a life.” – “How to Save a Life”, The Fray

Photos, travels, musings, and ideas on education by a twenty-something teacher trying to make the world a better and more peaceful place