Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Move

Friday was my last day of teaching, and though it was said to say goodbye to my wonderful students, I am very ready for this move to happen. Well, psychologically. Technically, my apartment is a mess of boxes, trash, and piles of clothes, and I'm nowhere near done packing.

I can't really remember if packing everything up last Spring and moving was more or less difficult, but for some reason, it has been exhausting! I've pretty much figured out where everything is headed---there are many directions---some things to be stored in New York for my new apartment, some things to be opened in New York and used while I live with Mom and Dad, some things back to Dinsmore, some things to other friends in Charlottesville, and not too much to the trash.

Yesterday was a big day in the process. I brought my herb garden (yes, I've been growing and using a personal herb garden this year, making great use of my floor to ceiling windows) over to Serena and Elaine's and was actually quite sad to see it go. I had debated bringing it up, but knew it would be a disaster in the car and well, I didn't feel like holding it on my lap the whole way up. Alas, I'll be fresh-herb-free until next summer.

Andrew and Brad also came to pick up my couch and bring it back to Dinsmore. Many of you may know these couches well. I took the small one (if you could call it small) to my apartment downtown for the semester, but decided that it's true home was Dinsmore, not New York. So there was a great reunion of the two couches back at their home yesterday. We had a Christmas/Hannukah Dinner at Dinsmore last night with delicious beef stew, sauteed leeks, garlic bread and kugel, and I think everyone was pretty happy to have the couches back together. Plus, as everyone who's ever slept over knows, the small one is by far the more comfortable bed.

Today I'm going to tackle my clothes. This is the real difficulty in dividing up, because I need to separate clothes for the next 2 days of moving from clothes to wear in New York the next week from clothes I'll need in New York the entire winter from clothes that I won't need until the summer and can keep packed up. So, needless to say, many more piles will be created throughout the day.

Tomorrow, Mom comes down to help out. I've delegated her to the china portion of the packing, since she graciously donated her china to my apartment and I have no desire to be the cause of it all breaking during its return. Monday night/Tuesday morning the movers are coming to take everything. Tuesday, my bedroom furniture is being transported over to the McLean's house, for Liz's apartment next year. And then on Wednesday, we drive back home.

Why I decided to outline my moving schedule for this blog post, I have no idea. Well, I do. It's to waste time and put off the actual packing tasks I've now outlined for the day. This is probably the least thrilling post I've written, but at this point, I'm just ready to get moving. I'm not sure how this blog will transform as I make my way north and (hopefully) into the working world. For the next month or so, I'm sure I'll just fill it with Holiday musings and stories about being unemployed and moving back into a bedroom covered in U2, Phish, and Dawson's Creek posters. Plenty of amusement ahead, I'm sure.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Field Trip!

Second graders at my school have traditionally gone to see the Grand Caverns as their fall field trip. Since there is an unavoidable lack in attendance and if not, attention, coming from 7 and 8 year olds the day before Thanksgiving Break, we decided to schedule the big trip for this past Tuesday. A perfect plan to ease minds of parents taking their children out of school to see Grandma, and to ensure that instruction is not missed by misbehaving students going wild that a 5-day weekend is about to begin. Of course, we failed to anticipate the heavy snowfall that occurred on our outdoor field trip!

Though I've been in Charlottesville for 5 years, this was the first I'd heard of the Grand Caverns, which are over near Waynesboro. The Grand Caverns are enormous caves found inside of a large mountain over 200 years ago, and they were actually quite fascinating. The stalagmites (as in, they MIGHT some day reach the top) and stalagtites (as in, they hold on TIGHT to the ceiling) were absolutely stunning, as were the many shield formations, columns, reflection pools, and calacite coverings. It was really fascinating that such a world exists inside of a mountain!!

Of course, those of you who know me well will be asking these questions: Calvine, aren't you extremely claustrophobic? And don't you get motion sickness with the drop of a hat in the backseat of a sedan, let alone bus? Yes and yes. I stumbled off the bus, feeling absolutely awful, but managed to keep the kids in line. I was quite disappointed that we had to sit in the back of the bus with the students, since I remember teachers getting the lame (but less bumpy!) front end! I also squeezed tightly (you know, to make sure they were ok) the hands of my students when we experiences "cave darkness" and turned off all of the lights. And I threw up in my mouth a little bit when the tour guide said, about 50 minutes into the hike inside the cave, "look up at the ceiling. It is 100 feet above you. 100 feet above that is the ground." Needless to say, fresh air was very welcome!

Of course, our picnic-ing plans (in the much-needed fresh air) were foiled when a snowstorm hit mid-bite of my egg salad sandwich. It was actually somewhat welcome, as most of our fingers were about to fall off because it was so cold. We quickly wrapped everything up, hopped back on the bus, and braved the blizzard back to school! The second half of lunch was eaten at our desks while the students worked on their new Grand Caverns coloring books.

When the bell rang at 2:20, I hugged my kids goodbye, wished them a Happy Thanksgiving, and downed a Diet Coke ASAP. I was exhausted! Field trips were just as I'd remembered them -- physically uncomfortable but the perfect way to get out of school for a day! Everyone was excited and the kids really enjoyed it. I won't go into the curriculum connection because, well, there isn't much of one, but promoting curiousity and exploration is really important for young students, many of whom do not have experiences like field trips outside of school. I drove out of school that day with an "I survived the 2nd grade Field Trip!" smile across my face and headed to the airport for my own much-needed Thanksgiving Break.

For more information on the Grand Caverns: