Monday, August 31, 2009

Old Time Domesticity-- or, Despite What My Sister Thinks, I'm Not Really a Granny

There's something about Tennessee that feels... crafty.

I don't know how to explain it, really. But I've been much more inspired to do crafts since I've been here. I think part of it is that it's much more of the culture. Many people who crochet/ knit here do it because their grandmother or mother taught them... it's a passed down thing. Our first week here, there was a quilting expo at the convention center. For me, I was just interested (mostly because I liked wearing hats) so I got a book from the library. I love my mom, but she does not crochet.
I think another part of it is the scenery. The homes just look more... well, homey. They have big back yards, porches, and rocking chairs out front (yes, really). They're cute, brick houses with chimneys and flower gardens. Something about the look of a really adorable house makes me want to make something.
And... I'm finally not busy. I guess I'm working 40 hours a week, like I have for the last few years of my life, besides school. But for once... I'm not planning a wedding, I'm not dating someone long distance, I'm not managing a move, I'm not helping a husband apply to grad schools, and I'm not busy with family and friend obligations. I don't really have much to do. It is so nice!

So, this month, I've crocheted a hat and some mittens. That's unusual for me... I usually don't like crocheting in the summer because it just feels wrong. I'm itching to go onto other crafts... I would really like to learn knitting... and one of my life goals is to make a quilt (for which I will have to learn sewing). I'm even starting to think a bit about basic interior design (aka, making our apartment not look horrible).

Anyways, this is all to say that I did something awesomely FUN last week. I went to a crocheting circle! It was Scott's idea. How did I never think of this before?? I've been a bit lonely out here, especially since he started school. I mean, we know no one and we don't have a home church yet. There are 4 other people that work at my workplace, and I don't really hit it off well with any of them. We haven't really met too many neighbors. And now Scott has school friends. I was feeling a bit despairing about meeting people... since I'm not great at it, and it takes me a while to find friends. But Scott suggesting looking for other crafty people.

I looked online, and there is a group that meets up in Knoxville to crochet and knit! How cool. I went to a meeting last week. There were six of us, and we just sat in a coffee shop for 3 hours and chatted about craft stuff and life. They are my type of people, it seems. They meet once or twice a month, and they share craft ideas and advice. It's not a group of old grannies either... I might have been the youngest, but most of us were in our twenties.

So I am very very excited to go back. I can't go to the next one since it's on the day of the UCLA/ UT football game and we are definitely going to that. But I will definitely go back soon. After all, if I'm going to act like and old granny and sit around and crochet, I might as well make some cool friends while I do it!

Now I just need to find some friends who like to bake and eat ice cream and run :-)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Update

Please excuse the recent absence, but I am back... hopefully more permanently this time. I know every blogger has their excuses, but I'm going to go ahead and say that two weeks including me starting work, Scott starting classes and teaching, me coming down with the plague/ losing my voice due to germy two-year-olds, and passing such onto Scott would qualify me for an excuse. :-) Maybe.

We are still liking Knoxville. Ok, Scott is liking Knoxville and I am LOVING Knoxville. I tell Scott at least twice a week that I like Knoxville.

I started work. I am so thankful to have a job. I also pray that I don't spend the rest of my life working preschool, that God willing I am blessed to teach older children some day. Preschoolers are exhausting. I mean, for anyone who has ever had ONE two-year-old to deal with... imagine seven of them. In a little tiny room. For most of a day. Most of them have just turned two, so they are old enough to have definite opinions about everything, but young enough to need help with most everything. We've been doing a lot of coloring, playing with cars, having story time on the circle carpet, and playing on the jungle gym outside. Some of the children are very challenging, some of them are very cute, and they are all very active.

We are settling well into a routine. I work 7:30 to 3:30, right over by UT (about 6 miles away). We drive over and park at the church in the morning, and Scott heads to campus. He works on homework when he's not in class, and he's usually done by 4:30 or 5, when we head back home. The commute isn't really that bad... it's on the main street (other than the interstate) between West Knoxville and downtown. In the morning, there are no cars on the road! It's a very welcome break from LA and San Diego morning rush.

I will write more soon about why I love it so much here and how much I hope we'll get some visitors some day so we can show them the awesomeness of Tennessee... but it's bedtime. The morning comes early around these parts.

And yes... I do have a slight drawl now.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Even Greater Provision

First news first: SCOTT GOT A TA-SHIP!! I'll let him tell you more about it later... but we have been praying for this for months. UT accepts more grad students than they have TA-ships for, which means some students are left paying for grad school while trying to be a full-time student. Which is a very difficult situation. We took out loans and we were all ready for it... but God provided at the last moment. I mean... he starts orientation on Monday, they couldn't have waited much longer!

I just know he will be the best TA in the world. He's a fantastic teacher and makes things really interesting. And I think he will enjoy teaching a lot! So this is wonderful wonderful news. We are both marveling at the provision we've received in the last three days. Now we can even buy some furniture!

I got to meet the little pip-squeaks today. Sometimes it really is amazing how little two-year-olds are. I was there for three hours, just hanging out while the teacher did her thing. I will do the same thing all day tomorrow, and then on Monday she moves up to the threes class and I have my own classroom for the first time.

On one hand, I feel so unprepared. I've never studied how to do this, I've never made a lesson plan in my life, and I don't have good ideas of fun activities to do with pre-schoolers. But on the other hand, I know that if I love them, that will impact them more than a really well-executed ABC lesson. I am excited to love these seven little children... 3 of them that I've met, and 4 who will be new with me. I'm already wracking my brain for ways to show them love and teach them well. I'm sure it will be a huge learning curve, but it will be so exciting!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A job, a mattress, and lots of rain

We are still alive!

And we have our own apartment. I guess I have been so excited about it that I haven't posted here in a while. We moved into our apartment 12 days ago. It's a great little apartment. You know, you worry that your first night in a new place, you will realize all of the terrible things about it and you'll regret your decision. Like neighbors upstairs who clomp around all night, or terrible water pressure, or cricket infestations, or something. Well, we are still loving this place. So far, it is perfect for us! (And I'm sure if I told some of you SoCal people our rent, you would fall out of your chair! It is a third of what we paid in LA) Unfortunately, we are still very unfurnished. We are building up furniture slowly as our finances become more stable. Our first week here was spent sleeping on our camping mattresses, which were SO much better than the floor, but still not the same as a bed. Well, we bought a mattress and box spring, so at least that is taken care of. It feels luxurious! We'd still like a table and chairs, couch, bookshelves, and desk at some point. But we're waiting at least a bit on those. Oh, the adventures of being young and poor.

BUT, there are two fantastic things.
One: a kitchen. In our last place the kitchen was pretty dirty, and it wasn't really ours, and we were on a super budget. So it was sandwiches for lunch and pasta for dinner, every day. It seems like such a small thing to complain about, because many people in the world would be delighted with that much... but for me it was very hard. I love to cook and to eat, hahaha. I think we were both cranky because we weren't eating very well. But now I have my OWN kitchen, with big cabinets and counter space. Our grocery budget still isn't luxurious, but it's enough to eat decently and even to eke out some homemade sugar cookies :-)

Two: a mall. This might be the ruin of me (or maybe of Scott haha). We are on the very end of the complex. Thirty seconds from our back door is a path through the grass and the trees, and at the end of that path is a gate leading into a parking lot. And in that shopping complex is an AC Moore (exactly like Michaels... lots of yarn!), a Borders, a teacher's supply store, an Off Broadway Shoes, a Bed Bath and Beyond, and a grocery store. Which is pretty much the only stores I need in life. Throw in H&M and I'd never leave. But in all seriousness, it is soo nice having a major grocery store a 4 minute walk away! Plus, right on the other side of that is a big indoor mall with a movie theater and lots of clothes stores. See, we don't live in the boonies!

In other news, Knoxville is very rainy. Locals say this is very unusual. Average rainfall for August is 2.9 inches... I feel like we've had that each week since we've been here. But it's let up on the weekends for us, which has let us have great adventures!

Let's see... any other news? Hmmm... I'm not sure... what am I forgetting.... oh yeah! A JOB!!! I have been applying to jobs since before we even moved out here, and now I have one. For a while when we moved out here I was applying to anything I was remotely qualified for, and I was starting to apply to retail stores and such. Which would be fine, but it wasn't really what I wanted to do. I had a talk with Scott, and we decided that I really should be concentrating on applying to schools. My dream is to teach elementary school. While I knew that I probably couldn't get a job in an elementary school this year, any school experience would be good. So I concentrated my efforts on that. And lo and behold, I am now a teacher. I will start Monday and have my own classroom of seven little two-year-old kiddies. I'll be with them for eight hours a day. I'll teach lessons, Bible stories, art, potty-training, and more. I think the most exciting part is after being the newest teacher in a classroom with SEVEN teachers at my old school, I'll get to run the classroom this time. It will be my first real experience with it, so I'll get to see how I like it. I am very excited about it. It seems like God just wants me to be reallllllly good with two-year-olds. They're a fun age :-)

I think that's about all the news for now. We are off to dinner to celebrate employment!