It's on the way to Santa Fe

In the middle of my move to Monterey, I had to take a trip to Albuquerque. Its an annual retreat that I take, and I haven't missed it for nine years despite living in Africa, the Caribbean, and Japan during that time.

This year's trip was another short one, just 36 hours to see a little bit more of the city, attend the meeting, and then fly back to LA. I mostly hung out around the University of New Mexico, pretending to be a college student by sitting around reading my book, listening to the water trickle from the fountain, and peruse the people passing by. Passing for a local is a fun way to really get to know a city that you're visiting for a short time. Just ask Rick Steves, he's the expert!

As for Albuquerque's local flavors, I got my fill of sopapillas (lightly fried flour tortillas with a pocket to squeeze honey in) and other New Mexican culinary delights. Over dinners at Garduno's and breakfasts at Waffle House, I caught up with the other attendees of the retreat that I usually only see once a year, but keep in touch with during the rest of it.

The sky seems so much bigger here, with space for the cumulonimbus clouds that threaten but do not thrill with rain. The earthy adobe architecture recalls a simpler way to live (albeit Albuquerque is one of USA's fastest growing metropolises) that helps me relax from bumping elbows with the upward ladder climbers of LA.

Well, once I came home from this trip, it was just two short days before I loaded the last of my belongings into a U-Haul trailer and made the 350 mile trek North to Salinas. That's another story for another blog. One to be updated soon, I hope!


Destination: Monterey

After a year of searching for a good fitting ESL-teaching job in Long Beach, I've had to face facts that the local school district isn't offering me just that. So I set my sights further afield in California. And I got a nice offer from a school district in Salinas, home of John Steinbeck and the nation's summer vegetables. So it made a good excuse for a road trip. Just as soon as I finished an interview in West Covina, I drove straight up I-5 through the San Joaquin Valley and arrived in Monterey about 6 hours later.

I spent 3 lovely nights on cousin Jessica's couch cushions on the floor in her apartment, which happens to be the apartment we lived in together when I was studying at MIIS. Wednesday and Thursday were spent catching up with friends, talking to the career/alumni director at MIIS for job leads, and talking to some of those leads. My challenging experience at Constellation made me think twice about teaching middle school again, so I've been considering to teach at community college, adult school, or university levels. It was a good feeling to get some offers to teach at the MIIS ESL programs just by showing up. Woody Allen was right, 80% of success is just showing up.

Thursday afternoon was Jessica's birthday. We celebrated with her ornithology labmates at Lover's Cove in Pacific Grove. Jess was surprised and we all enjoyed the hot dogs and cake!

Friday I went over to Salinas to meet face-to-face with the assistant Principal at La Paz Middle School. They've been very enthusiastic about hiring me, so it was a good feeling to met her and get a tour of the school. There was a bit of a snafu with the district office with what position they could offer me, so I ened up going to another middle school in town that also had a position available. Both schools extended offers of great support and desire for me to work with them. This is 180ยบ from what Long Beach USD as given me with a year of subbing and cold shoulders in HR (with the exception of Constellation teachers who always had my back), so I left there in the afternoon with a smile of strong consideration towards how my life could change if I took the position.

Fast forward a week. I accepted La Paz's offer to teach ELD on Wednesday. Now I'm frantically trying to get packed and moved to Salinas/Monterey by next Tuesday. I have certainly accumulated a lot of stuff here in the past year (no fault of my own as my sister sent a lot of things out for me to keep the family legacy alive). Craig and I will sort it out on Sunday.

Sadly, though, I had to cancel my Jamaican vacation because school starts in Salinas on August 22. Well, hopefully I can go in December with 3 weeks of vacation. Nice! Next stop: Albuquerque, New Mexico!

Countries I have visited

Where I've been in the USA