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Winter Vacation

written Wednesday, 12/28/2005

Winter vacation finally arrived. On Sunday morning, 12/18, I flew back to California for the first time since moving to Louisiana almost 7 months ago. I love the Golden State, where it never rains (except during the 8 days of my vacation), there’s a Toyota Prius on every block (and full two lots of Hummers within a mile of my mom’s house), and we were known as a national leader in education back during my school days (but let’s not discuss California’s current rank).

This visit reminded me of the wonderful friendships I formed in the recent years before moving to Louisiana. Throughout my visit, I spent almost every lunch and dinner with family, friends, and former coworkers who reminded me that I can always come back home. I enjoyed catching up with everyone else’s journeys, which include new homes, new marriages, new babies, and new career directions.

The question I heard most often was “So, do you like teaching?”

Honestly, no. Not yet, at least.

With every experienced teacher telling me that his/her first year was miserable, why would I expect to be any different? To judge whether this is the right career for me, I intend to give it at least a couple years. Nonetheless, I strolled through a couple of my old buildings at Lockheed to visit old acquaintances and make sure the doors are still open to me, just in case I find myself suddenly unemployed.

By moving away, I expected to gain appreciation for what I left back home more. Alas, how did I live in the south Bay Area for over two decades without taking more than a few trips up the peninsula to San Francisco? Like New Orleans, the city may be over-romanticized, but I should have taken more time to appreciate the hippie haven just 40 miles north. Thanks to the suggestion of cousin Sally, I finally dined at the acclaimed Millennium Restaurant, which is described as “upscale vegan” in my veg propaganda rag. Only one of those adjectives describes me, and many ingredients on the menu were apparently in some foreign language (pumpkin seed gremolata, sautéed trevisio, pineapple sambal, kamut tabouleh salad, Lacinato kale, etc.), but the dinner was excellent.

There were so many other highlights during my visit, but shoot, I don’t feel like writing much more. Now I’m back in Kenner. With only a few days left of vacation, I’m already dreading going back to work. The grades to the tests I gave before the break were terrible, and I don’t even know where to begin addressing the problems. There are still so many questions and procedural issues I need to resolve in my classroom. That’s one thing I miss about my old job at Lockheed: Work was rarely on my mind once I left the building. On the other hand, though, that’s part of the reason I realized that I wasn’t meant to be an engineer. Maybe all my current fretting is an indication of how much I really care about being effective in my new job. Once I become more experienced and confident in my new role, I will someday be able to relax and completely enjoy the vacations. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to keep the anxiety to a minimum during my days off.

Many thanks to all those back home who reminded me why I love California.

With friends from college
With mom & kids we met through Child Advocates
With lil' Mom & Grandma