Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome 2010!!

As I was thinking about what to write to summarize 2009, I also noticed it's the end of a decade! In some ways I've come a long way since January 1, 2000: graduating high school, going on a mission, getting two degrees; but in other ways it seems like I'm stuck in time. Oh well. I guess my next post will have to deal with the passing decade of the "'00's". On to 2010!

Like my previous post, it seems half the year was dominated by negative things while the latter half seemed to have enough positive things to give me a better feeling about the year and hopes heading into 2010. Much of what I mentioned in my heroes and villains list will be mentioned here as well.

I began the year worried sick about student teaching, which started at the end of January. In the end, I was able to pass and do well enough, though it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. There were too many days I had to completely force myself to go to school because I was completely unmotivated. It wasn't that I didn't like the students or being a teacher, but student teaching is all the stress of actual teaching, with the added stress of constant observation and feeling like you are being measured not by how good a teacher you are but how well you emulate the cooperating teacher and/or supervisor's methods. Added to that other coursework I was taking during student teaching as part of my master's degree and outside stresses, and I have concluded it was by the grace of God that I finished it. By the end I got more into a rhythm and as I said, I really enjoyed the students I worked with. But all in all, I'm glad it's OVER. It ended April 26. I'm glad I will never have to student teach again.

Left: Last day of student teaching at Southeast Middle School (April 24)
leading the 7th grade choir in warmups; Right: MAT poster presentations
with my good friends Mari and Erica (one of my 2009 Heroes!!) at the KSU
student center in May. I finished my poster amidst a mostly empty
house as this was just a few days before we moved.

2009 also began with our home being placed on the market by our mortgage company (GMAC who just got ANOTHER $3.8 billion in bailout assistance...GRRRRR) to avoid it going to foreclosure. So, while I was student teaching, when I was home, I occasionally had to deal with prospective buyers who wanted to tour the house. There were multiple times the real-estate company wanted us to leave a key for them. my home and everything in it to complete strangers. Riiiiiight. I had enough of a problem with it WHILE we were home. I think we had 3 or 4 in the three months it was on the market. We were told if it didn't sell in 90 days, then it would go into foreclosure and we'd be out sometime in the summer or early fall. As I blogged the day I found out, it was sold to our neighbors (who made my 2009 Villains list for this purchase!) for a fraction of what it was worth. Initially, GMAC wanted us out in like 2 weeks, but my dad was able to get us a month; and we needed every day of it.

Losing the house was more traumatic than I ever thought it would be. I secretly cried in the bathroom at my brother's apartment in Maryland the day I found out we were losing it. During the whole process I was rarely sad about it, but instead I was furious. I still find myself angry over the whole thing. Basically, the people affected most by everyone else's actions -- my mom, my sister, and myself -- had no say in anything and had the least amount of resources to do much else. It was frustrating to say the least. Thank goodness for family and friends who helped not only physically but mentally as well. Having a place that I considered mine ripped away from me was very difficult. I still find myself having dreams about being back there knowing it isn't ours but we still have stuff there and it's time to be gone and we still have so much to move. I haven't been back in our old neighborhood since we left May 14th and I don't know when or if I ever will go back. Something very personal and important was taken away from me and turned into something else.

Left: The house in happier days back in Spring '08; Right: The empty living
room one last time on May 14 right before we left

Having my graduation delayed until August was pretty rough too. I found out right as we were heading down the home stretch in moving and finishing student teaching. It was like my world was completely unraveling. I had already bought my robes and hood for commencement (which I never used) and had invited family to come. And then to find that everything that needed to be taken care of was little more than changing paperwork and could only be done by my absent-minded advisor (but of course the College of Ed claimed it was completely my fault) made it even worse. I finished my final project for my graduate class amidst a mostly empty house but still tons of stuff still needing to be packed and moved.

The good thing that came out of me not graduating was, of course, that Mom and I were able to attend Heather's graduation from medical school. That was a HUGE diversion from the stress we had just endured and was a welcome change of scenery even if it was just for a few days. My Spring Break trip down there was also a lot of fun and was a major highlight of the year. It came after several weeks of school and no major break (like 5 or 6 straight) so I was sooooo ready for it. I was able to make two more visits to Andy and Heather in '09, including a late-July trip to their new home in Nashville and a return trip with my sister Katie for Thanksgiving. Both trips were welcome breaks from the same-old-same-old here and a chance to relax.

Left: finishing off the extra frosting with Andy & Heather April 6...I would
find out the next day the house had been sold; Right: walking the streets of
Baltimore after Heather's graduation May 15.

Left: In front of the Parthenon in Nashville with Andy & Heather August 4;
Right: Thanksgiving at Andy & Heather's November 26.

Two of the biggest thrills for me this year were the shows I was able to be in: This is Kirtland! and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I knew coming into the year I wanted to do This is Kirtland! again, but Joseph, as I mentioned in a previous post, was something that just kind of fell into my lap. This is Kirtland! filled an important role as practices had just started not too long before we finished moving. Having rehearsal -- and later the performances -- was a wonderful distraction from what was going on here with moving and then unpacking and adjusting. Joseph proved to be a nice distraction, but not nearly as much mostly because I had already adjusted; it was more a help in dealing with not having a full-time job. But even then, both were things I enjoyed going to because I was doing what I love to do (perform) and I was around people in both casts that were easy to get along with and enjoyable to be around.

Left: Opening scene of This is Kirtland! as Sidney Rigdon;
Right: in my costume as Pharaoh with Amanda Davis (Narrator)
and Aaron Darr (Joseph) after the final performance of Joseph
December 20 at Weathervane Playhouse

Left: With Sarah Bailey (left), director of Joseph and Melanie YC Pepe,
producer of Joseph and director of the After School program for
Weathervane after the final show of Joseph December 20 after 2
shows and striking the set! WHEW!; Right: with the kids that played
my children in This is Kirtland! in front of the real Kirtland Temple July 24.

There were other wonderful events I was glad to be a part of this year, like my trip to Cleveland with Michelle to see Ohio State crush Toledo 38-0 at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 19 (my first OSU game since 1996) and the amazing ward Christmas Sacrament program just a few days ago where I was able to sing O Holy Night and direct the choir. Of course I also enjoyed having some time to explore Kent history both reading and getting tons of pictures. Not only was the weather fantastic this summer, but I actually had the time to do something about it. I also really enjoyed getting to sub in Kent this Fall and work in the Akron Public Schools through Weathervane as part of the district's Akron After School enrichment program teaching theater games for an hour 5 times a week. Not only did I get to meet some great teachers and administrators at the school I worked at and at Weathervane, but I also made some good friends who were working in the After School program and in Joseph (love ya Marie, Robyn, and Melanie!).

Left: Michelle and me at Cleveland Browns Stadium for the
Ohio State-Toledo game September 19; Right: me with Marie Smith
at Friendly's after the final Joseph show December 20. Marie worked
in the crew of Joseph and was also a teacher in the After School
program with me. We had a lot of fun swapping stories from
our schools and after a show at a certain Applebees ;)

Of course one of the biggest thrills for me this year was getting to finally be an uncle. It will only be surpassed when I finally become a dad. I was excited for my nephew Nathan to be born, but getting to meet him this Christmas was so wonderful. It made Christmas, which at times was less than thrilling, a little less boring. Like I blogged last year, Christmas isn't as magical as it used to be for a variety of reasons, but having a baby in my arms for much of it made it a little more magical (especially at my Ridinger grandparents' house where we basically watch the younger cousins open presents) even though he slept through pretty much all of Christmas at both places! I'm hoping to be able to go visit Utah at the end of March.

Some various pics of me with Nate while he was here in Kent. The middle
picture is me trying out his Christmas present before I gave it to him :D

Left: How Nate and I spent most of Christmas at Derbys in the morning and
then at Ridingers (center) that afternoon!! Right: An update of me and
my sibs, December 31.

1 comment:

Mickell Gehret said...

First of all, that picture of you and Katie on top...AWESOME! Second of all...little Nate is so stinking cute!