Soft Eyes

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 08 2011


Since I’m at induction and have some rare time for myself I thought I’d try and sneak in quick blog, since that’s what I set out to do and all.

SO! Charlotte! TFA! This thing that’s been in my future since October is now my present. Travel headaches, money worries and oh-my-god-how-am-I-going-to-find-a-place-without-a-car concerns aside, I don’t have much to complain about. The city is beautiful, if intolerably hot, moist and hazy for my delicate Bay Area sensibilities. But I figure that’s the beauty of Institute in the Delta: it will be so sweltering and miserable that Charlotte will seem to have a delightful climate in comparison.

Everyone is really nice, most of them are also really intense. I mean, I guess that’s how you get into TFA. We’ve been talking a lot about the philosophical approach of the program, which is good I guess, but not very much about the practical stuff, which is what I’m much more interested in. I feel like after reading 600 pages of TFA material over the spring I GET the philosophical stuff, I really do. I appreciate that the staff here are not particularly pushy about the “party line,” at least not yet, and my understanding is that not all regions are like that.

I feel MUCH better about the whole thing today, though, than I did yesterday. After two days without sleep I was nodding off towards the end of our welcoming dinner/community panel–impressive, right? I’m lucky I didn’t wind up passing out into a plate full of pulled pork (which is prepared somewhat differently in North Carolina than the rest of the country apparently–the more you know!). By the time I got home I was almost hysterical– my anxiety about the weeks ahead, figuring out how to pay for everything and just plain old homesickness was made a thousand times worse by my lack of sleep and I freaked out over the phone at Mike. Six hours of sleep and two cups of coffee in the morning helped me get some perspective. Just “first day of camp syndrome,” as Mike called it. “By the time it’s over you won’t want to leave.” I’m not as sure about that second part, but I hope he’s right.

I am surprised, though, by my own homesickness after just two days. I thought I was a tough guy. Especially given the FIVE YEARS I spent lrd-ing it up with Mike. Marriage makes you soft, I guess. I also feel like kind of the odd duck out of my fellow corps members, but whatever. I’m sure the things that make me feel out of place here will help inform the kind of teach I become blah blah. I’m enjoying myself and looking forward to the weeks ahead, but I cannot wait for my husband and cat to catch up to me.

Heading out with my fellow inductees and some veteran TFA people to NoDa, Charlotte’s hippie arts district, for a poetry reading tonight. Not having a car out here is pretty wretched, so I’ll be glad to see more of the city. As of now I don’t really have any sense of it.

I’ll sign off with this little gem: I went to go get a sandwich in the dining hall yesterday and the lady behind the counter asked what kind of cheese I wanted. There was American and some sort of white cheese, so I asked what the latter was. “American.” Isn’t that the orange cheese? “They’re both American.” Ohh…

Clearly John C. Smith University’s students have a pretty refined palate when it comes to varieties of American cheese.

2 Responses

  1. mrs. ohlams

    I’m so glad you took the time to post this. I feel the exact same way, and after just two days here in the Delta miss my husband and the normal routine at home so much. I also feel like an odd duck and like I’m just at a different place than most people here. I’m just ready to get through this hurdle.

    • danismi

      Yaaay married corps members! We’re a rare breed.

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