Soft Eyes

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 13 2011

The Blog Before the Storm

Finally in the Delta, and even though I can’t think of much to say it would be a shame not to post a blog on Institute Eve, when everything’s been so built up. So just to take stock before I go to bed, I guess:

People in the Delta really are as sweet and gracious as I’d been told. This goes for people in the South generally (not that I think people in California, for example, are mean– they just don’t really go out of their way to engage with strangers the way that Southerners do), like the lady I spoke with briefly in an Alabama gas station this morning. As I passed her I told her in the quick, offhand way that I like to do when I see strangers with something I admire, that I liked her purse (It was zebra print with a giant blue leather bedazzled rosette in the middle. Ultimate purse). She took a second to figure out that I had been speaking to her and her “Oh, thanks” came as I had almost turned the corner. When I came BACK from the bathroom she stopped me to tell me the website it had come from and all of the different types of purses they had an oh hadn’t she seen one that would look just adorable with the skirt I was wearing and I must be careful out on the roads, now, ya hear? It’s that extra little bit of conversation you just wouldn’t get back home. Anyway, Delta folk couldn’t be sweeter or more hospitable (they had boy scouts helping us move in. BOY SCOUTS!), which I particularly appreciate when you hear about some regions where TFA’s, er, controversial nature means corps members aren’t really welcome at all. So I have no idea what’s going to come in the weeks ahead, but at least I know that I have the full support and well-wishes of Cleveland, Mississippi, and I’m super stoked for the fish fry on Friday.

I’ve seen more of the United States in the past few days than I have in my entire prior life combined, which is pretty awesome, and I’ve met a ton of people from loads of different backgrounds and even though it’s kind of the lame “what’s your major” question it’s been really interesting to hear what brought them all to apply for and eventually accept a commitment to TFA. The reasons are varied and mostly (but not always) noble, and no two are the same. I have something I want to say about that but I’m pretty exhausted right now and I have to get up EARLY. Checking out my summer school in the morning!

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