Monday, April 30, 2007

flying and my ears

I'm at home sick.

When I was little I had tubes in my ears twice, and I have a lot of scar tissue on my ears. Sometimes when I fly my ears ache so terribly that my eyes start watering and I get very plugged up. And it hurts TONS. This happened last night flying home. My ears stayed plugged, and even when I got home and got in bed, my left ear was still plugged.

Well, this morning I woke up with my entire left side of my face plugged. And I have gotten progressively worse throughout the day.

So, I skipped track practice, a job interview (wasn't really planning on working there), and even one of my last night classes.

But, we had an amazing time in Philadelphia. Now my focus is to just push through the next 6 weeks of school. I graduate in less that 2 weeks!!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Phili Tourists

Today we did the whole tourist-thing in Philadelphia. We went to Independence Hall, saw the Liberty Bell (through the glass-we decided not to wait through the long line), and went to an old Friends Meetinghouse.

We were planning on spending time with one of my old roommates from college, who recently moved to New Jersey. We have been emailing back and forth for a couple weeks, making plans. Apparently, our reference to spending time in the city, and her reference to spending time in the city, meant different things. We were calling each other back and forth today, making final plans before they were going to take off and meet us in the "city."

Suddenly, she called me back and said, "when you say the city, are you meaning New York?" This whole time we were planning, "the city" to her and her husband meant New York City, and we meant Philadelphia.

So, we were all very disappointed to realize that it would be unrealistic and expensive to try to get together after all.

So, Michael and I just spent the day walking around the city.

It's been a fun trip, though we are both exhausted. We came back here to our room, and Michael is totally out on the bed! It's only 8:30 (5:30 back e did find a Starbucks today. And had Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches. Yum!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Quakers and Coffee

I had a job interview today. It went really well. I am really excited to see what happens with this job. I know I need to look at other places, but I've been really excited about this school. I found a few other openings in the area right before we came out here, so when we get home I will keep searching.

The people here at the University have been great. They've been driving us everywhere (including to my interview and back), taking us to dinner (and paying for it), and have been extremely helpful and willing to answer questions and just get to know Michael and I.

We've had some funny experiences/conversations as we mention our affiliation with the Friends Church around here. Out here, everything is named Quaker. The first coffee shop we saw in the airport was called "Quaker Coffee." But, as many know, the Quakers out here are unprogrammed and not Christ-centered.

During my interview today, which is at a Christian school with a very strong spiritual emphasis, the principal noticed my home church was listed as "Newberg Friends Church." He asked me the name of the Christian camp I worked at (he went to college in the Northwest), and I said, "Twin Rocks Friends Camp." At this point he said, "I see you signed our Statement of Faith. Do you have any problems or concerns with it?" I realized he was extremely concerned with the Friends association, assuming that I was not a Christian. It ended up being a wonderful conversation in which I very clearly explained that I am a Christian, and that the Friends in the Northwest are much different than the ones he is familiar with.

We've had similar experiences with most of the people we've talked to, except one professor who had a really good understanding of Quaker-dom. It's been interesting having to explain and clarify as soon as we say "Friends" or "Quaker."

The other thing about this area: NO COFFEE SHOPS!

Actually, they do exist, but no one drinks it like in Oregon. Even the on-campus cafe didn't have any coffee options, not even plain old black coffee...on a college campus!! And we have been STRUGGLING, with the jet-lag and redeye flight. I asked some students and a professor where the closest coffee shop was to campus, and they had no clue. Amazing.

Tomorrow we are going into Philadelphia to do some site-seeing. First stop: Starbucks.

My First Phili Adventure

So, Michael and I are in Philadelphia. We have some good stories of the trip already, and we've only been here since Thursday morning.

We took a Redeye from Portland and arrived here at about 11 AM. We took the train from downtown Phili to the Seminary, where we are staying for the weekend. Public transportation is great, but it was expensive! For taking a short train ride, and having to switch once during the trip, we had to pay $20!! Crazy!

So, after we arrived to the University, we spent some time with an admissions director, ate some lunch, and then Michael and I split up. He went to attend one of the MBA classes, and I went on an adventure to get my fingerprints taken for my teaching license. (For my PA certificate I have to get a whole bunch of background checks, FBI Clearance, child abuse history clearance, and I had to get fingerprinted while I was here).

I had found the directions online, from the train station to the building. So, I set off. I was running a little late, so I found myself jogging to the station. I ended up on the wrong side, and had to run up and around, over a bridge, and back down, to get directly across to the correct side of the tracks.

I had no problem figuring out where I needed to get off the train. The directions seemed simple: Get off the train, walk up the road, cross road x, turn on road y, etc.

Well, as I started “walking up the road,” I realized none of the roads were the correct ones. I started walking by a college campus, (there are over 80 colleges in the area!!) and saw a woman in her 60s or so walking off campus. I asked her where Lancaster Avenue was located, and she told me I was on the opposite side of town. (We figured out that the terrible directions were written without knowing that there was only direction off the train, and thus I should have gone in the opposite direction off the train).

The woman offered to drive me to the building. So, I hopped in her car and we headed across town. We finally found the correct road (I NEVER would have found it by myself, and I needed to be there within the hour. Those directions were terrible!) and started looking for the address number. I saw the number, and decided to just jump out of her car. I thanked the woman for her kindness, hopped out, waited for the crazy traffic, and crossed the street. Apparently, without realizing it, the name of the road had changed, and I was at 950 Country Line instead of 950 Halverford.

So, I started walking again. I figured that if I just walked up the road it would turn into Halverford. After ten minutes I saw a mailman and asked him, and he sent me back the OTHER direction.

Eventually, the road changed and I was able to find the building I needed. I probably ended up walking for a total of 30 minutes. Not too bad, though I had thought it would be a 10-minute or less walk from the station.

At the fingerprinting place, I realized that I had forgotten my confirmation registration information. The short, spunky African-American woman told me no problem. I told her I was here from Oregon. She looked at me, confused, “Oregon, you mean like the state of Oregon? Girl, you came all the way over here for this?” She was hilarious. She told me if we hurried, no one would come check on us, and we were finished in less than ten minutes, though she kept looking over her shoulder to make sure no one was going to come in and “bust her” for letting me fingerprint without the right paperwork. (She did find me in the system, so I’m sure it was fine.)

As I was leaving I asked the woman at the front desk how to get back to the train station. There are two different lines that run through the area, the 100 and the R. I told her I needed the R-line, and she sent me down the street. After at least 20 minutes, I found the station, only to realize that it was the 100 after all.

By this time I was getting pretty tired of walking. Fortunately it wasn’t raining (yet) and I was really enjoying the walk: the trees and all the old brick and stone buildings around here are awesome!

I kept walking down the line. I figured that since I had clarified with the receptionist that I needed the R line, that maybe it was just a bit further down the way. I also knew by now I was no where close to the station that I had gotten off at, and guessed that this must be the next one up. After some more time of walking I decided to ask for directions. I walked into a medical building and spoke with the receptionist. She said, “you’re walking?” Yup! Well, she gave me the directions, and sure enough it was to the next station up. It was a long walk past a couple more colleges (on College Street). But this was the most beautiful part of the whole walk. I finally made it to the train station, and realized the round trip ticket I had bought was a waste. Since I had walked all the way to the next station, I was in the same “zone” as my destination, and therefore didn’t need a ticket. Oh well.

It was a great day for a walk. I arrived back at the Seminary more than two hours after I had left. I spent less than 20 minutes on the train, 10 minutes fingerprinting, and the rest of the time walking. Not terrible, though I realized how out of shape I am!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Possible Job Lead?

I can't talk. Literally. My voice is gone. I've been having to whisper for the last few days. Yesterday I had to stay home from school, because I had no voice.

The only reason I went to school today is because I knew was going to be observed by the Principal this morning. And, that went really, really well!! He had nothing but positive things to say. I made a copy of his notes and brought them home to post on the fridge. :)

On another note: The job hunt continues. Michael has been emailing a contact person at Eastern University who we were also told may have advice about teaching jobs in the area. Well, after a few emails back and forth, he recommended a school that his kids attend. As I have been doing research, I have found that private and charter schools are a HUGE part of the school system in Pennsylvania. I had been focusing on the public school websites and job postings, and haven't had a clue where to start looking for private schools.

Well, after spending a lot of time browsing a ton of school websites, based on this contact's recommendation, I checked out the website of this Christian school, and they have TWO high school history positions. Not only that, but one of them is specifically for US history and Government, which is EXACTLY what I'm teaching right now.

On top of all that, I just had this real sense of peace as I looked at the website and the school details. Michael and I both have this sense of peace about this, whatever that is worth. I emailed the contact person and am hoping I may be able to meet with someone while we're in Philadelphia next week.

Another plus, this school is pretty close to Eastern, and is outside of Philadelphia.

So, if you think about it, please pray that God will continue to guide us/me in the job search.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Last night Michael and I hung out with some friends from college. It was refreshing to spend time with our young married Christian friends. We are blessed with some quality people in our lives.

It was fun for me too because half of us are teachers, so it was fun to talk about our experiences and just know that we're all sort of in the same boat. Three of us are in the job hunt mode as well.

There are definitely things that will be hard to leave from the Northwest, one of the biggest (besides family) is our connections with people that we really enjoy spending time with. Before all this Philadelphia business we were really looking forward to coming North to more of the Portland, Newberg, Tualatin area, since we have a lot of close friends up here.

But, we know that this is a sacrifice that we will have to make. And we will be prepared for that when and if the time comes.

Meanwhile, we plan to continue enjoying our friends and family.

And preparing our hearts for whatever is next.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The job hunt

I graduate in 31 Days!!

Today I had my Mid-Semester evaluation meeting with my University Supervisor and my 2 teachers at the high school. It'd say it went well. My teacher even said he wishes I'd be around to be in the job pool-a social studies position is opening at the school for next year-but knows I am focused on the possibility of moving to PA. I took that as a compliment. I feel like if we weren't leaving I would be OK finding a job somewhere, since that's the second place that has expressed direct interest in me.

On the other hand, I am worried about finding a job in Philadelphia. I've sent in applications, and kept a daily eye on the job postings (there are very few compared to Oregon), so we'll see.

One of the social studies jobs I found is at a high school in downtown Philadelphia, with a 90% African-American population. And we're talking inner-city kids. Much different from Salem, Oregon, to say the least.

Am I ready for that???

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I'm feeling restless.

I've been putting hours of time into working on job applications, resumes, essays, and letters of interest for schools in Pennsylvania. I'm addicted. Last night I even found myself looking at apartment rentals.

Michael and I are realizing that we're really ready for this change. We're excited, antsy, anxious.

The other day Michael asked me what would happen if he doesn't get in to school. We both decided we might just go regardless. We have already been financially investing (as well as time and energy) into this, and our mindset right now is that we are going for sure. When we fly out there at the end of the month we'll have an even better idea.

Teaching is going well. I'm getting observed next week by the Principal, who also happens to be my Principal from when I went to high school. I'm a little nervous about that.

Knowing that I graduate in a month makes me antsy, on top of the Pennsylvania stuff.

Michael and I are continuing to feel at peace about all this. We are excited for what God has in store for us.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


This week was the half-way point for the semester. It's flying by!

I graduate in a little over a month.

Michael and I have had a shift in our thinking/plans over the last two weeks. During Spring Break we finally had a chance to talk through our plans and hopes for the next couple years. We realized if Michael is going to go to Grad school, why wait another entire year?

So, we've been spending a lot of time looking into a school in Pennsylvania. Michael enrolled in three online classes (Pre-requisites for school), and turned in his two-weeks notice to one of his jobs on Friday! We are flying to Philadelphia at the end of the month to visit the school, meet with students, and check out the area. I'm hoping to maybe meet with some school districts, or at least get a better understanding of where to look for jobs. Fortunately, my Oregon teaching license transfers to Pennsylvania very nicely, it's mostly a matter of paper work and a fee.

If all goes as planned, we are looking to move to PA at the beginning of August, so Michael can attend Eastern University to earn his M.B.A. in international development. The 15-month program includes the last 3 months in another country.

We decided to take this month to really pray about our future, and have been praying every night. We are continuing to feel a lot of clarity about this, and are really excited to visit the school. We're hoping that will give us a definitive idea if Michael feels good about that school.

Meanwhile, we'll keep praying and see where God is leading...