Mississippi Teacher Corps

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Just my imagination running away with me

I'm one of the lucky few with a week long break in the middle of October. Flew back to New England yesterday, am staying with the folks and hopefully visiting my college later in the week. On the flight home, I sat next to a man who teaches middle school in one of the ritzy, techinally-public-but-who-are-we-kidding-it-may-as-well-be-private schools on the north shore of Chicago, who couldn't understand why I would actually want to teach in the kind of school I'm teaching in rather than a school like his, and kept on mentioning that his school would be a really great place for me to work (for the record: I'm not tempted in the least to move to Chicago and teach a bunch of rich kids). Over the past few months, I've had my moments of homesickness, but did a pretty good job of putting on the blinders and focusing on school, my reasons for being in Mississippi, and the wonderful people I've met down there. Coming home, though, all the feelings of homesickness I've managed to somewhat hold back come pouring out. I love New England. I was born and raised here, I went to college here, and it's in my blood. I look around the beautiful landscape and ask myself what I'm doing in Mississippi when I could have so easily stayed here.
I'm having strong emotional reactions to a lot of the little things I'm seeing when I come back home. Today, I went apple picking with my parents. It's the perfect activity to do on a fall day in New England, and it brought back lots of childhood memories. In my opinion, a New England fall is about the most beautiful thing in the world, and I found myself staring out the car window mesmorized by the red maples with their flaming leaves. Even the poison ivy looks beautiful in its fall colors. I went to the grocery store today, and thought about how nice it was to find all the foods I wanted so easily; no scrambling to find the vegetables I want or some hummus or some Stonyfield yogurt. At one point, I looked around at the crowd of people I was standing in and thought that it was nice not to be the only person in the crowd who was some kind of ambiguous, not black but not white, race. Little things.
I went through lots of my pictures from college today, and found an envelope full of nice personal notes that my teammates wrote me last year as part of my senior gift. Many of my college friends are still in this area, and I'll be seeing some of them this week. Having the kind of reactions I am being at home, I can only imagine how hard it will be to go back up to my college and see all the buildings, the trees, the spaces where so many of my formative experiences happened, and see all of my underclassmen friends whom I dearly miss, still living the life that is so distant from my recent experiences.
I ended up daydreaming a lot today about what I'll do when I'm done Teacher Corps. I think about it from time to time in Mississippi, and don't have a clear plan because I'm really living week-to-week right now and don't need to figure out anything that far in the future. Depending on the day, I might imagine myself staying in Mississippi for a while longer to teach, or going to all sorts of other places to teach, or leaving teaching and going to grad school, probably for public health. At any rate, I had lots of daydreams about living in New England today. I keep thinking of the Fountains of Wayne song "Peace and Love," "Sometimes I think I might just move to Vermont/Open up a bookstore or a vegan restaurant." I found myself talking to my parents about how maybe I'd like to teach in a poor, rural part of New England (found myself thinking of the Cider House Rules, somehow), or maybe the Boston Public Schools, or maybe (by my own admission, this one is much more of a pipe dream) become an organic farmer up here and grow all the vegetables and fruits that seem so hard to come by in Mississippi, where the chemicals that the crop dusters spray over the cotton fields make me wake up in the middle of the night wheezing. Maybe have some alpacas, too. Heck, during my nap today, I even dreamed about harvesting potatoes on the same organic farm where I worked when I was in middle school (huh, this must be why my students think I'm a hippie). My overly active imagination is running wild. I still haven't fully processed my thoughts about being here, and about what it will be like to go back to Mississippi in a week. In a way, I'm trying not to think too hard about it because I know it will be painful. In the meantime, I'm interested to see what else my imagination manages to cook up.
Now playing- Fountains of Wayne- Peace and Love


  • At 9:53 AM, Blogger EM said…

    Your blog makes me smile. I am from Mississippi and am now living in Clifton Park, NY, which is not technically New England, but I can be in Vermont in 20 minutes or less... Anyway, I miss Mississippi like I'm sure you miss NE. And I totally understand the grocery store thing - I can't get the jalapenos, grits, flour, cornmeal, ... that I like up here. Enjoy your visit home!


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