Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 28 2010

Caroline in the Midwest

Sitting in oh-so-familiar Kalamazoo kitchen at Auntie’s house. Coffee in front of me, lunch plans 38 minutes away, stacks of teaching books looming in front of me.

I drove back to The Midwest (heh) on Sunday, Brittany in the passenger seat, both of us screaming to Rihanna’s entire album. Twice. It was a glorious day of driving, a monumental improvement from the drive to Mississippi in June. I will never leave for a long distance road trip alone at 6am again. Ever.

Everyone asked about culture shock when I got to the south. “Hard to get used to, eh?” And honestly I was so ready for foreign people, food, environments, that it wasn’t a huge transition. That and I was surrounded by people just like me 24 hours a day. It was the drive back up that made me realize just how different it is in Arkansas. When I started seeing cookie-cutter urban sprawl, huge strip malls where everything looks brand new (and everything that looks 5 years old is being remodeled), when I started seeing hills again… that’s when I realized just how different my new home is.

Driving back into Kalamazoo was frighteningly familiar. Honestly. Like the past six weeks did not happen, like I was about to start a new year at Western, like I was coming home. But it’s not the case. And now that I’ve been here three days there is more and more change. I don’t mind that I’ve moved to Arkansas because the majority of my friends have left, too: New York City, Portland, Detroit… we’ve left. We’ve grown up.

Every time I get down on myself for being scared of a new job, new state, new life, I remember how incredible it is that I’ve been given it. That I have the opportunity to have a salary, to move into a house, to keep learning, to have these life-changing things given to me. They are mine because I can handle them and I’m supposed to have them. They are mine because this is the next step in my life, Ms. Lampinen the 6th grade writing teacher, and if I don’t do everything in my power to make this amazing then I am the only one to be blamed.

3 Responses

  1. Theresa Smith

    Caroline–
    The young woman you’ve become and your zest for life are a true inspiration…to us all. I wish you well as you continue on your adventure. And….one day I will get that graduation present out to you (I’m just like Unc Tim, sorry). Take care. I love you. Aunt Theresa

  2. PKM

    Dude you are so awesome. If you were my 6th grade teacher I’d be president by now!! jk. But you ARE awesome. Kisses. PKM

  3. Auntie Sue

    You are amazing…

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