Life here is definitely different than in New York. It's slower and almost idyllic in comparison. Wide open spaces, green spaces aplenty, green trees always in the background, mountains whichever direction you look, shiny deep blue water everywhere. It's yuppieland; more obviously middle-class and upper-middle-class and upper-class people walking in the market or driving their fancy cars on the clogged freeways. However, the materialism is here, but different and sometimes more subtle than New York. Cars and houses seem more important than designer duds and iPods.
These four days have passed quickly. I'm ashamed to say that a few times I've felt just plain bored. But I have to remember that that's the point of vacation--not to get stressed out with a million things to do, including going to work.
I did mark some papers, two sets of the nine. I only have three assignments to correct, which is much better than five. The dialogue is indeed improving. Monday's homework shows that most of the students are grasping the fact that each speaker gets a new paragraph. I'm expecting that Wednesday's and Thursday's homeworks will show that even more so.
Let's see. On Tuesday afternoon, I hung out with my dad and little sister. We drove up to see Snoqualmie Falls right before sunset, and then had dinner with a family friend. Wednesday, my dad showed me around the neighborhood he works in, West Seattle. We stopped for pretty pictures of the Seattle skyline and mountains (Olympics and Cascades). We have smog! Mt Rainier has been a mere shadow of its normal self these few days, and it breaks my heart. That mountain is a glorious beacon watching over the entire Seattle area, and to have it obscured by pollution is just plain depressing.
On Wednesday night, I visited someone I haven't seen in four and a half years. We'll call him the Freshman (ha, you know who you are :). I had a great time. More intelligent/intellectual conversation in one night than I've had in months and months. There was other, regular fun too. I like fun. The lack of frequent fun is one of my biggest problems in New York. Boo!
This morning I had lunch with my mom and two women that she's known for thirty years; they are part of a group that all taught at the same middle school and became friends outside school. They still meet several times a year to celebrate birthdays and holidays. Anyway, they were very eager and interested to hear about my experiences so far this year. Even though they couldn't relate to the urban setting, most of the things I'm going through are things that ALL teachers go through, regardless of the year or the area. Which I love, because they just get what I mean. Talking to friends my age who do other things, it's hard to convey exactly what my work/life is like. Because, let's face it, new teachers are new teachers. They're not regular people anymore; they are ridiculously stressed and overwhelmed with work and all kinds of other things. So older teachers completely understand all that without explanation.
My flight home to New York leaves at midnight tonight. I won't have to worry about a busy check-in, so I can get there at eleven and be just fine. That means I have a good five hours to chill out, watch tv, eat, and ignore the shitload of work I need to do by Monday.