HOME SWEET HOME

We made it into our new digs! It’s been an exhausting last couple days, make that the last 3 weeks since this adventure started! From purging & selling all my stuff to purchasing new space appropriate items, planning out my layout and actually moving in, its been a whirlwind! I am so happy with everything though. I’m already unpacked and 90% decorated. I’m going to just live here a few weeks and see what other decor/art I think I need.

Mia is adjusting, slowly but surely. This place is A LOT different than our Uptown gem. The community spaces & amenities are absolutely amazing and beautiful! All the artwork in the building is by local Minneapolis artists, which is really cool. They went the extra mile on everything.

I am going to leave you with a picture tour this week. No words are even needed as the pictures definitely speak volumes!

And finally, my view. WOW.

LIFE LATELY

It has been a whirlwind the last couple weeks around here.

It all started two weeks ago when I decided to go tour a new place in Northeast, Minneapolis. It’s technically more Saint Anthony East but also in the new’ish NE area that people think of when you say NE. It is a new high-rise building which is something I have always wanted to live in for some reason. So I randomly decided to go tour it and of course, I fell in LOVE. I saw lots of floor plans and was hoping one floor plan would speak to me clearly so I wouldn’t have to make a decision, and literally ONLY ONE did! YES! It’s a studio but has a good spacious layout, huge closet, washer/dryer, and the view of a lifetime. I can see a panoramic view of Minneapolis from my window. It’s amazing. The building has ALL the amenities you could ever need too. I opted for the middle of the building. I felt a tad woozy when I went and toured a unit towards the top. They told me you can definitely feel the wind/swaying/movement up there, even on the 5th floor they have felt it! YIKES. I put in an app right then & there and was approved the following week. I had less than a month to get my current place rented out, sell almost all my belongings to fit in a studio, purchase new smaller items and pack everything. I am a major organizer if you don’t know that about me already. So I, of course, made spreadsheets on spreadsheets to keep track of all of this and plan out how I am going to get it all done. If anyone could do this insane plan, it was me. I thrive in stressful, busy situations. I am a multitasker by nature and I get these visions and can just run with them. I planned to start with a massive purge of my current place, then start selling items/purchasing new smaller ones and finally pack the last 1.5 weeks. I love purging so that was not hard for me – I always feel great when I whittle down my “stuff” and my goal is to live a more minimalistic lifestyle anyway. My sister Jessie usually benefits from these purges the most, especially in the clothes department. I have completed the purge, sold a TON of items (like all I have left is my bed, furniture wise), purchased all my new items and just have packing left which I am starting this weekend. I have been really happy in my GEM in Uptown for 5 years but it is time to move on. I feel like I’ve outgrown the people, neighborhood, and vibe there. I am looking forward to a new adventure in a new neighborhood. I am all about embracing change and those who know me, know that I am not afraid to make some drastic changes! The river is 2 blocks away, so many restaurants & stores right below me, the beautiful Stone Arch bridge is right there, and I am still super close to Downtown. The commute is surprisingly the exact amount of miles to my new job in St. Paul as it was from my Uptown place. I will for sure take some pics once I am moved in and do a post about it all.

I also started my new job and have been in the newness phase of that every day. I have caught on quickly and feel caught up & comfortable with all the new systems by now. This has been a breath of fresh air for me. I absolutely love going to work every day and everything I do comes naturally to me so it doesn’t even feel like work to me. I love the silence of working by myself. I am a true introvert and could seriously survive on an island alone. My new role is really unique because I am the only one of my kind. I don’t necessarily have a team or anyone else to compare things to. But I LOVE that and I THRIVE in roles like that. I am self-sufficient and take initiative on my own. My new role is super flexible too which is so nice. I have not once gotten the Sunday scaries @ the new job, which is awesome. The company itself is unlike anywhere I have ever worked. People truly and genuinely LOVE working there. It’s really awesome to be surrounded by positive people who believe in the same things. I am trusted in my position and I have the freedom to do what I think is best. That’s something that was lacking in my teaching position.

On the flip side of starting the new job, I officially separated from my teaching job too! EEEEKKK. I turned in the paperwork and notified my principal and staff. It was bittersweet, to say the least. I teared up a couple of times because it is really an emotional, bittersweet thing for me. I have deep ties to teaching and how it’s affected my life the last decade. I have not once regretted my decision though and know that I can always work with children in the future.

Finally, I had my big “one year mark” doctor appointment to check in on my cervix. I surprisingly only got anxious a few days before the appointment. I have come leaps and bounds since last year on this. I really have the mentality right now “it is what it is and God has a plan for me”. I had a glimmer of hope that things would check out normal and this nightmare would be over. I didn’t even have a bad gut intuition feeling, which I usually do, so I thought that meant it was going to be good news. Long story short, it was NOT good news. But also not completely horrible news either. It’s not over as I had hoped. I have to move forward with another colposcopy and biopsies in September. If those biopsies come back clean then I would be in the clear until next summer. If those biopsies show any kind of CIN, then I get another LEEP surgery, which would SUCK. We are also hoping that if there is anything visible that it has continued to stay OUTSIDE of my cervix and not creep inward as that would not be good and would need a different treatment approach. They have agreed to give me Valium before this next appointment and also lidocaine which worked so well for my LEEP last year. I was sad for sure the day I got the call on this. I felt really defeated. But ultimately I know I will be okay. It sucks, it really does, but it could be worse. I will survive and each time I go through something like this I am one step closer to getting this nasty stuff out of my body. I have hope that when they do the biopsies they come back clean and show that my body is producing good healthy cancer-free cells. As of now, we have the appointment scheduled for mid-September. My doctor is going on vacay and she felt comfortable waiting for that amount of time. I value her opinion and really do trust her judgment with this all so it was important to me to have her perform everything again.

So between all of those things and trying to have any other type of personal life, I have barely had any downtime but it’s okay. I am REALLY excited about my new job & moving. I know when I get settled in there in a couple of weeks it will all be worth it. All of these changes feel so right in my heart & soul and I really do believe the best is yet to come! Thank you all for your continued support of all my life changes.

A DECADE TO REMEMBER

A blurb from my latest IG post: “August ‘09 … I stepped into a school in North Minneapolis that would forever touch my heart & soul. It would make me who I am today. I was freshly 21 & determined to make an impact. I spent the next ten years doing some of the hardest work there is in this world. My time with MPS has been eye opening, rewarding & straight up challenging at times. I will never ever forget the students I was blessed to teach & the families I connected with. It’s been quite the journey filled with ups & downs but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am a better person for my time spent as a teacher. I truly believe that. These kids thought they needed me, when in reality I needed them just as much, if not more. But all good things must come to an end, only to make room for NEW GOOD THINGS!

This August I will not be stepping back into the classroom. I am ready to push myself out of my comfort zone. Nothing is meant to be forever and I am able to smile and appreciate my time as a teacher. I have started a brand new adventure as an Executive Assistant to the CEO of a MN Credit Union. The decision to make this transition was definitely not taken lightly. Over the last few YEARS I have found myself feeling burnt out in the education world and longing for something different. Any teachers reading this can probably attest to the fact that teaching literally sucks the life out of you. I have tried switching grade levels, schools, areas of the district, and even roles, only to come to the same conclusion: teaching is not fulfilling me like it used to.

That is really hard for me to say out loud and come to terms with. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was about 3 years old. I went to college for this career. I clawed my way through my first three years to get tenured in MPS. I made a name for myself and survived 7 of my 10 years in the toughest area of the city/state, North Minneapolis. I poured my soul into kids who had no one else. I went above and beyond to be there for my students. I took them to get dinner. Bought them clothes and basic need necessities. Would send home food on Fridays to the ones who wouldn’t eat over the weekend. Gave them their only Christmas presents they would receive. Hauled them to football practices and games. Raised money to furnish new apartments after they got out of the shelter. Made home visits and sat on their couches so they would see me in their home and know my love for them was real and raw. Went door knocking in debris after a tornado ripped through North Minneapolis to make sure my students were alive. Had to explain to a kindergarten student why his mom hid drugs in his cubby that day because she knew the police were raiding the house that morning. Spent countless nights crying & worrying for some of them who had such shitty situations at such young ages. Called CPS and fought for their safety when no one else would advocate for them. Endured verbal and physical abuse several times, by students as well as parents. Picked up glass on my hands and knees early before my students got there one year when my classroom windows would get smashed out every weekend. Listened to horror stories from students about what they have seen in their short lives. Consoled a student who stood by a dead body at the bus stop that morning on her way to school. Had my own car damaged in the school parking lot. Had coworkers held at gunpoint while leaving school. Lied down on the pavement out at buses as a drive by shooting took place 50 feet in front of me. Had a convicted rapist corner me in my classroom on a record keeping day. Picked up used heroin needles in my kindergarten bathroom after a weekend the building had been unlocked. Had students confide some deep dark horrible secrets to me. I’ve seen the injustices of America’s education system up close & personal. Witnessed the blatant racism that still exists in our schools & communities day in and day out. I could literally go on and on people … but one thing has remained the same despite all of those insane tales … my love for the kids. An unconditional love. An unconditional love that went BOTH ways. I honestly would not be the person I am today without my interactions with these kids. I have crossed paths with hundreds of students the last 10 years. They will never know what they did for me. I cannot even begin to tell you how I relied on them when my own life was quite literally a fucking mess. One thing I will never forget is the generosity and kindness of their little souls. They would have nothing and would somehow find a way to give. That makes me cry to even type. They were so selfless. I will miss their funny sayings, little notes and pictures, kind compliments and seeing their resilience shine every day. That was inspiring enough to keep me going.

In addition to dealing with those stories above, which really were my typical week stories, I was being pushed by district officials and school administration to be better, to do more, to learn more, to somehow change the fate of my students, to get the test scores they wanted to see, etc. It is an impossible battle. Each summer I would teach summer school and try to recharge during my TWO WEEKS off. I tried to heal my wounds I had endured the previous school year and muster up the strength and courage to go back for another year. I also had to deal with my own life. It’s a juggling act that I really don’t think is feasible nor healthy. Teaching is downright HARD. It left me feeling drained emotionally, physically and mentally every single day. Anyone who thinks it’s “easy” or glamorous needs a reality check. My schools had lead in the pipes, no AC, no heat in my room for 3 years, mold in the ventilation system and constant rodent issues. Not ideal working or learning conditions by any means. I could go on another rant about the education system & it’s socioeconomic discrimination. We’ll save that for another day. 

These battles were things that they didn’t teach me in college. I had to navigate this new world on my own. I am proud of myself for sticking with it for so long. But there comes a point when teachers need to think about their own needs first. I knew that I was at a crossroads three years ago. I either needed to get the hell out of teaching or at least switch to a different area of the district. At the time, the right thing for me was to switch schools and areas of Minneapolis. I switched to a school in South Minneapolis. The last three years have simmered down tremendously from my days over North but I still felt that void, the hole in my soul. I wondered what else was out there and what else I could do.

It’s really scary to leave everything you know and take a leap of faith into something entirely new, but an opportunity arose and I had to try. I owed myself that much. I told myself that if it was meant to be it would work out and that it did! I have previous experience from while I was in college and even high school that I know will help me in my new role. I am excited and feel refreshed. I truly feel like this is my time to shine in something new.

A new decade filled with new healthy adventures.