“In the Summertime”

So a recap of what I’ve been up to this summer, other than doing my professional development trainings, cooking, cleaning and organizing my apartment, hanging out with friends, watching Marvel superhero movies, BSG marathons, catching up on my American television and getting excited about the upcoming season of SOA:

hanging out at Miller, and actually going to Astros’ games, although not actually cheering for the hometeam:

C.J. Wilson's first MLB hit, a triple...lets see the antlers and claws

C.J. Wilson's first MLB hit, a triple...lets see the antlers and claws


“Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Opus 64”

I can’t believe that is has basically been half a year since I posted anything. Since then I’ve survived my first administration of TAKS as a teacher, taken and passed the dreaded PPR, completed my internship ( now I have to pay my fee for my certification and wait on my piece of paper to arrive stating that ‘I r a tichur,’ finished buying furniture for my apartment and signed a contract for next year.

Life has been a blur but I can’t say anything other than I’ve been vey blessed even when things weren’t the greatest. Like the 5 year turnover of friends, cultural frustrations, learning ugly truths about myself, have the delight of starting over yet again, being reminded o my failings, etc. But yes the clichéd terms, I’m better for it.

I’ve been productive enough to have completed most of my summer to-do list which means I can attack the piles of books that I purchased during the school year and did not get around to reading until now. As well as experiment in the kitchen. And enjoy the beautiful nights listening to the Houston Symphony at Miller. ^^

“Jingle Bell Rock”

It’s weird because the last couple of years, with the exception of living in Slovakia, I’ve felt pretty disconnected from the Christmas holiday, I figured that it was because I wasn’t living in Christian-based countries. But it was a bit surprising to find that after seeing Christmas decorations being put up in October before Halloween and the “buying” season being stretched to last almost three months, I haven’t been too much into the spirit of Christmas.

So I thought that the best way to feel more in tune with the Christmas spirit would be to bake some cookies. So I made a plan to leave work as soon as possible and begin the mini-Christmas-baking-a-thon. I usually make chocolate chip cookies, Heath bars and Russian tea cakes, but this year I wanted to make something different, so I made dark chocolate brownies and chocolate kissed patties (with either mint truffles Hersey kisses or Cherry Hersey kisses).

I have to admit with my tree up and the smell of fresh baked cookies, as well as the fact that I have a half day [translation it’s possible that I could leave work at 2pm or as soon as my work is all done, whichever comes first] left before two weeks of no work and that friends are coming over on Saturday, all have picked me up a bit. ^^


It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged. By the time I’m home from teaching, I’m tired and I don’t particularly want to type any more or look at my computer, just food, a little news, a little TV, shower, some light reading and then straight to sleep. Since then some interesting articles:

One of the first court cases that helped pave the way for equality in America: which took place in Houston.

A commentary on Dez Bryant’s spending spree.

The Houston Ballet has a special event called the Nutcracker Market…call me interested. ^^

Another event, because let’s be honest Houston has great falls, perfect for walking and enjoying the evening.

The past couple of weeks I’ve been glued to my TV because this is finally the year that my childhood baseball team, the Texas Rangers, have a chance at winning the World Series. I cheered for the ‘stros, but the Rangers have always have a special place in my heart and to see them, especially with the personal back stories of the players and members of management, you have to root for them. Last night, the Rangers have finally made it for the first time in franchise history to the World Series by beating the team with best record and the defending world champs (and getting Alex Rodriguez as the last out was a bit of poetic justice – it was even better than plunking him hard for sabotaging the Rangers when he played for us so he could get more homers)!! One thing that I really liked to is that the team acknowledges one of their teammate’s struggles with alcohol and drugs, that they have been having ginger ale celebrations so that he can participate. The last two fan comments are the best in response to the Yankees’ plans to get Cliff Lee and a parody on the MasterCard commercials.

“Loose Rap”

Here are some random articles. I will a real blog entry up soon…promise…

Interesting houses in Japan…I like the one that has floor to ceiling bookshelves.

A very sad day for me…the closing of Angelika T.T

Fair Indigo, a fair trade and organic on-line company has some really nice things.

“What a Wonderful World”

The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of activity. I’ve been job-hunting since I’ve moved back to the States, but I’ve been full-on job searching since the end of June, when I finished Region 4’s ACP. I’ve gone through all of the jobless, unemployed emotions…sad, angry, depressed, frustrated, unhappy, etc.

I was doing my weekly search through, to be honest preferred, targeted school districts and I noticed that a school I had applied to earlier still had a vacancy. Which could mean, it was filled and no one bothered to update the page or quite possibly it wasn’t filled. So I called the school and to my happiness, the school secretary answered instead of the answering service, she told me that the position was still open, asked if I had already sent in my resume, I said she had, and she checked to make sure. While I had her on the phone I figured, what the heck, I should ask her if I have a chance, a serious chance, at being considered, since right now it’s an employers’ market and many principals are refusing to look at anyone who isn’t completely state certified. She looked at my resume and said that the principal would be very interested in looking at my resume. I thanked her and really thought nothing of it. Literally two hours later, she called me and asked if I was interested in coming in the next morning for an interview. I asked what time and said I’d see her at 9.

The next day, I had my interview with both the principal and the vice principal, and it went well, I mean it wasn’t too long before the principal was saying your classroom, your students, your partner-teacher, it’s like you’re reading my mind. At the end of the interview, she said that she had several more candidates to interview, and I would hear by the end of the week. I had a good feeling as I was walking out, but as much as I wanted it, I wasn’t confident to say that I had it. After lunch, I got the call, officially offering me the position, which of course I immediately said, ‘Yes!’

Then there was an HR snaffu that pretty much had me in tears. I received two e-mails rejecting me from two positions in the district, one was for an admin position that I hadn’t applied for and the other was a vaguely titled, teacher position. Thankfully it was resolved and the next morning I was in the admin building for new teacher orientation at 8:30am (somewhat late, having gotten the call at 7:30ish). Then I was weighed down with papers, packets, and forms, which is making a mess on my floor at the moment.

Today after the new teacher orientation, the new teachers, their mentors, and the principals had a nice lunch at Texas Instruments’ facilities as a community gift of sorts by the calculator king, where all the principals introduced their new staff and the mentors. I signed my contract in the afternoon and had my photo taken for my official faculty ID.  And spent some time arranged my classroom to be ready for the meet the teacher night on Thursday and then the new school year in a week and a half.

Oh yeah and I’m apartment hunting as we speak… I’m just enjoying my amazing fortune. ^^

Liberty Station

Now that I’ve completely and permanently moved back to Houston, I decided it was about time to get in touch with other RPCVs. Being a Peace Corps Volunteer was such an important part of my life but yet it’s hard to share with people who haven’t been a part of that experience. In some ways, it’s really only other RPCVs understand that experience or are even interested in it. My friend Lisa, is a member of both the official and the unofficial RPCV groups and added me to the lists. So about once a month the groups meet. Yesterday we met at Liberty Station, a bar that was converted from an old gas station. (It’s a bit hard to find, so keep your eyes peeled.)

It was a bit of an eventful evening. After dinner, I had to go through downtown to get to 45 to get to Liberty Station. Since I really haven’t driven in Houston for about four-five years, I have AT&T’s navigator system on my phone and depending on the signal strength sometimes is how fast it changes to the next step. At some point in time, I had to make a right and then an immediate left to get to 45. I made the right and then with my left blinker on changed lanes until I was in the left turning lane, all the while making sure that there was room for me to change lanes. I changed lanes in front of a Houston PD car, but there was more than enough space. Sat at the light and then turned left once the light turned green and there wasn’t an traffic, since it wasn’t a protected left turn. Immediately after the police officer turns, he flips his lights on. I freak out because I haven’t really gotten any tickets ever, I never had D-Hall in my life as a student, etc. So I pull over because maybe I’m in his way keeping him from responding to an emergency. But no it’s me he’s pulling over. I am mentally upset, but I’m actually pretty calm. The conversation when like this:

HPD: Do you know why I pulled you over?

Me: No I don’t. What did I do?

HPD: You made a left turn from the right lane.

Me: But I was in the right lane to turn.

HPD: Exactly, you were in the right lane and made a left had turn.

Me: No, I was in the turning lane, the left turning lane, when I made the turn.

HPD: Well, then, you kinda cut me off.

Me: I did? I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. I’m so sorry.

HPD: License and registration.

Me: I’m so sorry. I never meant to. I’m really sorry.

HPD: Did you hear me honk.

Me: Honk? No. I didn’t. I was lost and trying to find my way.

HPD: Registration. How many tickets have you had.

Me: None.

HPD: None? None? No accidents?

Me: No. No. I had one in college ten years ago.

HPD: What was it for?

Me: Speeding. Here’s all my insurance papers, which one is the one you need?

HPD: This one. *Looks at it and basically throws my drivers license and my insurance at me* Nevermind.

I sat stunned for a bit, then clarity come and I realized he couldn’t really give me a ticket because his original “reason” was not true and the real reason was a bit petty, especially with my driving history.

I eventually made it Liberty Station. It’s an eclectic place, a pretty big outdoor seating area, interesting paintings. The things that I was so impressed with were the seating areas are far enough apart that you can’t hear the tables near by, but close enough that their conversation “buzzes” in your ears and the music is a bit too loud, both make it a bit hard to hear the person next to you.

I’ve come to realize that I never really experienced the much talked about reverse culture shock of readjusting to life in America after being a PCV when I first returned, but I almost immediately left for Ireland, then I returned  for a month or two and then it was off to Slovakia, etc. So I’m experiencing a massive extended reverse culture shock and it’s a bit disorientating at times. Which means that I can get all kinds of advice from RPCVs that know what I’m going through.

Now if I could find a job…