Sunday, December 2, 2012

A New Type of Travel

If you ever check my blog then you'll see that I have been a little M.I.A. lately. Life sometimes gets in the way of blogging, and life really got in the way of mine. Also, I haven't done any international traveling the last 2 years so there wasn't anything interesting to write about, or so I thought...

A conversation with a friend made me realize that even though I'm not physically traveling to another country, that doesn't mean I can't write about my travels through a doctoral program (maybe people want to know what that's like) or my journey to become a runner. So, I suppose that is what I'll turn my blog into now. And, of course, if I do travel I'll be sure to post about that too. I've done a lot of domestic travels since my South American 2010 trip and perhaps as time goes on I'll throw in an old post or two.

To start off today I'll give a simple update on my life. My life consists of three compartments, life as a teacher, a PhD student and a wannabe runner. I currently teach 6th grade U.S. History in Northern Virginia. I've been teaching for 5 years (although in schools for 8) and have been in 6th grade for 3 years. Middle schoolers are rough at times, but this year has been pretty good. I feel like I've hit my stride as a teacher and if I had students like I do this year every year I would say I love teaching, however that's not the case. Ever since my first year teaching I've wanted out. There's so many factors and reasons for it that I won't get into, but as a result, I ended up back in grad school (I got a masters in order to become a teacher, so thankfully that was done). Instead of getting a 2nd masters degree I figured I might as well go all the way! I'm in a weird place with teaching this year though.  I have great students this year and the summer schedule is pretty awesome (8 weeks vacation!) I'm having a hard time thinking about other jobs that would give me that time off (there are none). I'm sure once I get a bad group of kids again I'll be all over that job search!

My first year teaching was in 2008. I quickly realized this was not something I could see myself doing for 30 years so I researched doctoral programs at schools in the DC area and found one at GMU that I really liked. I was accepted into the PhD program in Education Policy and started in 2009. I took a full time course load while working full time (absolute craziness) for 4 years! Life kind of took a back seat to work, classes and homework. I still managed to get out there and have a good time (and travel a lot), but I was always so busy. Right now, I'm done with all my coursework and decided to take a semester off so I could focus on research and get ready for my dissertation. However, there's been a slight problem with that. Now I don't want to do it...yikes! I've lost my motivation and I've been struggling with that. I'll get back in the game here soon. I have to because the deadline for my work is approaching and I've worked too hard and spent too much money to give up now. I'll do a separate post just for that soon enough, but that's where I am in the program.

Finally, the last phase of my life at the moment is running. I will be posting later this week about what running means to me and why I'm into it, but for now here's a little blurb. I started running in March/April 2011 (I'm not sure exactly), with my friend Zoey. We would meet once a week and run on a treadmill. I sometimes would get out there and run on my own, but not much.  We decided we should train for a local 10k race in our area. When we looked it up we found out it was not that far away, May 28th!

May 28th also happens to be my birthday :) I felt like that was so soon, but I also remembered that I've ALWAYS admired people who run races and wanted to be like them and since I keep getting older if I didn't start then, when was I going to do it? We took the plunge and signed up for the race. We trained as best we could, but I know it wasn't the best plan.  My first race, I was almost last and I could care less.  It was awesome!  Not only was it my birthday (I turned 28 on May 28th), but after I crossed that line I had the best feeling ever. It was by far the best birthday I've ever had. I was hooked and knew there would be many more races to come. There is way more to this story, and like I said, another post is in order for that, but this is the 3rd compartment of my life. I've run several races since then and somehow managed to complete a Marathon this past October. The picture above is me at mile 20 of the Marine Corps Marathon. I was so happy I cried (what's with all the tears!) a little at the finish line! I still can't believe I was able to do that and I so look forward to the many races and accomplishments ahead of me. I've also found the most amazing support group (RFRC in the house) that has really helped me make some small, yet huge personal victories and I know that there will be plenty more where that came from.

Oh yes, I guess I should post a little about the love life since I am "The Single Girl." The picture to the left is of my special friend. I like it because it's mysterious and you can't quite get a good look at him. He's good to me and we have a good time.   He does cook some amazing food and I love that because I'm not a cook. I'll just leave it at that :)   For now, I have to say that life is pretty good.

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