Getting married in the spring of '99 really helped; at that point all I wanted to do was finish something, anything, and have that accomplishment. I didn't want to drop out and have all that time and money be a waste, and I was concerned about having something that could potentially get me a nice job if I needed it.
If I wanted it.
See, even though music has always been my passion, teaching music never was. But, heavily influenced by my family and friends, it was what I studied in college anyway. And I guess, to me it was more about filling the need, the primal desire to sing, that kept me in the program. Singing was all I ever wanted to do, and I took the opportunity to do it in the only capacity I felt I could.
And all of this is not to say that I never enjoyed teaching - my student teaching experience was really fun and I did enjoy it immensely. But I never had an excitement about it unless I was right there in the thick of it. I didn't want to do it if I didn't have too. Of course, the hours didn't help either - have I mentioned before that I am not a morning or a scheduled person?? Yeah, that was a HUGE disadvantage to teaching.
So anyway, in the fall of '99 I received my degree and since it was technically in the middle of the school year, I decided to take some grad classes (what was I thinking???) and substitute teach until I could apply for full time school positions in the spring.
Because that is what you do when you acquire a teaching degree, you teach. Right?
Hubby and I sort of had a desire to move to Austin. If we had to stay in Texas it was the only place we could really see us living, so I started researching school districts in that area. I was told by several people that the Round Rock school district was one of the best, and from what I could tell the pay scale was slightly higher than the other districts. It seemed like fate when that spring an elementary school music teacher position in a Round Rock school opened up, so I sent in my little, pathetic, blank resume. When they called me in for an interview, I put on my most teacherly attire and drove the 3+ hours from Huntsville to Austin. I pulled into the parking lot of a school I had never been too, in a city I had only dreamt about and sat in my car for a few moments to collect my thoughts. A teaching job wasn't really what I wanted, but it made sense and it would provide us with some security so it was the most logical choice. I loved working with the elementary aged kids when I did my student teaching and I felt that level best fit my personality and inexperience. So I went in to the school, totally aced the interview (they LOVED me) and then I came back to my car. I sat in the space and stared at the wood fence that lined the parking lot. It was done. Either they would offer me the job or they wouldn't. I prayed for God's will and drove back to Huntsville.
A few days later they offered me the position.
I had the weekend to think it over and make a decision, so Hubby and I once again drove to Austin to look for housing. This was way before the internet made shopping on line for housing easy, so we had to make the long drive. We spent all day Saturday looking at dumpy apartment after dumpy apartment and then drove back on Sunday looking at dumpy house after dumpy house. We returned to Huntsville Sunday night exhausted and weary. There just wasn't anything that we could afford on a teacher's salary. We couldn't take into account Hubby's potential salary because we weren't even sure he could find a job right away.
Even back then we were practical. Sort of.
So on Monday when the school called me back for an answer, I turned them down. Something about it was so easy, and yet I knew that that decision would change the trajectory of my life forever. I never went into public school teaching, and instead Hubby and I uprooted everything we knew and moved to Arizona the next summer to start a totally new life together.
I haven't thought about that school or that decision in years. I couldn't even remember the name of the school or where it was. And in my mind, it was almost as if the whole thing was a dream. It really didn't even exist in that "former" life of mine. So much has changed since then.
Last night, I pulled into the parking lot of an elementary school in Austin. I was there to judge an art competition for the students participating in the Reflections Art Program. I pulled in a parking space and looked up at a wooden fence surrounding the lot.
I was at the same school, in the same parking space that I sat in almost 11 years ago.
Life is a wonderfully mysterious, amazing thing.