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So... Many... Changes...

I've been wanting to write a blog post for a couple days now, just to update on what's been happening in the Lives of Mark and Hillary since we moved up to the Twin Cities, but every time I thought I would actually sit down and do it, trying to decide what to write about was simply too overwhelming. So many things have happened, so many things have changed.

So, instead of trying to choose what to write about, I'm just going to make a list of all the changes. Maybe this will be therapeutic for me. I always say I love changes, and I'm always terribly excited for changes up until the day of. Then, the day of the Change that I've been anticipating for months, I feel kind of numb. I don't feel happy or sad that the Change is happening; it just is, and I'm just doing what I have to in order to get through it. Then the day after the Change, when unexpected challenges start to crop up, I turn into an emotionally volatile sniveling lunatic who is absolutely sure that life as she knows it is at an end. Ergo, it may be both informative for you and therapeutic for me to write down all the recent changes that have taken place in our lives.

In the list below, changes are numbered. Sub-changes are listed below each numbered change.


  1. Mark and I moved into my parents' basement.
    1. We now have to compromise with two middle-aged adults (one of whom is a fairly picky eater) and one teenager (who is definitely a picky eater) on what we eat for dinner. I want vegetarian, more vegetables, and all bread products to be whole wheat. My dad wants ground beef, fewer vegetables, and is actually now okay with most bread products being whole wheat. We haven't talked about other grains yet, like quinoa. My sister wants Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Doritos, and Cheez-Its. Thankfully, it seems so far like we can all be adults about this, except perhaps my sister who insists on being a strong-willed teenager, and heaven help us with that. 
    2. We now have Internet all the time. This sounds like a good thing, and in lots of ways it is, but I have to re-learn how to have Internet in my life and not feel the constant need to check my e-mail. I kind of seem to myself like a dog that's been starved regularly. When the dog finally does have food, it gorges itself. It has to re-learn to eat in moderation, trusting that the next meal really will appear. I just realized how very odd and somewhat disturbing those previous two sentences sound. However, since I can't think of another more appropriate simile off the top of my head, I'm not going to delete it. I'm just going to strike it out in deference to how strange it sounds.
    3. All of our stuff is in boxes. Except the books that are now airing out after their near miss with gasoline. Even in my parents' basement, the belongings we brought with us that we 'needed' for our time with them are still mostly in bins and boxes, as there's not really place to put them. (Did I really need to bring all those pairs shoes? I'm still not sure.)
  2. I went to a Teach For America hiring fair last Friday and Saturday.
    1. I got to meet many of the fellow corps members I will be working with over the next two years. That was a lot of fun except that due to a recent ovulation combined with stress, I have had a killer outbreak of acne. So I spent all of Thursday wishing it were socially acceptable to wear a paper bag over my head to meet fellow corps members and the school officials who would be interviewing me.
    2. I learned more about the achievement gap, particularly in Minnesota. Did you know that Minnesota ranks dead last in graduation rates for African-American, Native American and Hispanic students? We are failing our kids, and that's really depressing. What's even more depressing is that Minnesota kind of has this reputation of having really great schools. Apparently this is only true if you are wealthy and white. However, on the plus side, I left Friday's discussions feeling completely energized about education and oh-so glad that I'm committing my next two years to combating this totally unfair gap in achievement.
    3. I switched from planning on teaching English as a Second Language this fall to teaching general Elementary Education. Yep. I know what you're wondering: So, all those hours studying for the ESL Content MTLE test... do they mean nothing now? Yep, pretty much. Now I have to take a new MTLE test, the Elementary Education Content test. Surprisingly, I didn't start crying when I went online to register. In all honesty, though, the reason that I'm switching is the cost of obtaining the licensure. Over the next two years all the TFA corps members will be taking education classes through a university up here to get our teaching licenses. Because ESL teachers need to take not only general education classes but also linguistics and language acquisition classes, their degree costs more. Twice as much, in fact. After thinking very hard and praying about whether we thought we could/should scrimp and save over the next two years to pay for a $19,000 degree, we decided that it just wasn't worth it. Given our desire to adopt (and soon) combined with other financial obligations, the $19,000 is just plain too much. So, elementary education it is. But I'm not disappointed. I'm still very excited to teach!
  3. I gained new compassion for people with medical problems and little to no health insurance. I don't really even want to go into detail on this subject. We're still working things out, so the mere mention makes my blood pressure rise. But combining expensive COBRA insurance with an HSA that is entirely out-of-pocket until the deductible is reached with some PCOS-related medical issues that need attention is definitely teaching me to trust God with each dollar and making me more sympathetic to the plight of people with big medical needs.
  4. Mark and I pretty much took over errand-running and grocery shopping for my mom. That has been fun, but the way we use gasoline up here is a rude awakening after being in a small town. However, being near Goodwill, Savers, Plato's Closet, and Half-Price Books definitely will have its perks when we have an income again...
  5. We switched phone plans.
    1. Now we each have our own cell phone, which is nice. (Those phones were donated to us by Mark's sister and her husband. So we didn't even need to purchase new phones to start our new plan. Thankful, thankful, thankful!)
    2. We have some texting now, which is also nice.
    3. My phone is turquoise, which I love. 
  6. My parents have Netflix and my mom likes the same kind of movies I do. (We're both BBC junkies.) I don't know yet whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

I just reviewed this blog and realized it seems a bit long. But I was able to process some of the recent changes, so that's good! And you are now all caught up on our New Life in Minnesota. That's also good! If you leave a comment, I'll consider sending you payment for the therapy.

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