Things like this don’t happen to people like me.
That was what I thought as I hung up the phone Thursday evening. On the other line had been a Teach For America staff member, offering me a position as the Operations Associate and Assistant to the Executive Director.
Yes, folks, the “big news” I have been vaguely hinting about for the past month or so? The one where you
may have been probably have been annoyed and thinking SHUT UP AND SAY SOMETHING OR JUST DON’T OKAY JESUS? It’s that I have been applying for education positions throughout the nation. Including this one in Hawai’i.
So, long story short, you are likely correct in your assumption: I am moving to Honolulu in early May. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am.
When Shayna, the staff member who will also be managing me, told me, I was honestly speechless. Sometimes, I still am. It wasn’t an easy decision. As far as private corporations go, I currently work for a pretty solid one. I like the people I work with, the work is interesting enough, and, yes, the money you make in the private sector is…well…certainly different then what I made as a high school teacher.
As the past few months have worn on, though, some family and life things fell into place in a way that made me stop and think Wait, I could leave Los Angeles. Then, I started thinking about what I REALLY wanted to be doing in my life. Where was I going?
What’s next? is not only the title of this blog, but a question I try to ask myself as often as possible. While I’m young, I also know that life is short, and what I wanted was starting to become more and more clear. I like my job, but I’m not overwhelmingly excited about it. The people I was working with are nice, smart, funny, and dedicated… but I missed being really passionate and fired up about the work I was doing. The world needs change, education needs to be completely reformed, and I am young, excited and passionate about making that happen. So what am I doing to fix it?
I began poking around at what jumping back into the education sector might look like. After binging on cover letters and interviews (at one point I texted my beloved Stuti, “I didn’t think it was possible, but interviews have done it: I am so over talking about myself.”), I had some options. I was getting revved up. I had applied for and been excited about this position in Hawai’i, working with Teach For America, but after a week of waiting and not hearing, I assumed I was out of the running.
So you can imagine my surprise when Shayna, the Director of Talent, Strategy and Operations at TFA Hawai’i, started off our phone conversation with, “I’m really excited to chat with you this evening.”
This was not how I expected this conversation would go.
In a flurry of surprise and cautious (I had been talking myself out of this job for months, just to make myself feel better for not getting it), epic excitement, I talked through some of my thoughts about the offer with Shayna. I said I needed the weekend to decide: I had been offered another position here in Los Angeles, and was supposed to interview in San Francisco at the end of the month.
In what was an epic #firstworldproblem, I now had more than I was ready for, in the span of a few days. I immediately texted my family and close friends. I had shared with them that I had wanted this Hawaii job, but I had told them last week that I was likely not going to be moving to the islands. I needed some clarifying thought, and another set of eyes.
The first to call me was Jack.
Jack and I have been as functional in our break-up and transition into friendship as I think we were when we were together. We are (now) comfortable around each other. He’s dating a beautiful, equally-television-and-film-loving blonde from Boston, and I couldn’t be more happy for him and proud of all that he’s doing. I also have been epically happy to have someone back in my life that, frankly, probably knows me better than pretty much anyone in the world.
The minute I picked up the phone, there was silence. Then I said, “Oh. My. GOD.” Then, we just started laughing.
We talked. Knowing me as well as he does, Jack has become not only a great friend, but also an excellent thought-partner. We parsed through this decision. Then, he said something that really hit home.
“You know what we didn’t do after college?” he posited.
I knew immediately what he was going to say. “We didn’t adventure, did we?”
“No,” he admitted, “we didn’t adventure.”
With that, a huge smile crossed my face.
The more I spoke with people, the more the decision became clear. When else would I be in a place in my life where I could do this? Come Friday morning, I had made my choice. By Friday afternoon, I had emailed TFA Hawaii my acceptance, and shared the news with my close friends and family. The love immediately poured in.
I loved being a Teach For America corps member. Despite the struggles I had as a teacher, the jokes about our jargon, or the good-humored accusations about “drinking the Kool-aid” I got from others, I have always been so proud to be part of a movement I truly believe in. Every time I interacted with anyone interested in Teach For America, or even currently working in Teach For America, something always felt “right.” I felt like I was in my element, “like home,” (a similar feeling I had the first time I walked on the USC campus).
Now, as the opportunity presents itself for me to rejoin the Teach For America ohana (my welcome letter said this. The smile on my face when I read it was HUGE) as a staff member, I know what the right path is.
The fact that I get to rejoin and live in Hawai’i, one of my most beautiful places in the world that also happens to have family and friends in it? Just gravy on top of everything else (really epic, fantastic gravy though). I know I will be embarking on a huge, epic adventure: I will be moving out of Southern California for the first time in my life, and work at an organization I love, and do it in Honolulu.
I could not feel more blessed.
That’s been the guiding question, right? Well, I fly out of Los Angeles sometime between May 1-5. In the meantime, I have moved into a little pocket-of-a-room (with a private balcony, remember?) for the month. My 2-weeks notice is being given tomorrow. I am normally alternating between being so hyped I can barely speak, wrapped up sobbing in a blanket out of terror and anxiety at the thought of leaving my friends or, for the first time, living more than an hours-drive from my parents, and being blorft.
Anyway, let’s grab a drink (if you’re close by). Give me a hug. I will provide numerous opportunities to say goodbye to me, but all you have to do is shoot me an email or ask. While I can’t way to start on this new adventure, I am also immensely saddened to leave behind of the people I love. Of course, it’s never really goodbye. Aloha is both hello and goodbye, yes?
Anyway… let’s do this thing.