I started this year in a new apartment by myself with the daunting task of student teaching ahead of me. It was my first time living alone and combined with the subject I was supposed to teach provided for an uncertain and insecure beginning to the year. I was teaching BCIS which is a computer class where students learn how to use Word, Excel, and Access. Seeing as I was far from a Word and Excel expert and had never used Access in my life you can understand why I was so nervous. Thankfully I was blessed with a fantastic Mentor teacher who could not have done more to help me be successful. She allowed me to learn at my own pace and was always in the nearby to help when I was stumped by a problem, which happened more than I care to admit. However, student teaching wasn't the only thing going on during this spring semester, we were also strongly encouraged to pass our certification tests and begin looking for jobs. It quickly became evident that the most prominent business jobs in education were mostly BCIS jobs and I've already mentioned how excited I was about that subject. Needless to say it was a stressful semester which was evidenced by the case of shingles that I contracted during that time. Meanwhile on the relationship front, while I was becoming more and more dependent upon G our relationship was being tried by various brain lapses on my part and uncertainty on hers.
When the semester finally came to an end I found myself still jobless and not quite sure where exactly I wanted to go. I was offered the youth intern job at Mid County and I must say I was very tempted to take it, but my dad in his wisdom talked me into staying in Abilene so as to be in a better position to find a job. It was an interesting summer as I felt alone at a crossroads. G was working in town as the medic at ACU camps but her job kept her very busy, not to mention our relationship at this point was very strained. I spent the summer staying up late, sleeping in late, bumming internet off my neighbors and applying for jobs online. I got a couple of interviews towards the end of the summer and they both went pretty well, but in the end I was beat out by candidates with more experience. It was disappointing and a shot to my confidence, but to be honest I wasn't sure that I was too upset about not getting those jobs. One was in San Antonio (where I know no one) and the other was in Round Rock (where I know a few people) and I wasn't sure I was ready to leave Abilene. See while G and I struggled through the summer I realized more and more how much I cared for her and the things I needed to change became clear to me. But, as happens so often in life, it was too late. She had already checked out of the relationship and the end of the summer found me jobless and girlfriendless in Abilene. Not exactly what I had envisioned when this year started.
So I started the Fall with the genius plan of substitute teaching and reffing as my sole sources of income. I believe this plan would have unraveled quickly, but thankfully God was watching out for me. I ran into a friend from club in Subway one afternoon and he told me about a job opening at the place where he worked, New Horizons. It was a night shift job but it involved working with kids so I figured I'd give it a shot. When I went in for an interview I was able to eat lunch with the entire staff and right away I felt right at home. I knew there was one other guy going for the job but I felt good about how the interview had gone and so I was confident. When the guy called offering me the job it was like a weight off of my shoulders. I finally felt secure for the first time in a while. It was like I was becoming responsible for myself, and it felt right. So I began my new life as a vampire. Not really but thats what it felt like. It was nice to have a consistent source of income and feel somewhat like an adult. I spent a lot of time in the Fall and beginning of winter hangin out with one friend in particular. We would spend hours sitting on the porch in the wee hours of the morning discussing life and wondering how it is we got here? I don't know what I would have done without those nights, but I know I'm thankful for them. As the year drew closer to its closing the holidays arrived and I was able to go home for Thanksgiving. My entire family was there this year and it was nice. It felt so good to be home, to be surrounded by family. It even felt good to walk the old familiar streets and breathe in the nostalgia. December however was a different story. As school ended for the semester the mass exodus of Abilene began. The town emptied out and with it went my friends and social outlets. So for three weeks all I had to look forward to was work. I didn't even get to go home for Christmas. In fact I worked on Christmas Eve. This however turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Since I worked Christmas Eve I got to be there on Christmas morning when the kids opened their presents. Seeing the looks of joy and happiness on their faces was a present in itself. These kids don't have a lot, but when it comes to Christmas presents they don't want for much. Thanks to generous donations from various churches and staff members, I was almost jealous of their Christmas take. Just joking, but it was good to see them so well taken care of for once in their lives. Later that day I was able to drive to Dallas and spend Christmas night with my family which was great, even though it meant not sleeping for about 30 hours straight. So anyways, there you have it. My year in a nutshell, or several nutshells. If you've stuck it out through this entire narrative, I commend you for your perseverance, and I promise this New Year will contain more frequent posts from yours truly.