Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Of Travel I've Had My Share, Man

So, looking at the lyrics, maybe I haven't quite caught up to Johnny Cash but I sure am gonna give him a run for his money after the next two or three years. Fargo? Check. Minnesota? Check. Tennessee? Louisiana? Vicksburg? Check, check, and check. And that was before my own personal Odyssey across the Delta.

When my Dad and Brother first dropped me and my pile of crap off at a location 1,119 miles away from home, I didn't have a place to sleep. Now, I know I won't ever have that problem again. As long as there's enough gas in the car to drive an hour's worth in the Delta, there is a floor/couch/air mattress to sleep on and someone gracious enough to offer it to you. I spent time in Lexington in a guest house owned by millionaires (and rented by some lovely fellow CMs!), met a dog named Jack who steals shoes in Greenwood (well, really Philipp), drove down Money Road, got lost in Yazoo City, and ate the best salad I've ever tasted in Indianola. And who can forget the myriad car washes of Helena/West Helena, the suggestive old man at the Clarendon gas station ("Be careful, you're a pretty girl"), and Mack's, America's Premier Waterfowl Outfitter in Stuttgart? If you watch "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", you'll know what the past few weeks have been like on my end. (Literally: Yazoo, Greenwood, and Itta Bena all make appearances.)

Anyway, we now have all the Jackson crew staying with us at the hotel and it's been a total pleasure to get to know everyone. At first I got the impression that we were all very similar: we shared the same feelings about our tentative placements, we were all relatively relaxed individuals but still up-for-a-good-time, and, as I've mentioned before with TFA, peculiarly kind, smart, and motivated folk that tend to fall into very geeky conversations. Now, we're starting to discover the idiosyncracies that will turn us into a full-fledged teaching family. We have the planners, the rebels, the partiers, the athletes, the artists - all sharing 5 hotel rooms for a span of 16 days. I'm grateful for the opportunity to get to know everybody (and the city of Jackson) before we start working - I think it's going to make the transition a lot easier on all of us.

The city of Jackson is actually a happenin' place to be. If you ignore the obnoxious frontage roads along I-55, you'll discover a small but thriving arts community in the young/hip area of Fondren, be able to look at the beautiful little houses in Belhaven (including The Eudora Welty House!), and experience the small-town-in-the-"big"-city feel of Jackson's Downtown. There are incredible antique stores and consignment shops, and the food is always delicious no matter where you go. At least I'll have a plethora of choices when I take visitors out to eat! (And did I mention the International Ballet Festival???) I think I'm going to enjoy my stay here, and I am excited to see all that the city has to offer!

Oops... sorry for the digression from "travels". It was bound to happen.

In other news, a fellow CM, Lyndsey, and I have been developing some extreme strategies to ensure our Dream House stays an option for us to live in. I'll let you know if we were successful...

Also, I used "y'all" today in regular conversation.


"I've been everywhere, man..."

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