Part one of this story can be found here.
…By the time I realized I had been blacklisted school had already started. I submitted an application to every district in the Houston area, but I couldn’t get an interview. Even with hundreds of vacancies around.
I couldn’t even get a part-time gig at restaurants or grocery stores.
Luckily I had saved most of my money from my semester of substituting and working at my Dad’s shop, but even that was gone by the end of September.
An unknown person paid three months of rent for me. The generosity of my parents and future inlaws kept food in my cupboard until my first paycheck.
While I was going through the process of filling out substitute paper work I received a phone call asking if I wanted a job teaching social studies… of course I did.
I interviewed with H.R. the next morning, the principal the day after, and by Monday the following week I was in a classroom.
I was driving an hour plus to work every day. I had to move closer to work, but it doubled my rent. I was teaching Texas history; outside of the Alamo and San Jacinto I knew nothing. Not to mention my classroom management hadn’t improved at ALL since my student teaching days. Though, I was employed and didn’t have move back in with my parents.
My girlfriend was happy. Probably because right before I got my job she showed up at my apartment and found me watching the Lord of the Rings in the dark with beer bottles covering every open table space in the apartment. It was a low point for me.
She graduated that December and the only full-time job she could get was on my side of town. We decided to move in together even though neither of our families were exactly excited about it. Financially, it was the only thing that made sense.
We both made it through the year and got engaged on her birthday over the summer.
My second year of teaching was INFINITELY better than the first, though still not perfect. My now fiance talked me into getting a puppy. We planned our dream wedding in Hawaii.
At the same time we got a puppy I stumbled upon tiny houses. It took six months of convincing (or maybe 30 minutes on pinterest) for her to approve the project.
This past summer we got married in Hawaii and bought a trailer to start building our future home.
We currently spend every weekday and some weekends (summers included) pouring ourselves out for our students and trying to become better teachers. We try to limit our spending on non-essentials so we have more to give away and use for traveling and visiting family. We are consolidating our possessions to fit in a 144 square foot home. We put household responsibilities on hold to spend more time with friends and family. We try to shop and eat ethically and responsibly. We are doing everything we can to be better people, to be happier people, and to give something back to the world that has given us so much.
The problem is that we aren’t always successful. We waste money. We waste time. We waste energy. We aren’t as good as we want to be. We’re selfish. We’re lazy. We can’t do it all, but we’re growing. We’re trying.
There is no magic bullet for what we are trying to do. My job brings stress and satisfaction. My salary brings safety and concern. My wife and dog bring joy and worry. My hobbies bring relief and conviction. Religion brings me guilt and peace.
Too much focus on any one area will lead to negative effects in others. Not enough focus on one area will lead to dissatisfaction in life. This is our story. This is my story. This is life in it’s most raw form. A beautiful struggle.