Saturday, January 10, 2009

How did I get here, anyway?

After reading MckMama's timeline post, I was inspired to create my own. This was you can learn a little bit more about me, while I reflect on my life and what has made me who I am today.

June 1985: I am born into the most amazing family I could have dreamed of. We lived in San Antonio, TX.

In 1988, my parents decide that I should be communicating more than by saying “dah-dah-dah-dah-dah” and using secret hand motions. They put me into speech therapy. I am tested and, at age 3, have the vocabulary of a 6 year old but the annunciation of a 1 year old. I begin classes. This year my grandfather dies, and though I don’t understand where he went, I know that I miss him terribly. My grandmother moves in with our family.

In 1989, I end speech therapy. I am a talking machine, and I’ve been going non-stop ever since! Also that year, I begin pre-school at a private school. My teacher dotes on me and comments to my parents how she thinks its so sweet how I prefer to sit by her and hold her hand instead of playing with the other children at recess. They realize that this is not, in fact, a good thing.

In 1990 I turn 5 years old and we move to New Jersey for my mom’s job. I begin Kindergarten there and make my very first best friend, named Danielle. My Kindergarten teacher takes sewing classes from my grandmother, who lives with us, and I think it is SO cool.

In 1991 I begin first grade in New Jersey. Little did I know I would end up teaching first grade later in life! At this point I want to be a veterinarian. One day before school my friends and I found the previous day’s “Daily Oral Language” class journal chart paper in the trash behind my teacher’s desk and we were so offended and hurt, like she didn’t care about us or something. I still remember this to this day and never throw anything away in the classroom until after school.

In 1992 I turn seven years old, get the chicken pox, and move back to Texas all within a month in the summer. I begin 2nd grade in San Antonio, and my baby sister is born in October. I had been the only child and grandchild for 7 years!

In 1994 I win the Bike Rodeo at school. This was, in my eyes, probably my biggest accomplishment thus far. I also sign the conduct book for the first time for playing with my friend during story time instead of listening.

In 1996 I begin 6th grade, Junior High. I was very uncomfortable with myself and in my body, like most girls were. I took honors classes and studied a lot. I rode the bus to school for the first time. I had a teacher who thought it was funny to randomly say “You owe me a nickel.” I still don’t understand this. I also had my first crush, which would last an lengthy 3 years, on a boy named Kevin (no, not the same one :) ). In the summers at the pool he wore an orange swimsuit and I remember drooling over him with my friends about his “adorable dive.” I asked him out maybe 4 times over the course of the year, and was turned down each time. Looking back, I’m glad it didn’t work out.

In 1998 I began 8th grade. I was finally happy and comfortable with myself, and I had more friends that I knew what to do with. I moved to the new Junior High when it opened and met a lot more people. I got my first boyfriend; his name was Coley and he was SO cute. I also got in big trouble for the first time and had lunch detention for the last 3 weeks of 8th grade for playing Truth-or-Dare in the back of the bus on the way home from our NASA field trip.

In 1999 I began High School the same year that my High School opened. I decided to sign up for Pep Squad even though I had no dance experience whatsoever, just to avoid PE and because my friends were doing it. I remember my best friend Emily coaching me in my living room for two hours trying to get me to make my hips move. Later that school year, I decided I wanted to try out for Drill Team the following year because I so admired those girls. I began to work my tail off practicing, preparing, and taking outside classes.

In 2000, I made the Silver Stars Drill Team, and I still think it was a miracle. I worked my butt off to keep up with the rest of the girls, who had been dancing most of their lives. I decided to try out for the Dance team the following year.

In 2001, my name was not on the list for Dance Team and I was crushed. I became a Social Officer on Drill Team and began to work even harder. I didn’t realize that this disappointment and the diligence that would follow were shaping me into the person I am today. This is the year that I was baptized, after returning from my first mission trip to Brazil in summer of 2000 and being urged by Christians over there to "go do it now, the sea is large and full of water." I returned home, began discussing it with my dad, and he baptized me in front of my church in San Antonio.

In 2002, I joined this Diamond Dancer Dance Team and it was the proudest day of my life so far! I took the SAT and prepared to enter college at Texas A&M University in College Station. This year I had my first really serious boyfriend, and went through a really difficult time when he cheated on me with one of my best friends from church who I’d know since the age of 7.

In 2003 I graduated high school with a high GPA and acceptance into my college of choice. I began at A&M in the fall – living in a dorm, making all new friends, and having the time of my life. I passed out from heat at a football game and had to be carried out of the stands by some guys who would later become my friends. This year was the first time I really took my faith into my own hands, realizing that all those years attending church with my family I had not taken it seriously enough. I began reading my bible, talking much more often to God, and trusting Him more with my decisions. I met a guy in one of my classes and we began to seriously date by December.

In 2004, my “boyfriend” broke up with me by sending me an instant message with a link to his new profile, which listed him as single. Classy, huh? In an act of rebellion, I created my own free profile. In October, after having been contacted by several uninteresting guys but never having met one in person, Kevin sent me a message. For some reason I began talking to him over instant message.

By late October, I was very interested in him. We spent 8 hours talking on the internet on Halloween. A couple of weeks later, we talked on the phone for the first time, and about a week after that, he took me to dinner. We were officially dating by November of 2004.

In May of 2005, Kevin graduated and I still had two more years of college. I pretended not to be worried, but I had a bad feeling about him leaving. He moved back to Houston and by August, he had broken up with me, saying he needed more space. I began to date a couple of other guys and enjoy the single life, but I still missed him terribly.

By November, Kevin was coming back around, asking for another chance. We had a lot of things to work through, but he promised to spend the rest of his life making up for the way he had hurt me. So far he has. We continued to date long distance. I took 18 hours a semester and worked 20 hours a week, but still managed to make it out of town every single weekend to visit him in Houston.

In April of 2006 Kevin was baptized at our church in Houston. This was not only a big day for him, but also for our relationship.

In July of 2006 Kevin proposed to me at his apartment in Houston and presented me with a wedding contract for Moon Palace Golf and Spa resort in Cancun, MX. I had been wanting to book a wedding there, but Kevin had insisted that we not get ahead of ourselves. All along, he had been working with my mom to secure the reservation for the wedding of my dreams.

In December of 2006 Kevin got a sales job in Fort Worth and moved from Houston to there. I set my sights on an internship in Richardson ISD and was hired in an open contract with the district in February of 2007. I would teach one year as an intern in place of Student Teaching.

In May of 2007 I graduated from Texas A&M Magna Cum Laude with a GPA of 3.84. I also got a job at the most amazing elementary school in Richardson ISD to complete my internship.

In June of 2007 we were married in Cancun. It was truly a fairy tale wedding, complete with a horse and carriage and pictures on the beach. We invited only our families, and my sister was my maid of honor. A few weeks later we held a reception at my church in San Antonio where we had our cakes, showed the video of our ceremony, were blessed by those that love us, and celebrated with our friends. In August, I began teaching first grade and loving every minute of it. Kevin and I were living in a little apartment in Carrollton.

In May of 2008, Kevin and I closed on our first house, in Flower Mound, Texas. I also ended my first year of teaching, and became grade level chairperson for the following year. In June we celebrated our first wedding anniversary.

In July of 2008, I was preparing for my second year of teaching and feeling stressed out because the former team chairperson, who had moved up to second grade, was the planner and organizer for first grade. I began trying to get all the files and documents from her, reworking our first grade handbook for open house, and thinking about ways to improve our grade level. Kevin and I were busy working in our new house and yard, and I took my first (and last) trip to the dump to get rid of some brush. I began my blog at this time to document the horrid experience.

In August of 2008 I began my second year of teaching, this time with much more responsibility and a very challenging class. This year has already taught me more than I could have ever imagined. It has been a challenging year, but also one full of accomplishments. Our grade level is excelling in Reading and Math which is a blessing because, while the district emphasis in on K-2 this year, we are not feeling as much pressure as some of the other schools are.

In 2009 I have already begun a distance graduate program to get my Master’s degree in Educational Administration. Some day I want to be a principal. My New Year’s resolution is to learn to cook and be a better home-maker, and so far so good!

What has made you into the person that you are today?

1 comment:

january embers said...

Thank you for sharing!

In response to your last question, I think there have been a lot of those little moments we remember, like you seeing your DOL chart in the trash can. For me, the one I remember most is coming home from two weeks at my grandparents house and my dad having a conversation with me. He said he had asked my grandmother how the trip was and how the girls had behaved. She replied that things were fine, but "I had to ASK Jennifer to do things." I know this is where my strong urge to be a self-starter comes from.

Jennifer H. from VRCC