The last year hasn't been especially easy for me. I've been trying to find a new job and in the mean time I feel like I've been floundering a bit. But I've been blessed by good fortunes as well and have been able to work with people that I otherwise would never have met.
First and foremost I've been teaching at the local preschool 2 days a week with a wonderful woman by the name of Meredith Sterling. She is by far one of the sweetest people I've ever had the pleasure to encounter. The kind of person that would literally give you the shirt of her own back if it would help in any way. I've been able to open up to her about stresses in my life and issues I have living in such a small community with so little in the form of intellectual stimulation. She has gone out of her way to share her own experiences and struggles since she grew up in a community near Chicago and found aspects of living here difficult as well. She has also invited me to join her scrap booking club and although I'm definitely a newbie I've felt welcomed and right at home with the group that has been meeting for years. I've been having a lot of fun getting some of my artistic and creative juices flowing again and have gotten into sketching and photography again to add bits and pieces to my scrapbooks and journals. So to Meredith I must give you a great big thank you for these opportunities and the motivation to pick myself up by my bootstraps.
As luck would have it she also introduced me to her husband Bruce who is the District Wildlife Biologist for Sanders County for Montana Fish Wildlife And Parks. I've been able to go out with Bruce and keep my hands in the wildlife pool and gain some connections and experiences that I have been missing. He has been sharing tidbits of information and also telling me about how he started out. We also have a lot in common since he grew up in Rawlins. Granted there is a good 30 year age difference but when it comes to stuff in Wyoming if you've lived there in the last 70 years you feel a connection to other residents. He's been trying to get me out in the field with him as much as possible so I can add new and different experiences and skills to my resume to make me more appealing to future employers. I love that I can ask him anything under the sun and he is more than willing to discuss and share any and all information he has. I look up to him like a mentor and appreciate everything he has done and how hard he works in his own job for the state. Again I can't thank him enough for that.
Lastly I've been lucky enough to be subbing at the local grade school about 4 days a week for the last 4 months which has been an absolute god send... both for paying the bills and just for keeping me busy and not fretting over the small stuff in life. I've gotten to know the staff and the kids at the school and actually feel like I'm contributing. My favorite days are the ones that I get to sub for the math and science teachers because I get the sense the kids struggle the most with these classes and I know how that feels. Even though I pursued and education and a career that is heavily tethered to the sciences I always have had to work so much harder in these areas than others like English, history, language arts, etc in school. I've actually been able to help some of these kids understand formulas and incorporate some of what they are studying to real life applications. They seem to be getting it and are challenging themselves more each time I go in there which is amazing to see firsthand. I have a greater appreciation for the amazing teachers I had growing up and how much effort they really put in.
So even though I've had these odd ups and downs I can see the good in my life and just wanted to take a moment to really reflect on it.