Taking time to Reflect...
It's a new year and I feel it's time to reflect on 2022 which was crazy and so full of emotion. In January of 2022 I was recovering from surgery on my right knee. Looking back, it was probably not the greatest of ideas to fly to Phoenix for Christmas with my folks just 10 days after surgery, but it happened. I struggled to recover my right knee as my left knee was waiting for it's time in the operating room. February came and I found out that I was selected as a semi-finalist for the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Program and would be interviewed virtually for a spot in a federal agency or on Capitol Hill. The interview was exciting and terrifying and we had to wait 3 weeks to see if we had been selected. Had surgery mid-March on the left knee and while recovering at home, I got the call that I had been selected for a spot on Capitol Hill. Part of me was in complete disbelief at being selected, but that disbelief would grow bigger when the superintendent of my district denied my request for a leave of absence. My elation was reduced to tears. I had to make a decision-so I decided to accept the opportunity of a lifetime, knowing I had no guarantee of a job when I returned.
The spring of 2022 wasn't an easy time, saying goodbye to students and staff that had become family. There were so many emotions: sadness, betrayal, elation and terror, all mixing together. I had made my decision and so I had to figure out how to make the transition. My family and friends were my rock during this time and I cannot come close to thanking them for all their encouragement and support. August 1st came with saying goodbye to my life in Fargo and hopping in my car with my mom to start the drive to DC....and then a trumpeter swan had other ideas! So August 2nd came with saying goodbye to my life in Fargo (take 2). We made it to DC without any other wildlife interactions and I am grateful to my mom for being there for me during the move.
DC is HOT and HUMID in August and it was ugly, but I started to settle in with a visit from Malcolm and a week of orientation. August 19th I started in the office of Congressman DeSaulnier not knowing what the hell I was doing! It was so bizarre not starting in the classroom, but I quickly learned that I had been placed in the best possible office. My mentor Sarah is the most patient and knowledgeable person I have ever met. The rest of the staff (including Congressman DeSaulnier), made me feel right away that I was a valuable member of the team. I have learned so much and look forward to the next few months. In February, I am scheduled to go with the Congressman to visit schools in his new district for an educational listening tour. The hope is to come up with educational legislation designed by me to introduce in the House before my time is up.
The other current and previous Einstein Fellows have become family and have made me realize that I belong here. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon in one of the Smithsonian museums with a previous fellow who is a real inspiration to me. After the museum, we picked up food and watched the sun set from her rooftop deck. Such beauty and feeling joy in every moment. It's been too long since I have felt so happy- I feel valued. I have no idea yet what I will be doing in the fall, but for now, I am just going to keep enjoying the hell out of this experience because this is where I am supposed to be right now.