It’s been an amazing day. This is only the second week on the new job but today I got to travel to a professional workshop at a university about two hours away. I figured out the map quest directions and set on my way through some of the most scenic territory, a highway known as the Mohawk Trail. Driving up and around hairpin turns and looking at trees soon to burst forth with brilliant fall colors, I had to laugh out loud. Here I was, in my new fall fashions, already shedding my old colors and displaying some brilliance of my own.
This past month has been so filled with things to do and people to meet that I haven’t really had a chance to reflect on all that has happened. It still seems a bit unreal. Did I really pick up and leave my lifelong location? Find an apartment? Change jobs?
When I walked into this conference, I knew instinctively that I had found the right job. Here, in this room, were a group of educators and counselors. Yes, they were working with high-school students and I had been advising college students but I soon realized that there was a definite interface to my past experience and my new responsibilities. I felt so comfortable to be in this room. It felt so good to be with like-minded people and made me think of the professional relationships and organizations I had left behind. This workshop provided the context that I was looking for. I didn’t even know something was missing until everything clicked today. I took notes like crazy, managed to contribute to the discussion, and even did some important networking. The networking included chatting up a guy my age, a retired consultant. I swear these gray-haired men are falling from the sky. Lunch afterwards and a walking tour of the campus with a young student who was a history and military science major. I left with a working plan for my own school regarding serving our new junior class. I even got an official certificate from the state of Massachusetts for continuing education units, totally unexpected. It was a very productive day.
Driving home through the same mountains, I passed once again through my mom’s birthplace, Greenfield. Jenn and I plan to travel there to search out old records and try to figure out the mystery of my grandparents being in this place for a brief period of time in the early 1900s. It's a rugged piece of terrain. What would a young immigrant couple be doing here during the harsh winter months with a little boy and new baby on the way? It’s very unusual as all our family history lies in Philadelphia but that will be another story for another time.
I stopped for gas and another guy my age came over to the car. He was tall and had a baseball cap on and kind of quirky. I must have an accent as a lot of folks are asking me where I’m from. This guy was no different. I told him that I was sorry if I pulled up to the “full service” pump as I’m used to pumping gas myself. He promptly replied that he wasn’t sorry as he was glad to pump gas for “such a pretty woman”. Hot dang! My new clothes and I are having an impact.
I smiled all the way home. Home. Yes, I think I’m going to like this place.