Last Sunday (less than a week ago, but it feel so much longer) I moved into my new apartment in Philadelphia. It's a little small but it's cozy and it is in a locked building which makes me feel safer, although at the same time, more concealed - I've barely seen or heard anyone else in the building. I'm living a bit west of UPenn and the neighborhood is pretty awesome: it's hip, has a lot of trees, and feels a LOT like Brookline, MA. There is a trolley two blocks away to take me downtown, and there are small markets, coffee shops, and restaurants in the vicinity. Plus, there are a hoard of other TFA corps members who live only a few blocks from me, a few of which are my friends who I should see pretty often.
Moving in was alright. The only downside is I am without much furniture. I don't even have a bed - I'm using an air mattress borrowed from my friend. The sad thing is I don't even have the money to go out and buy one anytime soon! This past week though I scoured Craigslist and found some really cheap shelves, TV stand, and microwave that I went and picked up from college students who were moving.
Decorating my apartment was also really fun. I hung up my wall scroll, some pictures, a few posters and pieces of art, and made it more homey. The only downside is that I need more shelves and furniture to truly make it feel more lived in and comfortable, and I don't foresee this being finished until mid-October when I have a few paychecks under my belt.
The cable man comes tomorrow morning so that should be good! I can finally start watching Bravo again, and that background noise will make the apartment feel more welcoming I think.
Mastery Charter Schools:
I began orientation at my actual school site this past week. Mastery Charter Schools are very good schools in this system and were recently honored by President Obama for their high turnaround rates. I met my fellow teachers and staff and I can't even wait to get started now! I am the only social studies teacher and I'm super pumped to get into my classroom next week. They are renovating the building so it's quite a mess I hear, but that doesn't bother me. The school's culture and systems are very similar to the beliefs of Teach for America, but I am getting really great vibes from Mastery, where at some points Teach for America rubbed me the wrong way.
This week I also began my enrollment and coursework for UPenn. I can't believe I'm an Ivy League grad student. I foresee this all being a lot of work for me, but it will be worth it - and terribly expensive. But it's still a great chance and I am excited to get underway with the classes in September. There are only about four class days a month, so it shouldn't be too time-consuming (aside from the papers and actual work).
Teach for America:
Since I'm at Mastery, and they run their own professional development and unit planning, I don't attend the Teach for America events this month, which is leaving me feeling a little disconnected from the program. And I'm sad that I am not part of the main group and I don't see my Teach for America friends often because of it. There are about twenty-five of us working for Mastery schools (they have seven now) but still the bulk of my friends are still attending the Teach for America sessions.
Since I have mainly just had my computer to keep me busy in the apartment, I become re-obsessed with Project Runway this week. I just marathoned Season 7 the past three days, and I downloaded Season 6 to watch after that. Plus the new season is up to the third episode too! And then throw in Top Chef which is halfway through their DC season and I'm in heaven!
Aside from all of these main points in my life, I'm feeling alright. I do miss Boston and my friends still, but I'm getting along alright here. I'm by myself and in my apartment most of the time when I'm not attending work sessions, but it's mainly because I can't even afford to go out or into the city because my bank account is so low. I don't even know how I'm going to pay my September rent and utilities, so how can I go out and meet people when I have no cash? (not to mention HOW does one even "meet" people these days?)
And my fridge is miserably empty...