I spent today in new teacher orientation in my new county. It was small – 25 of us. It was a tad unnerving when the school superintendent – who used to be the state superintendent – walked up to me and say – HOW do you pronounce your name? It was a good feeling.

I’ve never gotten so many welcome gifts – including one that was personalized – I don’t mean with my name, but with what I do! When I was perusing the goods, the one I got was set in front of me. I got excited – OH! That’s what I do!!!! He said – I KNOW that’s what YOU do! That’s why we made it!

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I spent 2 and half hours in a school bus, traipsing all over a rural county with narrow, bumpy, dirt roads – this is where your kids live. And this is where your kids live. Here’s one of 2 grocery stores and here’s one of the 2 flashing lights – NO red lights in this county. OH! And here’s the smallest church in the United States. Seats 6. The owner of the property deeded it to God when she died, so the community takes care of it. A few years back, vandals broke in and tried to rob the donation box and when they couldn’t break into it, they burned the church down. The community rebuilt it. And here is the Methodist Church the Union Army tried TWICE to burn during the Civil War, but it refused to burn. Then we had a hurricane in 1890 and leveled it. The community rebuilt it.

I kept hearing that – the community did this. The community did this. The community isn’t rich, not by a long shot. But they rebuild things. And they step up to the plate.

They have a WIFI bus. They took one of the old buses they were getting ready to send to the bone yard and dropped a new transmission and new engine in it. They tore out the seats, built long siderails and outfitted it with wifi and 16 laptops. A lot of the neighborhoods don’t have internet so 4 days a week, this bus – which an artist painted on her own time – makes the rounds, along with volunteer teachers and parents, so kids can research and study, or even just read…

There is a professional football player – my brother will probably know who it is – who graduated from there.  every year, he comes home and works with the kids and supplies every single middle school student with loaded backpacks. All of them.

One of the stops was a drive by the pier for one of the coastal islands. Apparently, we have children who live on the island and come in on the ferry, which runs twice a day and if the ferry is late, the bus waits. The ferry is always late.

The high school has very nice bathrooms. I know because I was jumping around towards the end of the tour and they made a pit stop for me.

We drove by the new townhomes being build on the harbor. Gorgeous. There are a dozen. Start at 450K. Not for me. Too rich for my blood.

Most of the residents are not year round residents. Most of them are retired Yankees who own homes there as retirement, summer homes down there.

We were shown all of the great eating places. Apparently one of the seafood places – is noted in the top 10 best seafood restaurant in the nation. IF you want to eat dinner there, be in line by 4 PM. There is another called – It’s a hole in the wall, with old nasty carpet out on the parking lot and you don’t know what you’re going to get, because the cook will just send out a platter with whatever he feels like you need. We drove by the wine bar and were gently reminded that if we visit the wine bar after school, we were not supposed to come back for PTO or football games. Oh and on the last day of school, the wine bar is pretty full with teachers. PS remember your kids talk. And most of them go to the local Church of Christ and they will talk there. Just a friendly reminder.

School closes for hurricanes, snow, and heavy rains. The county is low and a lot of dirt roads bog down.

100% on free or reduced lunch. And yet the county is considered one of the wealthiest because of all the valuable beach property –

That the feds and the state own. One third. Untaxable land that the county can’t obtain income from.

Shrimping is the main economy generator, followed by tourism.

When we lived further south, there were days I’d come home just… done. So done. I taught middle school. I loved them dearly,  but there were days my last nerve was trod on and I would go home just gritting my teeth and Spawn would take the keys and drive us up to the harbor, to sit and watch the shrimp boats come in and out or just bob on the water. It was my peaceful place. That and the beach. Funny, I’m now teaching half a mile from there.

I guess what I’m saying is even though I’m now stepping away from the known and into the unknown,(always an uncomfortable feeling) I’m feeling better and more confidant about this decision I made. I’m feeling God’s hand more and more, guiding each step. As I was driven around a largely rural county, with the school superintendent playing tour guide – yes he and the assistant superintendent both were on that bus showing us the things they were proud of – including the family abode who we were told we WOULD get to know – I began to get a warm, fuzzy feeling about not only my new digs, but this new place with students I’m pretty sure I”m allergic to and will have one serious round of asthmatic bronchitis within 2 weeks. I’m ready to fall in love with all of this.

Spawn is having a rough time of it. He doesn’t move or do change well. I”ve decreed this evening as a break from packing.

And I’ve been in the mood to do something I’ve not felt like doing in quite a few months. No, I”ve not bought a thing and I can’t. I have a move to fund and a few credit cards to pay down and off. But still…

Pretty, right???

Here’s something else that’s pretty!!!

You’re welcome