09 August 2010

Tanya's Tasty Visit

We had our first house guest over the weekend!  Tanya arrived on Friday afternoon, and our first stop was the flagship Whole Foods.  We were overwhelmed as always at the amazing grocery store, and ended up with tacos and a grilled tofu panini, among other treats.  Back at home, we relaxed in the a/c with Joshua, then enjoyed his yummy taquitos w/ a side of grilled zucchini and roasted kale chips for dinner.  Next up was drinks and live music at The Saxon pub on South Congress St.  We listened to the talents of Rocco DeLuca and more, then got sleepy and headed home, with a stop by Toy Joy for soft serve.  

On Saturday morning, it was banana-pecan waffles and more relaxing...as you can tell this was a food-centered weekend.  Tanya and I left Joshua to hit some of the many vintage stores of Austin, thinking that the frequent a/c in the shops would make the forecast of 107 degrees with the heat index somewhat more tolerable.  We had fun, but the temps kept us moving slow and we were soon enjoying refreshing beverages at a retro place called The Snack Bar.  A few courses later, including seitan satay and rosewater-pistachio cake, we developed the strength to face the outside again and made our way home to Hyde Park.  The energy sucked from us, we hung out in the confines of the a/c for a few hours before  going out for dinner and drinks.  Only one round of frozen coconut drinks at the Hula Hut on Lake Austin, and we were ready for bed.  

We treated Tanya to a breakfast platter before her flight out just to top off the weekend calorie-intake and got some great and much-needed photos of the gnome.  Thanks for being our first visitor Tanya and for bringing us some normalcy and positivity to our crazy Austin summer.

03 August 2010

"The Waiting is the hardest part"

Tom Petty said it best with this song.

Joshua and I have been in Austin for 2 months now, unfortunately still unemployed.  I completed the 6 week summer training program for my alternative teacher certification and worked as a student teacher in two summer school classes.  From mid-June to July I was in a pre-K/pre-1st ESL classroom on the south side of Austin.  It was overwhelming at first, but I caught on and was teaching lessons after the first week and working a lot with them in small groups.  From mid-July until yesterday, I was working with 9th grade ESL students, many of them were refugees from Myanmar, and a few from Congo and Iraq.  They worked very hard to get the right answer, the difficult thing as a teacher was to show them that knowing how to find the answer is more important than the answer itself.  The teacher told me and the other volunteers that they made incredible advances over the summer in literacy and fluency and she wants us to come in and work with them during the school year if we are able to.  I would love to, but of course, finding a full-time job is the priority now and she certainly understands that.

Last Thursday, I had a huge break through in the form of a call for an interview!  Now I finally know that I am doing something right with my cover letters and I do have a chance of getting hired as a teacher.  It was a huge wave of relief, then frantic panic as I only had 2 hours to prepare for the interview.  Since then, I have been waiting, staring at my phone and my inbox, hoping for a positive response, nothing yet.  I continue to apply for other positions, though with an Austin district hiring freeze, the possibilities are few at the moment.  I am also looking for part-time positions in restaurants, have had a few interviews, but no luck yet.  Joshua and I are learning the unfortunate reality that this is a very tough city and a tough time to get lasting work.

We keep trying to stay positive.  When one of us gets down, the other tries to boost their spirits.  We are a great team and good things are bound to happen if we are determined.