Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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Nome, Alaska, United States
After getting burned out teaching high school in a tiny Alaskan town, I have moved on to being a child advocate in a small Alaskan town. The struggles are similar, but now I can buy milk at the store.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The two sides of my life

When I lived in Shishmaref, there was just my life. I felt no real split between my work life and my social life. It would have been near-impossible anyway. My roommate worked at the same school I did, most of our friends worked at the same school, and those that didn't were parents of kids from our school. When it was time to sit around in the evening and share the highs and lows of our days, they were all focused on our shared kids, shared administration, and shared activities.

In Nome, there is a large divide between my work life and my other life (church life? home life? social life?)

My personal life consists of Daphne, the cabin Fosters, everyone at church, Erin Forton and her circle, and the random people that I have met and befriended while living in Nome. (I'm looking at you, Nellie from Airport Pizza.)

Work has it's own set of people, situations, acronyms, and problems. And even my work life is split into two areas: those that work for Kawerak: Wellness, Headstart, Community Planning, IT, Accounting, etc and those that work for other entities but share cases with the Child Advocacy Center: Child Protective Services, Alaska State Troopers District Attorneys Office, Behavioral Health, Sexual Assault Response Team (nurses), Department of Juvenile Justice, etc.

In general terms, I can talk about anything I want with all of the above people. However, if I want to name names, give details, or get opinions on the more difficult parts of my job, it has to be someone from the second set of work people. It's not only wrong to burden my visiting teachers with the details of my day, it's also illegal. And for those who haven't worked in social work, it's hard to explain why I continue to do what I do, when everything I say about the job sounds depressing on the face of it.

You may be wondering where I'm going with this. Well, here it is: Since I choose not to discuss even the public aspects of my job (I'm sure it bleeds through, but it's accidental), and I'm no longer taking classes to use as conversational fodder, I sometimes feel like I'm stuck with the banal aspects of my life. Travel plans, who likes who, who said what about who, how I was told by a girl who was told by another girl that she asked a boy if he would date a certain girl, and he said no, and what that implies for everyone involved. (I would like to say that was a joke example; it wasn't.)

Because of this, I have decided to expand my mind in the following ways:

-Finish reading the "College Bound Reading List" given to me by Kathy Reim, my 11th grade English teacher. It is an impressive list, and I've highlighted the books off of it as I read them. I am, however, only a quarter of the way through the list. I'm starting up again with Wuthering Heights, based on the fact that it's already on my bookshelf.

-Start up on stained glass again. I unpacked my boxes with Sarah Hofstetter the other day, because she needed some glass for a project. I forgot how much fun I used to have making projects with glass. I'm gonna carve myself out a piece of the shed where I can start working on projects again. This will help fix the problem two ways: 1) keep me away from the situations where I find myself over thinking things and getting gossipy, and 2) give me things to work on inside when everyone is hanging out together. And yes, I mean setting up a stained glass Pinterest board.

-I feel that something about world news, politics, or scientific advancements should go somewhere here. Umm, I'm going to outsource that to the vlogbrothers.

Hopefully, with these changes, my personal life will stop feeling like a Jane Austin novel, and I'll find ways to de-stress from the job. I think these are positive changes.

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