Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunny in Sacramento

End of the semester in Berkeley, two weeks in Almaden, a week in Seattle, a week and a half back in Berkeley, and now, I am currently in Sacramento, where I will stay for the next nine weeks teaching 7th grade writing in a summer program.

I arrived via train, with more than my weight in luggage. The train is pleasant. The walkways have plenty of space, the windows wide and full of light, the seats are cushy and clean. There is no crying baby, no turbulence, no weary smell of tiredness to disturb my contemplation. The ride through central California is a tranquil experience. Occasional glances outside reveal rolling swathes of golden fields upon endless golden field; ships so large and utilitarian and far away that they look like nothing more than a lego piece; a sign on the side of a house reads "Banjo Lessons." Further inland, the ground is so flat that it is impossible to discern between earth and water. The ships, lying in view, unobstructed, resemble ambling rhinos in the savannah. The minutes fly by seemingly in the blink of an eye, and the ships are nothing more than a hazy, surreal memory.

It was a struggle, but I made it out of the train station and into the van that took me to my homestay. I hit the jackpot: the single house was empty, the family on vacation yet the pantry still stocked, the school where I work is right across the street. I settle in, exhausted, and sink into a dreamless sleep.

The first few days are orientation. The real work has not yet begun, but I have not been so tired in a very long time. I find myself pushed back into to pre-college routines: early bedtimes, early mornings. I swallow my social anxiety and dash out the door, and I'm instantly punched by a burst of energy that doesn't die throughout the week. My energy dwindles day by day, my outfits and hair become progressively more and more disheveled. Saturday is not the weekend, we train and we visit the city. The white and grey buildings stand out crisply against the endlessly blue sky. We see the capitol building, a church, the city hall, a comic convention. Today finally brings rest; I allow myself to laze around in bed until noon. Then there's work to be done. Make postcards, design t-shirts, blog, grocery shopping, and go to bed early to get up on Monday again. ◊

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