Thursday, September 03, 2009


Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been very, very busy and just haven't had time for the blogosphere as of late.

About three weeks ago (a little less) I finished the run of the show I was doing. As I alluded to in a previous post, about a month ago I was offered a job by a former professor (who to this day remains my favorite theatre teacher (and perhaps my favorite teacher overall) that I ever had and is a man I consider to be my mentor). The job itself was as an adjunct professor at a small college I attended many years ago, and the two subjects I was being asked to teach were acting and musical theatre history, which happen to be two subjects I am very qualified to teach and that I enjoy teaching. The time frame for the job was for the first semester, exactly the time frame when I knew I would be unemployed. Many things about the job appealed to me, but the salary offered was way too low for me to accept the position. I would be paying my house payment with Jonah, and I would have to move to the town where the college is and pay rent there as well, and the amount I was being offered was not enough to cover that, plus it was pretty low compared to my experience and degree.

My former teacher was actually embarrassed by what the college was offering to pay me, and he really wanted me to come work for the theatre department and said he would try to do anything he could to negotiate a higher salary. After much waiting, I was offered a better salary, but still not enough that I would be earning any money (and in fact, I would be losing money by taking the job). Yet, as I prayed and thought about it and discussed it with Jonah, I felt very strongly that I should accept the job offer; that it was something I was supposed to do and something that would pay off for me somehow later in life.

So I took the job. My former professor (now my boss) was thrilled, and even though I am losing money on this deal, I do not regret making this choice. I had to find an apartment fairly quickly, which I thought would be more challenging than it actually ended up being. Actually I found a nice place rather quickly, and I have the place all to myself. There's no bed or microwave, which is inconvenient, but I've been sleeping on the couch, which isn't too bad, and cooking on the stove, which isn't too bad, either. The biggest drawback about the apartment is that there is no air conditioning (something I did not realize until I signed the lease), so it gets pretty hot sometimes. Fortunately, I brought my fan, so it's not too bad, and it is starting too cool down (hopefully the heat works).

As for the job itself, I'm having a delightful time. I really like the students here, and I'm enjoying the classes I teach. Because I didn't accept the job or get my course curriculums and textbooks until two weeks before I started, I did feel a little behind at first, but now I feel like I am catching up (although I also feel like I'm creating my courses as I go along rather than having a long term plan in mind, and that's challenging).

Although I know a lot about musical theatre history, I've never taught it, so it has been interesting doing the research for my lectures, and since I've never taught a lecture course before, I've really tried to figure out ways to make it stimulating and engaging for the students. The acting class, which I have taught before, is a lot easier, although I've also had to tailor my methods to the department's course content, which hasn't been too hard, but still has been some work.

I truly am happy to be here. I went to college here myself, and some of my best memories are from my times here. It's also been interesting to see who I was then and who I am now. One of my first nights here I took a jog past so many of the places that had been a part of my life nearly 20 years ago. I ran past my old apartment building (which looks basically the same, but has a different name); past the old football stadium (which looks so small to me now) where I first told someone that I was gay; past the malt shop where I used to go all the time; past what used to be a convenience store where my friends and I would get snacks for late-night cramming sessions; past the parking lot where I used to park my car when I would go to class; past what used to be the theater we used to perform in (which has since been torn down and another, much better, performing arts facility has been built in what used to be a vacant field); past the place where there used to be a fountain I hung around a lot (after seeing a picture of the old fountain and how ugly it was, I kind of understand why they got rid of it); past the park where my friends and I used to play (and where the current generation of students is still playing; past the shops and eating establishments, which have changed somewhat since I was here as a student. And as I ran, I was listening to the music on my IPod, and I felt so good, so happy. So happy with the memories I had, and so happy with the person I've become.

I remember once, three or four years after I graduated from the college here, I came back for a visit and I understood what the statement "You can never go home again" meant. It just wasn't the same. But this time, about eighteen years after I graduated and probably 15 years since I'd even stepped foot in this town, I realized you actually can go home again. I felt the same joy, the same feelings I felt here so long ago as a student.

And, it's interesting, although this town has grown a little since I was here last and some things have changed, it is very interesting to me how little has changed. The first week I taught, the theatre department had a little gathering where the faculty and staff were introduced and where the students got the opportunity to meet and get to know one another. My boss introduced me and asked if I had anything to say. I told these kids how lucky they were to come to school here, how lucky they were to have this performing arts facility that I never had, and how lucky they were to have my mentor as the head of their department. I got a little emotional, which I was a little embarrassed by, but I meant every word I said. If these kids' experiences are anything like mine were, they are SO, SO lucky and blessed to be going to school here. I told them to make the most of their time here; to seize the day.

It has been so awesome being with my old teacher. I love him so much. he had an enormous influence on me both personally and in my career. It has been fun to watch him in action again. I had forgotten how much I have missed him. And he really has done everything to make me feel welcome and included and important. It's been interesting working with him as a peer. I'm really enjoying it. I know he is equally glad to have me here and is really grateful for all I am doing for him. He wants me to stay on for spring semester, but I told him it will be impossible unless I can get more money. I really like being here, but I can't afford to do this another semester (besides if I get an acting gig, I wouldn't be able to anyway; plus I miss Jonah terribly. Since we had our commitment ceremony nearly a year ago, I've spent all of two or so months with him). I know my boss will do all he can to work it out so I can stay, but I do not believe the college will pay what I need to stay here. Jonah said if they do, he's okay with my staying, but part of me just wants to be in my house with my husband.

The other thing (besides this job) that has kept me occupied was that I got a much-needed operation on my knee. About fifteen years ago I hyperextended my leg in a show I was in and tore some cartilage in my knee. Since then, it has gotten worse and more difficult to dance and walk up and down stairs. Until recently I never had insurance good enough to afford the surgery, but finally I was able to get it (and at a time when I wasn't in a show). The surgery went very well, and my knee is healing quickly. I still have a limp, and I have to go to physical therapy, but considering I had the surgery only a week ago, I feel I am in great shape. Hopefully when it is completely healed, I will no longer have the knee problems I had before.

Tomorrow after I teach my last class, I am going to visit Jonah in Vegas for five days. We are both very, very excited and looking forward to time together.

Things are good. I know my mom misses me a lot (and I miss her (and Jonah), but I guess that's part of life. Just know I am happy and well.

1 comment:

Silus Grok said...

Wonderful news … wonderful update.