Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Orange Blossoms

The orange trees are in blossom. The smell is amazing. More than anything this is the smell of spring in Southern California. Today I drove by the groves on my way to target and tasted their sweet smell. I wish I was more poetic and could describe it better. Suffice it to say this smell is one of my favorite things of spring and I have been waiting for it all winter.

It also brought back a memory for me. I remember smelling oranges after a busy day of interviewing for my first teaching job. I was just about to graduate and I flew down to California to interview in Southern California. I was nervous and wondered if I would get offered a job anywhere. I was excited to be graduating and finally really growing up. I was proud because I had graduated in 3 years. I was sure I could do a good job.

It felt a little strange to be at Cameron's house without Cameron. The first night we drove up to Forest Falls where Cameron and I were contemplating living. One night of visiting a few run down and torn up houses was enough to convince me that Forest Falls was not for me. There was a flood channel that crossed the road about half way through town. If you lived above that line when it flooded you were stuck either at home or not able to get home. I like to be adventurous but I like to go home every night.

My father-in-law took his day off work the next morning and drove me around to all of my interviews. He discussed interviewing tactics with me and gave me pointers. He showed me areas of southern California and was somewhat of a tour guide. (Now that I know him better I know that he was trying his best to convince us to live close without being pushy.) I interviewed in Riverside County. They did not have a job for me but were just interviewing in case one became available. Then later that day I had a job interview in Yucaipa where I really wanted to work. But first Mike had arranged an interview for me at Colton Middle School in the same district where he was a Principal. That interview went really well-it helps that my father-in-law worked in the district and everyone loved him. Then I interviewed in Yucaipa but it did not go nearly as smoothly.

After we had interviewed we drove home through the orange groves while listening to Sarah Brightman. The trees were all in blossom and even with the windows rolled up I inhaled the sweet scent and wanted to stay in those groves forever. That moment convinced me that living in California could be wonderful. The yucca plants were also in bloom and the hillsides were very green. I wanted more than anything to live there at that moment.

We then loaded in the car and drove up to attend my graduation. After coming home from graduation I received a phone call with a job offer. This was pretty good timing. I was only home for an hour (we didn't have cell phones then) and after that we were going on a four day camping trip to Moab. But in that hour I went from making $7.00 an hour to making $40,000 a year. We were moving to California!