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It’s that time of year again.

Target and Wal-mart are stocking and restocking ever-dwindling supplies of pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasures, notebook paper, post-it notes, and way too many folders with Justin Bieber’s face on them.

Yesterday I stopped by that section, originally thinking I would just buy myself a planner to keep track of all of my random seminars, workshops, etc. this coming semester, but I ended up leaving with some kickass Dr. Suess pencils, erasures, Spanish-English dictionaries, and other supplies to send to my first-now-second graders and cooperating teacher in Costa Rica. I miss them all so much.

And with that, I begin a new teaching venture. Student teaching at the Philadelphia Montessori Charter School. And to be honest, I’m not really all that nervous. I’m just straight up excited. There is something so calming and restful about being in a Montessori classroom. The way all of the students are quietly working at their own pace. The way the teachers don’t raise their voices, but softly direct students back to their work. I’m really looking forward to being in such a balanced atmosphere, especially with the (good) stress that I know will come from being at Swarthmore and with other Swatties.

And since I haven’t written about it at all on here yet, I would just like to say that this summer has been absolutely wonderful. I’ve had the chance to live with my dad again, something I haven’t done for three years. We’ve had some really good meals and runs together, and I even got him to watch the Bachelorette finale for two whole minutes. Definitely something he has never done before. I’ve also gotten to spend more time with my high school friends than I have basically since graduation. And I love that while we have grown apart geographically, we have grown along the same paths metaphorically. We have all come to realize how privileged (and elitist to a certain degree) our backgrounds are, that no solution to a problem is perfect, and all we want to do is serve people as best we can. How Midwestern.

I also had the chance this summer to witness the marriage of two of my closest friends in South Dakota, to journey up to the Boundary Waters and become a true Minnesotan, and to spend lots and lots of time at my favorite coffee shop in the Twin Cities (love you, Nina’s!).  I’ve seen my little nephew take his first guided steps and practice his phonemes. I celebrated my mom’s and sister-in-law’s birthdays. My dad ate his first Japanese food (aside from sushi) on Father’s Day. My sister and I have seen movies and drunk beer together and finally had sister-sister days (which is what we called them when we were little) that haven’t ended up with her telling me to do something, and me saying I don’t want to, crying, and running to my mom. +1 for growing up. Life here in MN isn’t half bad and I’m excited for all the good beginnings to come this semester.

Here’s to senior year.