Upon my return to southern California, and reluctantly to work, I was greeted excitedly by the wonderful people who have become yet another family to me. I had almost begrudgingly left Pittsburgh behind, and in fact gotten awfully sentimental about leaving my high school friends and family again. It was something of a new experience for me, always the go-getter off on some kind of wild and crazy adventure, to feel a twinge of regret at leaving home.
There was a bit of apprehension building as well surrounding the notion of returning to hours upon hours of work with children who half the time pay next to no attention to a word I say. Could I handle it again? Did I want to handle it again? Was I wasting my time? Lots of these types of questions floated around my head as I sat on three different planes to get between Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.
However, immediately upon arrival, I was picked up by a friend who made no resentful remarks about driving the 45 minutes out of her way to come and get me after a long day at work. In fact, the car ride was a good way for both of us to catch up and decompress from stressful days. Shortly thereafter, I returned home and was greeted by my roommates, one of whom actually made dinner for me. Thanks Al! What a lovely gesture that made my heart smile. I was frazzled and had a million things on my mind as always, and the last thing I wanted to think about was scrounging up something tasty to eat. I was perfectly ready to settle for bagged baby carrots and some Ramen noodles, but instead I was treated to a yummy poached egg in marinara sauce.
Today I reluctantly returned to work. Right off the bat, even before I got there, one of my coworkers had to come and give me a ride, which she did without hesitation. She was happy to see me, she said at 5:45 this morning. One friendly face asked me if I was excited to be back at work, and I chuckled and said, "Debatable. Ask me at the end of the day." Everyone laughed. Throughout the day I was greeted by several coworkers with cries of "Welcome back!" or "Good to see you!" One of my students walked into the classroom, flung her arms around me, and yelled, "Ms. D! I missed you! How was your break?!" Later in the day, several students came to me to share stories about break and to rehash our inside jokes. I was somewhat shocked that they were genuinely happy to see me. Oh God, I thought at the end of the day, I may actually love my job. Despite the day-to-day crazy and the ridiculous hours, this many good vibes just don't happen in every workplace.
Another coworker turned real friend gave me a ride home, and we ended up sitting in the car for another forty minutes catching up from the break. You know, I had heard that people call LA the city of angels, but I hadn't figured out until now that the moniker doesn't refer to any superabundance of golden cherubs that flit about the city. I have only to look to the wonderful people who surround me to find that this city really is full of angels.