Monday, November 20, 2006

We've moved!

Meaghan and I have moved out of her mom's house and into the city of Boston. My commute to work is now 15 minutes shorter, and we're starting to take our cool furniture and stuff out of storage. Friends are welcome to email me for our new address.

This is pretty much the last stage of our readjustment from our year in Serbia. Most young couples here have their own place, so moving back to the city is like rejoining society, in a way.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

New blog

Hey -

Since I started my new job I've been busy and not much inclined to blogging. We have done some cool stuff - we saw Jon Stewart live, we celebrated our third wedding anniversary with a trip to Vermont, we spent a weekend in New York with my family - but I haven't had the motivation to write about it here. (Sorry.) And of course I've had lots of work stories, but I didn't feel comfortable putting them on the internet.

One thing about my new job, though - I've got like an hour commute each way. This gives me lots of time for reading. And while I've always been a big reader, I realized how sad it is that I eventually forget most of what I read.

Well, no longer. I've started a new blog to keep track of what I'm reading. Mostly I am my own intended audience, but if you're interested in what I'm reading please check it out. It's called All The Things I've Lost.

Enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I got a job!

As of yesterday, I'm the new full-time ESL teacher at a public high school near Boston. I'm teaching two classes of ESL 1, one class of ESL 3, and two study skills classes, each of which meet daily. The students are all immigrants to the US, from a variety of different countries. (No Yugoslavs though - немам шансе да вежбам мој српски :( )

So far, my impressions are generally positive. (In fact, I'd like to go on record as saying so now, so that I can look back on this in case I change my mind later.) The students seem sweet, my colleagues have been very supportive, and I'm looking forward to really getting started.

American high schools are a strange institution. There's a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork; I'm responsible for filling out a variety of grades, record books, report cards, attendance forms, and such. I've never really had a teaching job where I had to grade my students, so this will change everything in a way.

Despite all that, though, the most difficult thing for me is waking up in the morning. You may know that I am a "night person" by temperament; well, high school teachers are required to arrive at school before 7:30 in the morning. (This must have something to do with the "old days," when Americans were all farmers.) As a result, I have to wake up well before six. I have a feeling that in the days to come, coffee will be my new best friend.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sweet memories

Meaghan's school made her do a "technology orientation requirement" that involved a bunch of simple tests in computer and internet literacy. The final piece was to write a simple web page in html, including two web links, one photo, and a link to a .pdf version of a 3-slide powerpoint.

The choice of topic was free, so Meaghan decided to post this love letter to Srce, one of our favorite KG hangouts.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Montana wedding

Nothing much going on. I'm at yet another temp job, and at this particular moment I have no work to do. It's the perfect opportunity to take care of some old business, and I owe you a story about the wedding I attended in Montana. This was the story so far. Now, here's what I meant by scenery:

This is Flathead Lake viewed from the wedding site. When I took this picture, I was standing on the wooden deck around the lodge building, looking out over the lake at around 9:00 in the morning. The lake is one of the most strikingly beautiful things I've ever seen.

While Serbian wedding ceremonies take place in the city hall and the Orthodox church, officiants in the US are free to conduct weddings pretty much anywhere, and many couples choose outdoor locations. (I myself was married in the Public Garden in Boston.) This trend explains why The Simpsons' Reverend Lovejoy lamented that more people don't get married "inside the church with God, instead of out here in the cheap showiness of nature."

In this case, the choice of location was also one way that the couple adapted the wedding ceremony to reflect themselves and their personality: the groom, A., grew up in nearby Kalispell, Montana. Naturally, he became an avid hiker, skier, and all-around mountain man; in addition to being convenient for his family and beautiful to look at, the Flathead Valley has an important meaning in his life. In a way, I felt that I got to know him better by just being there.

Aside from the setting, an original poem written and read by a friend, and the choice of music - during the ceremony, a string quartet played, among other things, familiar melodies from The Beatles and Radiohead - the wedding was pretty traditional. A. had his best man and three groomsmen in tuxedoes; K., the bride, had her maid of honor and three bridesmaids in matching red dresses; K.'s father walked her down the aisle; they read the traditional vows from the prayer book.

It was the first time I'd been to see friends of mine get married. The last wedding I attended was my own, nearly three years ago, and it was much less traditional. We invited only fifteen people, read silly love poetry, signed a Jewish marriage contract, and were married by a justice of the peace (not clergy) who did not mention God or use the phrase "till death do you part." It was a perfect wedding for Meaghan and me, and I've been very snobby about our decisions since then, assuming that people who had "big" weddings were sacrificing their own best interests for the sake of family pressure and tradition.

Attending A. and K.'s wedding helped me to understand why someone might actually want a big wedding. During the rehearsal dinner, which is a smaller gathering held the night before the wedding, they distributed lists of phrases describing guests who were present, such as "once transported horses across the Atlantic" or "lived on a farm in Taiwan." (Mine was "knows how to dance Argentine tango.") We were instructed to match our fellow guests to the descriptions, just like on the first day of a language class. Of course, his relatives received descriptions of her family, and vice versa.

During this activity (and in between conversations with random North Dakotan relatives) I spoke briefly to A. and K. They were taking in the spectacle of all these people meeting - their parents, cousins, friends from high school and college, everyone they care about. It was like seeing their whole life in one place. What better way to celebrate the symbolic joining of their two lives, than by physically bringing all the important people together in one place?