Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting Oriented (in, oh, so many ways)

Today marks the end of our first week in Phoenix -- and what a week it was...

We were able to get our power turned on (finally!) early Tuesday afternoon, only to discover that the AC in our unit wasn't functioning very well -- or at all. Two repairmen struggled with the unit for about two hours on Tuesday night to no avail. Joe and I decided to purchase a small window AC unit for the bedroom that night, and brave sleeping in our own bed for the first time in nearly a week. An AC technician arrived (sent by my horrifyingly apologetic property manager who had been dealing with the crisis since day one) around 11:00 AM, and by noon we finally felt the sweet, sweet kiss of artificially cooled air. Since the power company had yet to hook up the meter to our power box, we indulged and cranked our thermostat down to 64 in order to get a jump start on the whole "cooling" process. We've been enjoying a wonderful, steady 72 degrees for the last two days. Oh, what a difference a temperature change makes to soothe a cranky graduate student and her long-suffering husband.

All this angst comes from moving to Phoenix during what the locals call "monsoon season." I didn't know Arizona was susceptible to monsoons. I don't like monsoon season. Monsoon season, roughly translated for those of you who are not here, means that you feel as though you may explode from the sudden rush of heat that meets you when you leave an air conditioned building, but you feel assured that the oppressive humidity would quench the fire before it did too much damage. For the last two evenings, we've watched the sky turn all shades of gray, black, and purple, before unleashing some scary windy conditions and downpours that left our parking lot looking like a small lake in the morning. Locals have assured us that this year is the worst monsoon season they've seen in a while, although I'm not sure if this statement is made to comfort us with the possibility that next year will be better, or to make us feel somehow foolish for our decision to move to Phoenix during the most uncomfortable month of the year. I choose to think it is the former...

We've slowly but surely been working to put things away in our new house. Joe and I have each snagged a guest room as "offices." Although this townhome isn't much bigger than our house in IF, it seems to be laid out more efficiently, and has plenty of storage space. Oddly enough, we have our first "upstairs" of our married life, and our new bedroom is bigger than any we've had. I can't wait until it cools down a bit so that I can get to work on our little yard area just off our patio doors.

I started my new TA orientation at ASU yesterday. I had nervous tummy all the way to campus -- running over all the scenarios in my mind. What if no one liked me? What if I said something inadvertently offensive during the first class? What if it was discovered that I was a horrible teacher and I was ousted to the curb in a hail of garbage? Fortunately, none of this happened. Yet. Most of the TAs in the class are new to the area as well, so griping about the heat became one of the most common conversation starters throughout the day. Everyone was friendly and outgoing, and I heard some of the most refreshing conversations about teaching that I've heard in a long time due to the mix of experienced and new instructors in the group. I was also able to begin networking with two of my new fellow Renaissance scholars (I felt a little like I was pledging a gang), and have enjoyed nerdily lunching with them for the last two days, indulging our pretentiousness with academic glee. They even offered to take me out for a small-ish birthday celebration tomorrow!

Surprisingly enough, I'm starting to feel right at home here in Phoenix. (I thought it would take much longer.) My colleagues in the English department that I've met so far seem friendly, approachable, and down-to-earth. I've met people from as varied locations as Bosnia and Thailand. Many of the students in my group have spent years teaching English abroad, and hearing of their experiences doing so is fascinating. I'm enjoying the fact that Tempe (and the students I've met so far) seem like they have big-city tastes with smaller-town sensibilities. Everyone seems to appreciate the laid-back atmosphere that the area has to offer, and I look forward to socializing with many of them for the next five years!

No comments:

Post a Comment