Oh how long it’s been! I am unable to get onto WordPress where I currently am, and haven’t had much extra time to travel to public Wifi/when I’m around it I forget that this is something I want to do!
My time on the reservation is passing so quickly and easily, which is both a blessing and a curse. At this point, I have five weeks left, one of which is Thanksgiving.
I have developed wonderful relationships with my co-teachers and the students around me, and though things were rocky at first, they have smoothed out almost perfectly and I really feel like I fit in here. I will be sad to leave, but at the same time I am ready to get life started and figure out where I’m headed.
I have gone many places on weekend trips, but my favorites have been Moab, Utah, Durango, Colorado, and Flagstaff, Arizona. Flagstaff is the perfect college town that I would love to live in for far longer than just college years. Especially now that fall has (mostly) come to the Southwest, being in a town like that is absolutely dreamy. One-of-a-kind stores and restaurants make me feel like I’m truly on vacation, and it’s fun to walk around, drinking coffee and window shopping. I’m here now and spent last night wandering around during the the First Friday Art Walk and can’t wait to get a coffee and do more exploring today.
Moab was an entirely different, and yet similar, experience. I was with my good friend and we spent our time exploring, hiking, and off-roading (sorry, Dad). Moab is about a 3 hour drive through Arizona and Utah, which is a place I had previously never visited. I hope to go back this weekend now that fall is back (so maybe when I’m posting this I will be there)!
Durango was one of the first trips I took over Labor Day Weekend, and I completely fell in love. I went horseback riding and quickly made friends with my instructor (I hope I can get back to Durango before I leave to see her!) and did more exploring, thinking, writing, and reading. My weekend trips are definitely my me-time, and while I love traveling with my teacher friends, it’s always nice to relax and contemplate life alone. Yes that is actually what I do in my free time! I’m just dying over all these quaint, hippie towns and could see my self living happily in every one of them.
AKA the Burger King 15 miles away. I can’t truly express all that I am feeling right now…but so far I have spent two nights here on the Reservation, one day in school, and one day exploring the surroundings due to school cancellation.The people are so incredibly warm and welcoming, from the teachers I’ve met to the dorm staff to locals waving to me from their cars. The students are clean cut, quiet, and respectful, which is a huge change from my previous student teaching experience. The school is beautiful with more resources than I expected, and despite the poverty and struggle so evident here, it seems that there is also a great quality of life.Many Farms is located near Chinle and Canyon de Chelly, both of which are already making my time here easier to navigate. After realizing that the water at school was turned off today (and no one let me know school was cancelled), I spent the day exploring the canyon and nearby areas and soaking in my surroundings just a little bit more. Despite the overall feeling of desolation, there is so much beauty here, from the people to the pure terracotta magic available in every direction.
And we made it to Albuquerque! Tonight is my last night before reaching the Reservation and surprisingly the nerves are still yet to sink in. In the morning we are heading to Many Farms where I will be living for the next four months. I am still feeling so neutral about the whole thing – I think I’m more nervous that I’m not nervous!
I’ve been able to cross a few more states off my bucket list task of visiting all 50: Oklahoma and New Mexico. Last night’s stop in Oklahoma City was a bit bizarre to say the least and I’m digging Albuquerque a lot more. The dry heat seems ok – even though it’s 95 I’ve yet to sweat. We’ll see how August in Arizona goes, but I’m taking this as a good sign!
If you are reading this, you probably know at least a little bit about me and my journey. If not, thanks for coming along! I am completing my master’s degree through Indiana University’s Navajo Nation program. For the next four months, I am going to be teaching on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. It’s going to be an incredible journey, and it’s finally beginning.
My dad and I are driving out to the Reservation together and St. Louis is the first stop on the books. Keep checking back for more information on our trip and the start of my adventure out west.