Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Crisis of finishing my first real year of teaching, what do to all summer??? Summer of 2007

As my first year of teaching in the warehouse called Paradigm High School came to an end I really did have a bit of a crisis.  What in the world was I going to do all summer?  I was now living in an adult world where all my friends didn't have summers off.  So my great idea?  Or more accurately describe, the great idea of an old George Wythe friend who was a sales manager of a pest control company?  Move to Atlanta, Georgia and sell pest control for the summer.  Looking back, honestly I can't believe I thought this was a good idea.  I don't know what I was thinking.  Morgan, the sales manager of that area, did a great job "selling" me on the idea.  He told me since he was the manager he'd really take care of me.  I would never have to be alone.  He would only put me in really good safe neighborhoods.  He would really help me out.  It would be an awesome experience.

So a couple of weeks later I was on an airplane headed to a suburb north of Atlanta.  I honestly don't remember much of this whole experience.  I remember a couple hours of training on what to say and how to convince people they needed to buy our product.  What I didn't realize until I got there was we weren't just convincing people to buy pest control, we were convincing them to break their contract with their current company to SWITCH to our company.  Silly Kristin.  With my little experience in the South, I had no idea that everyone ALREADY had a pest control guy.  But I gave myself a pep talk that if I can handle punk teenagers all day, certainly I can sell some people on my pest control company.

The next day was the day to get baptized by fire.  Of course Morgan did nothing to help me out or give me special treatment.  (That was all just a ploy to get me to be on his team)  I was pawned off on some guy I didn't know who had a car.  We stopped at the grocery store where I bought a gallon of water and some granola bars to  survive a hot muggy June day in Georgia and we were off.  This kid dropped me off in some neighborhood and told me he would be back to get me in 8 hours.  8 hours.  If something happened to me, no one would even bat an eye for at least 8 hours!  Oh and Dogs. Everywhere.  I tried knocking on a few doors.  Most people weren't home.  Some told me they weren't interested.  Some told me it would cost a lot of money to get out of their other pest control contract.  (Of course no one mentioned this in our training)  And then I got to an actually decently nice development community.  I felt much safer there and I was excited to try selling in there!  Then I saw the big sign that said, "NO soliciting in this neighborhood."  Great.  Morgan had taught us in our training to not pay attention to these signs.  He said these neighborhoods were often the best.  Well, you can imagine what happened next.  I got yelled at (for good reason) at every door I knocked on.

I have no idea how long I had been out knocking doors.  It had to be quite a few hours because I remember the sun was starting to set.  But I am assuming it didn't take me long to realize, I was not cut out for this.  So I sat down on the curb and just bawled.  A man from the neighborhood who had rejected me earlier came out of his house and went out for a run.  Just my luck, he was doing laps around the neighborhood and kept running by me.  The first few times he ran passed I just avoided eye contact.  On his third around he asked, "Are you okay sweetie?"  I tried to gain my composure as I nodded that I was fine.  He said, "You know, there isn't soliciting in this neighborhood so that's probably why you aren't finding much success."  I graciously thank him for his advice as he went on his way.

I just sat there and wondered what in the world I was doing?  A 24 year old girl from southern Utah sitting on some curb deep in the South trying to sell a product I didn't understand.  The biggest problem was I wasn't desperate for money.  I realized only someone who really needed money was cut out for this job.  Sure my first teaching job was quite meager, $27,000 a year.  But for a single girl with very few needs I was doing just fine!   Also another thing I remember thinking was if I was going to do something so insane as knock on peoples' doors it better be for a good reason.  I should go on a mission!  At least then it's a product I believe in!

I am pretty sure at that moment I promised God if He got me out of this horrible situation, I would go on a mission.  (The heat and stress makes one do and say some pretty crazy things)

By this point the sun was set and it was getting dark, another stupid situation for a girl by herself to get into.  I was cursing Morgan and his "I'll take care of you" sales pitch.  But I looked over into a wooded area and blinked.  I thought I saw flickers of light in the woods.  I must have been going crazy! And then it happened again and again.  What in the world????  And then I realized.  I remember them from the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.  Fireflies!!!  I had never seen them before.  I probably didn't even believe they really existed.  I surely didn't know they blinked on and off.  But there they were!  I remember the joy of seeing fireflies really lifted my spirits.  And I decided I needed to come up with a plan of how in the world I was going to get out of Georgia.

My sister Sara's family with her husband and 2 little boys had just moved from Florida to Annapolis, Maryland.  Nate was a doctor at the Naval Academy.  She had told me she had an extra bedroom at her new house.  So I called Sara and asked if I could come live with her for the summer.  And with that I packed my bags and got out of Georgia as fast as I could.

(I don't have a single picture from my time in Atlanta.  I think I was hoping to forget the whole thing ever happened)
Annapolis, Maryland is arguably one of my favorite places in all of America.  I feel like it is as close to what real colonial United States used to look like.  It has a charm that I feel DC has lost to accommodate the millions of tourist each year.  I love everything about Annapolis.  The sailboat culture.  The Colonial architecture.  The picturesque touristy streets filled with local businesses.  I love Annapolis.

So the summer of 2007 was spent going for runs through beautiful Annapolis and along the Chesapeake Bay, helping Sara and Nate with their two boys, visiting DC, and road tripping up to Palmrya NY to hang out with my parents.

4th of July parade down Main Street

The Sacred Grove

But the most entertaining part of the summer was dating! This was where I truly learned the contrast of being a big fish in a small pond versus being a very very small fish in a huge pond.  In Provo I was nothing special.  A college graduate good, capable, fun girl working as a teacher.  I rarely went on dates in Provo.  In Annapolis (or surrounding areas like Baltimore or DC) I would go to one singles activity and come home with 4-5 dates.  It was awesome!  The two guys that stood out the most during this time were the Anesthesiologist resident in Baltimore and the Genetic Specialist graduate intern in DC.  I had a great time exploring DC, Annapolis, and Baltimore with them.  Obviously nothing panned out with either of them in the end but man did we have a good time!

So the summer of 2007 didn't end up how I expected but man it ended of being a wonderful summer!

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