Finally in a House, with a Friend
Trip Start Apr 30, 2010
52Trip End Sep 05, 2010
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The Real Monterey Update!
We were so happy to finally sit on a couch with a beer and a good friend to catch up! Geoff was delighted too – it had been a long time since he could make witty Montreal inside jokes and get a chuckle. Geoff and I have been friends since we were in our late teens. While he went to Loyola, the brother school to the girls' high school I went to, we really met and became friends through sailing. We have shared a lot of great days on the water, funny memories at regattas, and probably some car rides and tents over the years.
Geoff is a pretty nomadic guy – a map with pins of all the places he’s explored and lived in would be pretty impressive I’d bet. About a year and a half ago, after being fairly settled in Montreal working the 9-to-5 desk grind, he called me up out of the blue. With urgency in his voice, he really wanted to meet to talk, soon. I think it was actually the next day that he dropped in for a cup of tea. He really wanted to know how to get into teaching.
We chatted a lot that night. He was burnt out of working for the man and didn’t feel engaged in what he was doing. He has always liked teaching – like a lot of my friends he taught sailing for years – and he now wanted to make a career in education. I offered as many tips as I could think of about getting started in substitute teaching, various education programs across the country, and some of the pros and cons of the profession.
About two weeks later, my phone rang again, and once more Geoff really needed to talk. Could we go for a beer that night? A couple of hours later, over a pint at the local watering hole Else’s, he told me that he had quit his job soon after our first conversation and had just completed his very first day of substitute teaching. The kids are crazy, Jenny! How do you deal with it?! We had another great conversation over the course of the next couple of hours, and in the following months Geoff landed a substitute contract teaching History and English at one of the public high schools in the suburbs.
We touched base now and then to exchange ideas, celebrate small victories or occasionally vent a little. In the spring, he asked if I could write him a letter of recommendation: He was applying to an Education program in California, a one-year degree that, combined with his undergrad, would accredit him a teaching license. Having known Geoff a long time, and seen him teach at junior sailing school as well as volunteer with the adapted sailing program, I have seen his talent and enthusiasm and was delighted to write the letter.
Flash forward to mid-July. Around noon one day, Geoff walks into the AQVA office and announces, "Well, Jenny, that must have been a pretty solid letter you wrote, a good school in California is willing to let me into their program to become a teacher". Grinning, he continued, “I’ve got some time on my hands and owe you a favour – I’m volunteering with AQVA all week, starting now. I’m ready to go – who’s coming sailing today?” Minutes later, he was headed out of harbor accompanying one of our sailors in a Martin 16.
Later on that day, I also promised him that I would come visit him in California – a place I’ve always wanted to go – and so ten months later, here I was hanging out on Geoff Gales’ couch in Marina, CA. We marveled for a while at the facts that Geoff was now weeks away from his degree, and I had held my promise.
In the morning, Matt and I had a very lazy start to the day, recovering from the skiing and drive. We did a few groceries and were sipping coffee (Geoff had kindly labeled the whole kitchen with
Geoff took us to Monterey where we walked on the warm sands of the beach (surreal after yesterday’s blizzard) and then headed to Fisherman’s Wharf. The Wharf is a charming little section of dock by the sea, filled with little touristy shops and seafood restaurants. The various restaurants compete for your dollar by offering free samples of clam chowder as you stroll by. Geoff was a seasoned pro and knew exactly how quickly to slurp each sample so he’d be
Geoff also took us to Cannery Row, of John Steinbeck fame, where the canneries used to
We eventually made our way back to the restaurant for a full serving of their smoky chowder, fish and chips and some cold Coronas. A great day with a great friend!