A fresh North Bergen breeze

Trip Start Aug 07, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Flag of United States  , New Jersey
Thursday, October 1, 2009

Well, today was a bittersweet day in North Bergen. Bitter, because we left our absolutely wonderful Ramada Inn. Goodbye, bacon and egg breakfast. Goodbye, leather recliner. Goodbye pillow-top-comforter bed. And sweet, because it was our last North Bergen day.

It started off stressfully. We got out a little later than normal, and traffic was heavier than normal. That, and TomTom didn't know the school's address we entered. He could get us to the street, but we didn't know where exactly.

Our school was the Robert Fulton School Annex. The main school was one of the awful Monday schools. The annex is a small, bilingual school that focuses on teaching English as a second language. It was, again, located in the cramped, dirty, urban sidestreets of North Bergen. But TomTom's random guess at the address turned out to be exactly where the school was! We were met at the door by a custodian who instructed us to drive around back to the parking lot. (A parking lot! I didn't know they existed in these Bergen schools!) Sure enough, we pulled right up to the gymnasium door and unloaded the van. What a relief! No stairs, no awkward auditoriums, friendly staff... it was the start of a good show.

And really, the set-up went smoothly. We had to dodge students eating breakfast and walking to and from the cafeteria tables in the room, but they were out of our way most of the time.

Small audience. There were no more than 50 kids in attendance, and a few of them didn't understand English yet. The school requested English subtitles, which we obliged. Maybe it's easier for the kids to understand the English when they can read it as well as listen to it.

After the show, Mr. Becker (the district supervisor, our "boss" this week) led a discussion and Q/A. We answered a whole range of questions--some pertinent, most just stalling to avoid going back to class.

We bid farewell to Mr. Becker and shared our mutual appreciation of working with each other this week. He gave us his card, and we packed up and moved out.

It was a rather refreshing school experience! It's been such a tough, draining, vigorous week, with double schools each day in a tough neighborhood. Today, though, was a small little school with easy access and little hassle. And we had the afternoon off!

The afternoon was spent doing our first-of-the-month chores. We got our oil changed and mailed our monthly paperwork. While we waited for the oil change, Kelsey bought some new sneakers. (That's not a monthly chore :)

We landed in Delaware tonight. Our hotel was right next to an Applebee's, where we had a really great dinner. We'd done so many microwave dinners lately, it's novelty again to go out to eat. Kelsey had a sirloin, I had ribs. Each with a side of mashed potatoes--the best we've had.

But anyway. We've got an early show in the morning. I've gotta head to bed. In summary, though, Bergen week was the hardest yet. I found myself easily discouraged, easily frustrated, and stressed... which I regret. But the great thing about the job is that the video will always speak for itself, and make an impact on the kids regardless of our failures. And, well, I learned that whenever it is that Kelsey and I get a little home somewhere... it won't be in New Jersey.

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