Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Need for Speed IV: Tractor Showdown

Dear Ypsilanti,

I’m about sleep for the second night in the state of Mississippi. There are 317 new people here with me, plus second year Corps members, and staff. We are Legion. Last night I went with three guys to watch the NBA Finals. One was from Miami, the other Dallas and the other Sacramento. We had a good time and the Dallas Miami connection made the game more engaging. When do you get that level of emotional involvement?

Hey Joe's is a little Indie bar near a Delta State University. The servers were friendly and accommodating to the Corps members that swarmed that bar. Old Rolling Stone Magazines were cut up and stuck under plastic at each table. The table cloths, combined with the record store at the front, gave the whole place a comforting aura. While we drank a rusted suit of armor hung suspended from the ceiling and oversaw our attempt to get acclaimed with Cleveland, Mississippi.
It’s crazy to meet people who have never been to Michigan, let alone Ypsilanti. I feel small. The network I established is way up there and now I’m way down here in a dorm room with suitemates and a roommate from Idaho. I’m typing this while sprawled out on my dorm mattress and all its glory. In many ways this feels like step back. Five weeks of dorm food and dorm life, but there is air conditioning. I look past these five weeks and see the challenges of first year teaching, but also my own place. There’s a vision of hanging up all the pictures I had framed before I left and filling my bookshelves…all those nest building activities.
I’m extremely grateful to be here. Each moment I spend with Teach for America I realize what an amazing opportunity I’ve stumbled into. Everyone around me has accomplished so much, and the diversity is incredible.

When I first drove into the Delta I merged off the main freeway onto the small side road that took me all the way to Delta State. I drove past an hour of cotton and wheat fields. I’ve never sweat so much in my life. On the way I passed a police car. The sirens flashed and wailed, all in the effort to intimidate the tractor driver in his cab fifteen feet above the ground. At the moment, drenched in salt water under the oppressive dominance of the sun, the difference of the Delta began to show itself.
Tomorrow I have the hiring fair, which will allegedly secure me a placement (which is the term TFA uses for teaching position). From 9am to 1pm I’ll be at Delta State’s Coliseum meeting with many of the Delta’s Administrators (No doubt I am a gladiator). On Saturday we’re being welcomed to Greenville for the annual Catfish Fry. TFA’s paying for all our beer and fish (all we can and eat and drink). I know I’ll have some good stories to regard that.


I’ll have more to report soon that’s exciting and intellectual. For now you’re getting my diary style letters.

Oh one last thing. Delta State's Mascott is the Fighting Okra

Need I say more?



PS leave a comment.It can be a hip-hop track or a picture of you giving me the thumbs up, whatever you'd like.


  1. Good luck today! Can't wait to hear more! love you. xo

  2. Recipe for Killer Okra (I think you had this already, right?)
    Slice up a few young okra so they look like stars.
    Add a few drops water, a few drops soy sauce, and fewer drops sesame oil.
    Whip with spoon or chopsticks.
    Enjoy delicious slimy mess.

    In Icelandic:
    okra (Verb)
    practice usury

    Your story remembers me my dorm room in Tsukuba. Coming there for the first time was the worst and best day of my life. I envy you and I don't. hugs. -e