Monday, October 28, 2013

Googly-Eyed Storytime: How We Met

My friend wrote her (very long, multiple installment) how-we-met-and-started-dating-and-now-we-have-4-kids story a little while back and it was actually one of those kicks in the butt to start documenting digitally (I mean, I could have and have written things physically, but there are pros and cons to it, just as with this blog). So, in a hopefully shorter amount of time than "How I Met Your Mother," here is part 1 of Nate's and my story.

Back story 1: The last semester of a music ed degree is a student teaching practicum. Because you get a K-12 teaching certification, you have to do half of your student teaching at an elementary level and the other half at a secondary level - either middle or high. In Fairfax County, "elementary" is usually K-6, but I happened to be placed with a guy who was working with two of the three middle schools that have 6th grade. The spring student teachers spend the first half with elementary, partly because the middle and high schools are dealing with District Festival/Assessment preparations during that time and no teacher is going to want some college kid to come in and screw up their group right before they're performing for a grade.

Back story 2: I went to high school and college (George Mason University, whaaaat!) in Fairfax County. It's so densely populated that there are 25 secondary/high schools in the county. When you add in the Arlington, Alexandria, and private schools, it makes sense that the state music educator's association would split this geographically small area into three separate districts; most of the other districts are county-sized or larger. I grew up in district 12, went to college in 11, and student taught in 10.

It was halfway through my last semester of college - student teaching. Specifically, it was March 3rd, and the only reason I know is because it was the day before my 23rd birthday. I was just starting my last week with the 5th and 6th graders and was very ready to be moving on to the high school. I had spent some of the previous semesters observing and helping out with the Falls Church band program, but due to a misunderstanding as to the necessary qualifications for a cooperating teacher (as well as a desire to spread my experiences), I was going to be at their rival, JEB Stuart. However, I still had a very fond attachment to the FCHS kids and director, and I knew that they would be having their last pre-concert and Festival rehearsal that afternoon, so I drove over after school let out so I could visit and listen to the kids.

I showed up to an empty band room. Apparently, they had an extraordinary rehearsal, and John (the director) let them out early as a reward and to not overwork them. So we sat in his office and chatted for a bit before I asked why he was still there if there were no kids. As it turned out, he hosted an area band every Monday evening for select 6th graders from surrounding schools. He handed me a program from their upcoming concert; as I looked through the names from the area band, I saw a handful of students from my 6th grade classes. I even recognized one of the directors since he was a saxophonist who had gotten his masters at Mason. As I wondered why I'd never heard of this group, a young, cute guy in jeans and a green polo with white horizontal stripes stuck his head in John's office and said he needed someone to take a picture for him. So I went and took a picture of Nate with a goofy expression sitting under a giant, empty t-shirt box so he could send it to some of his coworkers.

And right there, you know he's an elementary school teacher. At the time, I thought it was kind of dumb, but I later found out that Nate just wanted to have an excuse to talk to me.

As the time kept ticking closer to the start of rehearsal, I knew I should probably leave - I was librarian for an ensemble that rehearsed on Monday evenings and I generally wasted spent a few hours sitting in the music library just in case, but nobody ever needed anything. I decided that the experience of an area band rehearsal would be a little more practical, especially since it was going to dissolve for the year after the pyramid/pre-Festival concert on Thursday. So I sat and chatted and tried teaching 6th graders some marching basics when we all got kicked out because of a fire alarm and tried to be friendly but not flirty and hoped he wasn't Catholic but found out he was and went out as a group for drinks after rehearsal and exchanged numbers with both the area band directors so I could network and found out that of all days THAT was the one where nobody seemed to have what they needed for rehearsal and everyone was looking for me.

I made my way back to campus, put out any of the fires necessary, and prepped for an observation the next day (which, for the record, was awful - I'll tell that story if anyone has any desire whatsoever). I don't know what I was expecting, but on Wednesday, as I was walking through the halls of the performing arts building with my mom for some reason (I wish I could remember why - I don't think it was a concert that I was performing in because we couldn't be in ensembles while student teaching, but I don't know why else my mom would be there), my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and: Nate. I didn't know what to do other than let it go to voicemail, which I listened to later in the music library. 

It was him asking me out on a date.

I called him back to turn him down.

Remember how I said that I was trying to be friendly but not flirty and how I was hoping he wasn't Catholic?

That's because even though we hit it off extremely well....I was dating someone else.

Next time, on Googly-Eyed Storytime: What will the boyfriend say? Will Nate persist? Who does she choose (hint: it's the one I married)? Tune in next...whenever I update it!


  1. Ohhhh so excited for more!!! I had no idea you were dating someone else when you met - I just assumed you were music ed majors together in college... The drama! The intrigue!