Le Prof Francaise

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 01 2011

Coming Back Home

I’m moving back to my hometown of Detroit (well this time I might live in a suburb, but you get the point).  I’m not sure how I feel about this.  I certainly want to give back to an inner-city community, but does it have to be my community?  As in, my original community?  I know that this sounds terrible, but just hear me out.  I always thought that I would settle in some other city and devote myself to worthy social justice causes in a brand new milieu.  And while that still might happen after my two-year commitment in Detroit, I never thought I’d live here again.  I currently live in Seattle and I’ve come to really like it here.

It’s not just leaving behind Michigan that appeals to me.  It’s the sense of independence and adventure that comes with living in a new state (or country, even).  I liken it to living in a small town, feeling smothered by it, and aching to get out and start life anew.  Just because Detroit is a big city doesn’t mean that I can’t get the same feeling of claustrophobia that one can experience growing up in Deckerville, Michigan (population:871).  As soon as I graduated, I left the nest and didn’t look back.   I still talked to my family regularly and came home for holidays; it’s not as though it was familial relations that I scorned.  I just needed to  leave.  I had lived in Detroit for 18 years; Michigan for 22 (I went to U of M).  It was time for a change of scenery (and weather).  Needless to say, this is a bittersweet situation.  I am overjoyed to be joining TFA’s ranks, yet I am less than enthused to be heading back to the D.

Sure, my parents and grandparents live in Detroit, and it will be wonderful to see them regularly.  I miss my family, but I honestly don’t miss Detroit, or the state of Michigan in general.  Like I said, sometimes you just grow out of a place and need something new.  My aunt lives in Ohio, my brother lives in Baltimore (via Atlanta), my stepfather lives in Washington state (yes, you read that correctly.  He and my mom have a unique, bi-coastal marriage),  my cousins live in Boston and New York City, and so on and so forth.  Everyone is spread out, and while it made for sparsely populated holiday events and family reunions, I accepted it, and even came to embrace it.

I don’t miss Detroit.  There are aspects that I love about this city, and even the things I dislike are also things I am willing to vehemently defend if anyone tries to disparage the Motor City.  I will always love it, and hate it, and above all, support and defend it.  But I didn’t want to come back.

But now that I am back, I am going to make the most of it.  I will work tirelessly to do my part to close the Achievement Gap.  And in two years, who knows where I’ll be?  I might decide to stay after all.

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    A day in the life of a French teacher in Detroit

    High School
    Foreign Language

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