code school

When mom called for her daily phone call a couple of weeks ago, I told my mom I finally found a job.

"Good, because I was praying for you,” she says.

Mom usually isn’t the type to pray for anyone; none of us has ever since Angela, who was always super religious, stopped going to church because “she was mechanically stuck,” her words. “God failed her” is how I chose to interpret that, just like He failed mom and dad and I. But mom’s new friend Kathleen has been taking her to church, and it sounds like she’s has been turning to religion more and more, probably as a way to find answers to problems that have no easy solutions. I’d protest, but I’m just glad she’s interacting with other people.


So yeah, I’m teaching at an eleven-week instructional course on web development at a local coding school.

People have told me that “makes sense” as a next career move, and I don’t disagree — I am big about empathy, I want to see local folks succeed. I’m warned that teaching the first cohort is the hardest. So far, that’s pretty accurate, trying to adapt the curriculum of previous instructors in my voice. I’m trying to be as eyes-open and purposeful in this position as I can, more so than I have at jobs previous.

I never thought to teach would ever be part of my career plan, but let’s be honest, I never thought I’d be moving to Miami, either.

This section was supposed to be about my last four months, searching for a job. I’ve re-written this section about five times.

I wrote about my resentment and depression, the low-key identity and career crisis, about simultaneously being proud of my partner hitting an apex of his creative career while accepting I will probably never hit the benchmarks I’ve set for myself.

All of it revisited pretty dark mental spaces, and given the first half of 2019 was also an emotional tailspin, I’m cool with not being in that headspace for a while.

But I’d be lying in saying there was nothing positive to be gained from that either. I learned a bunch about all the technologies I fell behind in the past three years. I was reminded that humans are social creatures. I tried to write a screenplay based on what happened this spring and realized that maybe that subject, in particular, was still a little too raw to write. I created this newsletter, the one you’re reading now.

“I started teaching at a code school,” I say to mom on the phone. The phrase “code school” is in English. I legitimately don’t know if she knows what a code school is, and I don’t know how to say the word “vocational.” I debate whether to use “for-profit.” I veto myself.

There is silence on the phone. Maybe she thinks I entered multi-level marketing.

“Computers,” I say in Chinese. “I teach computers.”

Mom pauses a couple of beats. “Well, I’ll continue praying for you,” she replies. “Just in case you want to find something better.”