In 2000, I was about four months into my first "real job" - as a math and physics teacher at Mercersburg Academy. Mercersburg is a small rural town in south-central Pennsylvania. I had moved there partially to please a boyfriend, who then promptly broke up with me. (He thought he might be in DC but ended up in Boston.) My favorite uncle died just a month after I started my job. I did have my beloved pooch, Penny, to keep me sane and prevent me from being too lonely.
I remember that I taught four classes: Conceptual Physics, Honors Algebra II, and two sections of PreCalculus. I had some wonderful students and some terrible ones. I coached tennis and played the carillon, and lived in Swank Hall with about forty 10th, 11th, and 12th grade girls.
That summer, I returned to Dartmouth to try to finish my PhD in experimental physics. What a joke! My advisor had washed his hands of me and was actually getting ready to quit, although we didn't know it yet. My mother was moving and trying to sell the house. I had a terrible time between dealing with my melt-down in my academic life and not knowing where I'd be living from week to week. And yet... it was also the most important summer of my life, because the DH and I started dating! We'd been friends for the previous four years but somehow never got the timing right, romantically. By the end of the summer we were unofficially engaged; we got the ring at Thanksgiving and finished meeting each other's extended families at Christmas.
I don't think I have any photos from that era; if I do, they're on paper in a box somewhere.