In under two months, I’m moving halfway across the country. When I say this, it becomes more real. I’m not moving my entire household at once; my husband is staying in Kansas to finish out his job. And we have no place to move to, as of yet. I’ll be enjoying the fine guest rooms of AirBnB for the first few weeks I am in Pennsylvania as I start a new job and look for a place to live simultaneously.
This move is complicated in a lot of ways. I’m not working in my field, right now. My husband is in his favorite job. We live in a place neither of us like. I’m homesick for PA, he would like to live closer to his Kansas family, and/or civilization. He is giving up his Best Job Possible so that I can have my Best Job Possible. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and regret.
It’s complicated. It’s the joy of moving to a town with a Starbuck’s and working higher up in my chosen field tinged with the regret of my husband leaving his job, and the pain our lengthy separation will bring. It’s the logistics of moving a household piecemeal across the country with two old cars, a dog, and a handful of cats. It’s the chaos of moving to a place without a place to live already secured. I get grey hairs thinking about it.
That all said, I am ready. I’m ready to leave some of the deeper negative aspects of this place behind. I’m ready for a more challenging job in my actual field. I’m ready for the new faces and places. While that’s all perfectly scary, it’s also warm and comforting to know that the situation, while Unknown, has so much potential. The only thing constant is change, and I had been stagnating recently.
I used to have a very specific list of activities I enjoyed. My last two moves haven’t made room for those things in my life. I’m hoping to get those back. I’m hoping to get back a healthier cooking situation, visits to the dog park, and sitting outside on my porch while I write. I miss visiting small local businesses and being a familiar face in the community. Right now my life lacks a dog park and a porch, and easily accessible local places that have things that I want and need. I’m nostalgic, sure. But I think the things I look back upon fondly from several moves ago are attainable in my new situation.
I will be closer to my family. Three hours by car is so much easier than twenty. My husband will be losing easier access to his family, but I’m hoping that being near a major airport will allow him to visit at least as often as being a four hour desolate car drive away did (which is surprisingly not often, really).
I look forward to living in a college town again. We’ll also be near a larger town, again. Granted the larger town will be State College, PA. Which means it will be filled with *shudder* Penn State fans. But there is a certain atmosphere of learning and possibility that I miss.
Heck, I look forward to living in a place with trees and hills. You don’t realize how much those things are part of you, until you live in a place devoid of both. Even other areas in Kansas have things like the Foothills, rolling green lands shaped by receding glaciers, which are beautiful to look at especially at dusk and dawn, or the Leavenworth area, which was so full of old tall trees and hills that I seldom missed home as acutely as I do now.
There are other things that get into you, when you grow up in a place. Things you carry with you that you don’t think you do. Like the Memory of a place. The culture and the history seep into you, and when you go to another place, the lack of those things that are an essential and unnoticed part of your makeup feel like a gaping void in a new place. It’s own history and culture don’t fill that hole; that can only be done by a past that is uniquely your own.
I miss Italian grandmas and pierogies and fireworks for the sake of fireworks. It’s not just a matter of missing them. It’s a matter of needing them, somehow, in my life. I know the place I am moving to won’t be exactly like that. But it’s closer physically and culturally to that missed history that I crave.
It’s too early, yet, to know what I will miss from a decade in Kansas. My in-laws, certainly. My nieces. The custard place that is so bad for you, and yet so good. The plethora of stars that you can see away from city lights (I honestly didn’t know it was possible) and seeing the sun set all the way at the horizon, and not behind a tall building or hill. I think those are fair things to miss. But there will be a lot I am glad to be rid of, too. A town isolated from everything and some personal troubles that were exacerbated by that isolation. No twenty-four hour diner. Lack of a bloody coffee shop. Some things are just inexcusable.
How will my husband take it? He’s made this move for me before. The culture shock will be less acute this time around, I hope. I also hope we’re in a better position to make sure he sees his family more often than last time, and more often than I have seen mine in recent years. Keeping those connections is so important for the heart and the soul.
Before we do all those adjusting things of missing stuff and building new routines, we’re going to have to get through the bumpy part of moving a bit at a time, transporting animals long distances, and dozens of other challenges. We’ve met them before, and we will again, too. It’s just a matter of time and perseverance.
I hope to be able to report, six months from now, that everyone is settled in, the dog has friends at the dog park, and that my husband has a new job he loves as much as the old one. I hope to report that all the possibilities I saw in this new adventure are coming to fruit. I hope to be able to say how attached I am to the community, how I’m recognized at the local coffee place, and how my cats love their new house.
For now, all I can say is that I’m moving in less than two months, half-way across the country, to a house I haven’t seen, or picked out, yet…
Tammy Garrison is the author of The Twisted Blackmailer – Watson and Holmes Book 1 – the first in a new Sherlock Holmes YA series available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Book Depository (free worldwide shipping) & Kindle