Lately my life feels like one big cinematic analogy. If it’s not Dorothy Gale, it’s Forrest Gump. If it isn’t Forrest it’s Scarlett O’Hara. If it isn’t Scarlett it’s Melanie from Sweet Home Alabama.
Our decision to move home was calculated, albeit fast. We had thought about moving eventually, years down the road, but we never thought we would move as quickly as we did. We felt the call and the potential and then BAM – it was done. We did sit nights in our Old Town apartment fantasizing about farm life: you know, that quintessential, quaint, idyllic farmhouse life that is painted perfectly in the movies. I knew it existed here on the farm because I experienced it as a child and then every summer after teaching ended in June, I would retreat to what felt like rural perfection. I’d go back to Virginia in August longing for just a few more weeks at home, and fall into Scott’s arms upon arrival wishing we were hugging on the farm in Western New York.
So now we are here, 8 weeks in to this brand new life. However, there are a few major things we wish we would have considered or thought about before jumping into the U-Haul and hauling ass out of Virginia.
Family Dynamics: We absolutely knew that moving back to where both our families live would present a certain tug-of-war. Now that proximity isn’t the issue, it’s almost expected that we are everywhere all the time. We live at the farm with my Mom, brother, and sister-in-law, and then juggle time between Scott’s family in town and my Dad and step-mom out in the country. We have 4 siblings between us and dozens of cousins and extended family, who we love to see. However, we didn’t talk about how to say no when we are Just. Too. Tired. Or how to gracefully retreat to our bedroom when we are feeling slightly claustrophobic. We are people-pleasers, and it has led to some very exhausted and frustrated conversations.
Speaking of that bedroom – the Law of Renovation states that every project will take twice as long and cost twice as much as originally expected. For the first 4 weeks of our life here, we lived on a mattress on the living room floor, exposed for the world to see. I worked tirelessly on the room, and the second it was mostly finished (3 weeks after I thought…) we moved in. But of course I left little details undone and have not sifted through our storage unit to get some things on the walls to finish it. So our room is beautiful, but boxes still sit and clothes are still scattered amidst 4 bare walls. I should have begged a room somewhere other than the living room floor, as it definitely played a major role in the transition.
Jet-setting farm-life? Not typical. We were so excited for the chance to leave Ivan with his Grandmama and get away finally after years of worrying about dog sitters and just saying no to every opportunity to travel. And since we have moved back, one (or both) of us have been to the Adirondacks, the Catskills, DC, Atlanta, Los Angeles, the Finger Lakes, and now we are headed to Mexico in a few days. And then toss in a few dozen day trips to Buffalo and Rochester. That idyllic, calm, rural life that we painted just hasn’t existed. I wish we had said no to a few things, and tried to adjust to the country without leaving every few days.
Who am I? If you asked me 2 months ago how I defined myself, it’d be summed up in one word: teacher. I am a teacher to the very core, but just like most public school teachers I know, I was fed up with test prep and micro-managing of instruction. I thrive off of the creative process, and I felt that my talent and love of education was not always the priority in my classroom, much to my dismay. In order to please my districts and enhance our average test scores, it was becoming formulaic and uninspired. Before I launched into the same profession here, I thought about taking advantage of a year off to explore all of the million other interests I have. But every day I am lost, thinking of my former students and wondering who is now responsible for turning on their minds and hearts in my old classroom. That dull ache for teaching has become stronger and more acute, and I wasn’t expecting a life of leisure and bliss to be this disappointing.
Bi-City, Bi-Soul. Scott always says there are 2 people in every relationship. But now I feel like there are a few thousand in this one. The blog has given us opportunities we would never have had, and introduced us to people who we now consider life-long friends. But the stress of keeping it up, doing it justice, and telling our story often feels obligatory. We desperately miss DC and long to continue our life and connection there, but we are struggling to form a new identity here in WNY. Sometimes it feels like half our heart is always somewhere else, and seeing the constant stream of DC in our feeds online is torture. I didn’t expect to feel the conflict, and the missing is much greater than I ever imagined. I wish we had thought more about the move as a brand new chapter, a fresh start, rather than a half-move. We’re working on it, but DC is part of us, and we like it that way.
This feels like the first real post I’ve written in awhile. And it isn’t to say that we regret this move – not in a million years. But if you are contemplating a move yourself, know that the hiccups and the stumbles are more than few and far between, and expect that the transition to be rockier than you imagine. At the end of the day when Ivan, Scott and I head to the barn to tuck in the horses and goats, we walk hand-in-hand under the stars and know that someday this too shall pass, and that we have found our forever home.