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Posts Tagged ‘moving’

Passing them along

May 10, 2011 Leave a comment

My quietest, most enigmatic child suddenly transferred to another school on Monday after her family moved.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to contact her new teacher, or if it would even be appropriate for me to do so, but here’s what I’d say if I could.

Dear Emily’s new teacher,

I know you’ll only have her for six weeks and you probably weren’t expecting a new kid at this point in the year, but Emily’s pretty special if you figure out how to let her show it.  It took me awhile, but here’s what I’ve learned about her.

1. She seems really shy and you’ll probably never hear her in the whole group, but if you get her into a small group she can be irrepressible – and loud!
2.  She doesn’t say much if you ask her a question, but she has a lot to say on her own schedule.  Be prepared for long stories about her family that must be told while you’re cleaning up for lunch. Take the time to listen, even though the time is never right. It’s when she tries out all her English words.
3.  Slip her some extra snacks.  Her family doesn’t have a lot.
4. Let her pretend to be a princess and order you around.Or have her reread a book like a rock star.  You’ll see a whole new side of her.
5.  Don’t underestimate her. She’s quiet and seems so unsure, but she’s become a great reader, writer, and mathematician.

Most of all, take care of her. She starts with so little but she works so hard. She could be a star but she needs help to get there. I know you’ll enjoy her even if it’s just six weeks.

Love,

Miss R

An interesting life?

August 1, 2010 1 comment

Penelope Trunk, who always makes me think, wrote a post a few weeks ago on the choice people make between being interesting and being content.  She suggested that many people make choices that take them away from valued relationships, jobs, or locations because they’re looking for interestingness rather than contentment.  Her comments struck a chord with me.

As I look back on my life since college I often wonder at the dichotomy of my choices.  On the one hand, I love being part of a community and feeling that I really know the area in which I live and the people I live with.  On the other hand, I keep moving every few years, barely giving myself time to put down roots before I’m transplanting myself again.  I mourn the lack of stability – and I’m sure my lack of a long-term relationship is related to my constant movement – but my craving for roots can’t compete against my restlessness, against the sense that the next place, the next apartment, the next job will be so interesting that I just have to give it a try.  I feel like there’s so much to do in this world, so much to learn, that being comfortable, being content, makes me feel like I’m missing out.

It’s why I applied to graduate school when I could have stayed in a great job, why I moved to Charlottesville when I could have stayed near my friends and boyfriend, why I put everything in storage and went to England, why I’m about to leave a wonderful group of friends to start over, again, in DC.  I miss the lives I’ve left behind with each move, but when I talk with people about my life, I feel the richness and variety of my experiences.  That texture – the coexisting expertise in toddler development, business school admissions, life in an old mill town or big city living – it’s all a part of me and how I view the world.  My hope is that someday I’ll find a place, job, or person that makes me feel I can combine interestingness and contentment, but until then I have to keep seeking interesting.

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Bodily injury

May 26, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve made a few good decisions during my recent packing/moving/storing adventure. My best decision was to abandon my attempt to carry the dresser by myself. I got one stair down the 40 or so steps leading to street level and realized, “this dresser is going to knock me backwards, tumble on top of me, and crush me at the bottom.” Wisely, I brought it back inside to wait for a second set of hands.

I’ve also made a few bad decisions during this move. Among them, slamming my left hip against the car mirror so hard I lost my breath. No blood, but there is a big, raised bump and the beginning of a nasty bruise.

Based on these experiences, my goals for the last 4 days of packing are simple: no scars, no dying. I really hope that’s a bar I can clear.

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Categories: Choices, Goals Tags: , ,

Moving, always moving

May 25, 2010 1 comment

Since I graduated from college eight years I ago I have moved all of my things 11 (about to be 12) separate times. I’m very good at it, but predictably, I’m also very tired of it. On the move currently in progress, I live two (very tall) floors up and a long sidewalk away from my car. Once the stuff is in my car, it has to get loaded back out at the storage unit and carted down the facility’s interior hallway, at which point I need to wrestle it into place in the unit, always keeping in mind when I’m likely to need it again and how that timing compares to when I’ll probably need the things around it. It’s taking its toll. My back hurts, my legs are bruised, and emotionally I’m spent. I’ve taken so many trips up and down the stairs in the last week carting things out of the apartment, yet looking around my almost-bare bedroom, I still have at least 18 more stair treks before it’s cleared out – and then there’s the furniture in the living room and kitchen.

As a veteran of many packing cycles, I recognize this moment as one of the low points on the moving-to-a-new-place roller coaster. I’ve grown used to the highs – “look how fast this is going! This move is going to be a breeze!” – and the lows – “I have too much stuff. I’m never going to finish. I should just throw it all out and live in a tent.” I know that this too shall pass, but for tonight I’m going to take a break, rest my back, and enjoy living in my apartment for one more day before I go back to packing it all up.

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Categories: Hobbies Tags: , , , ,

Commitment

May 14, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve been actively pursuing full-time jobs since the fall, but now I realize I’ve been quite passive in that active pursuit. I apply to counties and to agencies and I accept any interviews that are offered, but I balk whenever I’m offered a job – or even asked to express interest in a particular school or location. With graduation looming and a growing sense that teaching will be vital to my happiness next year, I’m finally conducting a real job search. As of today, I am expressing genuine, proactive interest in specific schools and specific geographic areas. Specifically, I spent today dropping off resumes at 16 Northern Virginia schools and will hit another group tomorrow. I haven’t given up entirely on living in Austin, moving overseas, or staying in Charlottesville, and I’ll still actively-passively pursue those options, but I think my best odds for a job I’ll enjoy are in Northern Virginia. After months of vacillation, I’m finally willing to commit and try to make a job happen.

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Birthdays and camping

April 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Today is special for one reason: it’s my 30th birthday!

Today is nothing special for another reason: it’s a Monday, and that means 6 hours of class.

Today is a reminder that my life stays constant, despite the passing years, for two reasons: first, my birthday was kind of blah, and second, there is no longer any furniture in my living room or dishware in my kitchen.

My birthday coincided with moving day for the person who used to live here.  Instead of leaving his common room furniture and kitchenware through the end of the lease, as he said he would, he came to pick it all up to move it into his new place.  On the one hand, I can’t begrudge him this. It’s his stuff and he needs it in his new apartment.  On the other hand, it’s a real pain in the rear end.  I can’t eat breakfast because there is no bowl for cereal, toaster for bread, plate for toast, or knife for butter.  And even if we did have all of those things, I would have to eat my meal on the floor because we have neither table nor chairs.  So I am faced with a choice: go to my storage unit and pull out all of my kitchenware, living room furniture, and the dining room set, only to move it all back to storage in one month, or stock up on disposable plates and cutlery and eat at the counter.  It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had to live like I’m camping in my own home, and although I’m turning 30, I doubt it will be my last.  At this point, I think my pie in the sky goal for my 30s is to never spend more than 2 days eating off disposables or sleeping on an air mattress because of a move.

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Categories: Choices Tags: , ,

Life as a series of choices

March 21, 2010 Leave a comment

I think on the most powerful things you can do to be happy is to see your life as a series of choices rather than the result of external, unchangeable forces.  I remember watching as one of the families I worked with in the childcare center came close to falling apart.  The mom hated her job, missed being with her son, was pregnant with her second child, and had been told by her husband that she had to keep working after the baby was born because they couldn’t afford for her to stay home.  The thing is, they really couldn’t afford for her to keep working, either.  Their son was at risk of being thrown out of the childcare center because he was biting 2-3 children a day and the mom was constantly on the brink of tears.  But they owned a McMansion and drove two brand new SUVs, so they needed the two incomes, no matter what the emotional cost to the family.

I understand how people can feel trapped in that situation – they see the monthly bills and think “I can’t afford to quit.”  So few people see the monthly bills as choices that they have control over.  You can choose to live somewhere smaller and less expensive, choose to trade in the expensive SUVs for cheaper models, choose to cancel cable, change the phone plan, use less gas by cutting down on driving, eat out less often – the list of possibilities is long.  But when people don’t see their lives for all of the small choices that create them, they feel powerless to change – stuck in a job or situation they hate because they can’t envision an alternative.

Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or powerless I work hard to identify my choices.  Low bank balance?  I think about what spending I can cut this week and whether there are recurring costs I can reduce or eliminate.  I also think about what work I’ve done recently – have I been spending more time with friends or watching TV than I have on billable work?  If so, I can start fixing my cash flow by choosing work over play until things are in balance.  Want to move to Austin but feel trapped by the amount of stuff I have?  I start thinking hard about what I can donate or lend so that I’m more mobile and flexible.

And when I found myself in a job that was abusive and demoralizing, I made a lot of choices: to take control of my daily work, to prepare my office for a transition, and to leave as soon as possible.  Having a clear long-term goal and focused short-term tasks helped me insulate myself from the worst of the work environment and regain control of my life.  Without a sense of agency, a sense that I could make different choices, I would have sunk.  Instead, I found my way out, stronger, I hope, for the experience.

Categories: Career, Choices Tags: ,
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