We've been living in a state of betweenness for almost a year--more, really. We knew our time in Australia would be drawing to a close at the end of this year. Sam will graduate from high school in November and G's contract here (along with our visas) will end mid-December. We're keen to enjoy everything about being here up until the moment we board the plane but what we haven't known is where that plane would be headed after our 4+ year stint here.
It's a common pattern with me, wanting to know what's next, uncomfortable when there's a big question mark looming in our future. I thrive on making the plan! Mapping out the steps! Obsessively researching neighborhoods! Given the company's locations, the chances were high it would be either Boston or DC with smaller likelihoods (but still possibilities) of Texas, Arizona, and California and a very slim chance of Denver.
We're happy to say we finally know. A little bit of haze has cleared from our future view.
The short, Reader's Digest version:
We're headed to...drum roll, please...Washington, DC/Virginia!
The extended dance mix version:
A while back G was offered a position at the practice where he's always wanted to go, the international office for his company (which is located in Washington DC). We love DC! We said yes. Ever the inveterate planner-ahead (plan-aheader?) even though it was still early I started sending out feelers for jobs in the area and--this is crazy to write out--an opportunity to apply for a faculty position at Southern Virginia University suddenly materialized. I sent in my CV, basically just a test balloon checking to see if they were hiring someone in my field. They were in the final stages of the hiring process and kindly considered my candidacy just as the application door was swinging shut. By the end of that week I had lined up recommendations and written application essays and did a phone interview with the search committee. Two weeks after that they flew me to Virginia to do a job talk (essentially a research presentation) and a sample lecture.
It's amazing how when things start moving, the momentum increases and things really seem to fall into place. For those keeping score at home, this was the exact two-week time period I was ramping up to throw a wedding for my first born daughter (which, believe you me, I am going to post about once we get the photos back from the wedding photographer). It seemed crazy to try to put together two presentations the same week we were packing to go to Utah for the wedding. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? As Eleanor Roosevelt has reminded me several times on my Pinterest board, Do that thing you think you cannot do. I sent out pleas of help & requests for advice to my network of colleagues who've recently landed academic jobs and they generously responded.
To make it work for everyone involved I had to fly out early in the week of Lauren's wedding (that's normal mother-of-the-bride behavior, right?) for the campus visit. Lauren and Patrick were still busy in the middle of finals so it was actually a great time to dash across country and back. After in-person interviews and a good visit there in Virginia, I returned to finish planning and celebrating Lauren and Patrick's nuptials (ha! that word gets me every time).
The day before the wedding they offered me the job, generously adjusting the start date to January 2017. I'm ecstatic! SVU really impressed me--its small liberal arts college approach to education, the friendly and interesting faculty, the lovely and engaged students, the beautiful campus and college-town setting. More and more I'm convinced that huge universities are not for everyone and that many (if not most) college undergraduates get a great education and thrive in a more intimate school setting with smaller class sizes, with the ability to form relationships with professors and still participate in a range of activities through the university years--things like athletics, music, drama. My desire to teach, mentor, and research (in that order) align really well with SVU's philosophy and priorities. And I just felt so good about it--peaceful, happy, and excited. G and I talked a lot about it and decided to go for it, eyes wide open to the joys and challenges.
Okay, if you just ran a check on google maps you'll know that SVU (in Lexington, VA) and Washington DC are about three hours apart on a good travel day. We do have some logistics to sort out. Luckily the man I married is the type who says (and truly this is a crucial element to making this work) "that's such a fantastic opportunity for you and I know you've been working toward it for years. Look, you've adapted to my career demands and moves for years. Now it'll be my turn. We'll make it work." We'll do a country mouse/city mouse situation for a while. I love that my job commitment is for eight months of the year, which builds in lots of possibilities to live out my ands: professor and wife and writer and mother and researcher and friend and daughter and even someday granna. The rest we'll work out, faith-style, hoping that the solid ground will materialize as we step out into the unknown.
p.s. I'm sad about no Boston. I really really love my people in Boston. As always, I have to go through a mourning process for the lost options, the roads not taken. The one predictable joy of living in between is being able to imagine us in every single location, living out every option. Come south, friends! Visit! Move! Send your children to SVU! I will keep a good eye on them. x