Friday, May 14, 2010

On the road again...

Now we must say good-bye
to find our road ahead
Destiny leads us on to another place
but I'll meet you there someday...

Whiteheart. "I'll Meet You There." Freedom. Sparrow Records, 1989.

As many (most?) of you know – in November of 2008, I lost my father to complications associated with lung cancer. Just one month before my father passed away, my dog of almost 14 years died unexpectedly. And then, in March of 2009, my son Malakai was born.

Any one of these could easily be classified as a major life event. The fact that all three of them happened in such close chronological proximity to one another? To this day, I’m still not sure how I stayed standing then nor in many ways how I’m standing now.

Regardless, after the one-two punch of death and life, Ashley and I decided that this current academic year (2009-2010) we would take part in an active job search, with the idea and target that we would be moving closer back to our respective home states (Mississippi and Georgia).

This, of course, explains why the jobs we actively pursued and were highly interested in were in places like Michigan, Virginia, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.

We tried looking for jobs that were geographically closer than the West coast; however, for whatever reason, the job market didn’t like our idea. We also entertained the idea of applying for and possibly taking a job JUST to take a job that was closer to our families. This idea died rather quickly: we both looked for and applied for jobs which only spoke to our passions and jobs that we felt we would be genuinely interested in, at schools that at least appeared to be not quite as codependent or toxic as some, and in positions that gave us a modicum of satisfaction and fulfillment and time to be with each other.

My job search was ultimately not fruitful in the context that it yielded me a job with a salary. It did, however, galvanize my desire to stay with Kai another year and to finally strengthen my resolve to sit down and make a concerted effort at writing that book that so many of you say I should.

Ash’s job search went comparatively much better in many ways. From our trip to Chicago for the NASPA Convention where we both interviewed for positions at various schools across the country, Ashley was offered three on-campus interviews.

The one in Michigan went great. …except for the drama and complications with the flight there and back.

The next one in Virginia went better. …except for the fact she was exhausted after the first trip, which was immediately before this one. As in, the very day before (Miami-Michigan-Miami-Virginia-Miami all within a 5 day period).

The third one?

Apparently the cliché of how the third time’s the charm rings true.

After three years of iguanas, palm trees and me still not understanding a lick of Spanish, we are leaving Miami to move to Columbia, South Carolina, where Ashley has accepted the position of Assistant Director of Residence Life at the University of South Carolina. In about two weeks, we are packing up the apartment and heading north. Clearly, I should start working on my tan now…

We will be less than three hours from Athens. …and Jittery Joe’s. God is good.

We will have cut the distance away from our families by half.

We will be going back to a culture infused with a slow drawl, a love of all things fried, and a football division (SEC) that has been sorely missed.

We leave behind a few good laughs, a few good memories, and a strange addiction to plantains. Miami has been a place we can not forget, for all the good and bad, and will forever be remembered in many ways as where we spent a three-year-honeymoon (although, most couples don’t actually get pregnant and bring to term their first child while on their honeymoon).

We leave behind students we have come to care for, colleagues we will stay in touch with for years to come, and friends who have become like family to us.

We equally leave behind our love for them, and take their love for us on the road to our next location.

The journey continues…

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