On being a transplant | Travel Tuesday

Transplant

My first home- Idaho

A lot of the time I think and write about travel, I tend to only focus on the international travel I’ve done. The traveling I’ve done overseas has been great to me and is a huge part of who I am. However, I think that I am doing myself (and you, my readers) a sort of disservice by not also acknowledging and talking about travel within the borders of our own country. This travel has had an equally huge impact on me and has allowed me to grow and change just as much.

To begin talking about this travel, I think it is best to talk about where I’ve lived and the influence moving across the country (a few times) has had on me.


I am an Atlantan. When people ask me where I live I automatically answer with Atlanta. This is my home and where I’ve spent my adult years. This is where I’ve loved and lost and learned and worked the most. However, when I think of home, this isn’t the only place that flashes in my mind.

My story began in Idaho. In some ways, my story is still continuing there through my family. They are my life-blood and biggest supporters (hi Mom!). I lived in Idaho until I was 18, minus the one year I spent in Mexico during high school. Idaho shaped me and raised me and have me the foundation upon which I’ve built my life. I am an Idahoan.

Moving to Atlanta was quite possibly the best decision I ever made. I became who I am here. However, this is not where I’m from and in a lot of ways, I think living far away from where you grew up makes you a little different than those who’ve stayed close to where they were raised. Not better or worse, just different.

It makes you 2 different people, all at the same time. I am the small town girl who is probably a little too trusting of the world and sees life in a simple way with an open heart. But I am also the woman in the city who knows how to navigate her way with the awareness, confidence, and speed required for life around here. I am the Northern girl with a love for the beauty of snow and the hills and fresh air, and I am the Southern woman who doesn’t like the cold and prefers to sit by the pool in the sun after a day at the office in a suit.

You get the picture. They are both parts of who I am. I’ve been able to pick what works best and feels best to me based upon how I was raised and how I’ve adjusted as I’ve grown.

In this same light, I know that Chicago will change me in some ways as well. I will be learning the culture of a new city, and growing as a person learning to navigate this world.

Soon I will call Chicago home.

Though I’m not from there and won’t claim to be, my transplant status gives me a unique view of home. I see home as a feeling, not a place. It’s a feeling I had with my host family in Mexico, playing Wii with my host in France, cooking dinner with my Nun Mother in Uganda, etc. It is a feeling of peace, of calm, of home.

I feel like I’ve gotten to a point of rambling with this post, but I’m interested to know what you all think. Where have you found home? Did you stay in one place all your life or move around? What place do you consider to really be your home?

The story of a girl who couldn’t make up her mind. Ever.

Aka the story of how I’m now living in my 3rd home in as many months and now there’s no turning back. For a while.

As you know by now, life post-college graduation has not exactly been the fairy tale I might have imagined my sophomore year of college. (I thought I’d be living in North Carolina and married over this past summer and life would be moving in a TOTALLY different direction. HA, 20 year old me was so silly.) Honestly, I could not be more grateful for the way my life has changed over these past couple of years but it still leaves me with immense feelings of uncertainty. Is this where I’m supposed to be living? Is this the path I belong on? Hello, confusion!

What I do know is that I am incredibly lucky that my past experiences have given me the confidence and ability to just pick up my life in a matter of days, pack everything I own into my car, and go. It’s a wild ride.

After my summer of teaching, I packed up and moved home to take care of my Daddy. Though I know I was helpful to provide rides and a rest for the rest of my family, I also know that I wasn’t in the place I was supposed to be. My heart wasn’t there. And that’s ok.

I love my father with everything I have. I have him in my heart forever, and his writing tattooed on my skin. He will forever be my number 1 man, and my biggest cheerleader in this life. I know he understands my need to leave my small town in Idaho and knows my heart is in the city with more opportunities for education and for work that I will be able to love. I still talk to him regularly and I know the updates on his condition, and am in close contact with his doctors. At this point, there is nothing more I could do, and I just have to trust that they will make my father the most comfortable that they can in this time.

So I picked up and drove to Atlanta, back again for good this time. Or until I save up enough money for another move. For now, I am relying on the generosity of sweet friends to provide housing for me until I can find myself a job and an apartment on my own, and enjoying time recovering mentally and spiritually from these past few months, and reconnecting with friends that fill my soul with so much happiness.

This change and transition into a new stage of life is bittersweet, but the moments of joy make it worth it. And as bad as I might think things may be at times, I remember the words of my favorite professor as I complained once to her about not knowing what to do with my life- I am lucky. I am so very blessed to have these options. To have choice. I have the privilege of deciding what I will do and who I will be. There are so many who don’t have that, and I am lucky. This reminder to be grateful echoes through my mind any time I start to think negatively.

 

Adulting!

My goodness!

So remember how last time I wrote I said I had decided to stay in Idaho for about another year while living with my parents to save $$ and go to school and such?

Well, I’m back on the fence. I still want to stay, but I just don’t know that I can make it another year. In a few weeks, when my summer teaching session ends, I’m planning a trip for a few weeks back to Atlanta so I can see how life could be there. I need this trip! I miss the city and my friends desperately, and need to do some serious appreciation of the boyfriend.

BUT! I am currently working on job applications like crazy closer to my parents, which is making my head spin. As much as I know I need to get a job there, I know my heart isn’t in these applications because I really would rather find a fabulous job in Atlanta that could convince me to move back there. I have one last application out in Atlanta that I’m not counting on, but I am certainly hoping for! It’s one I’ve wanted for a while, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

In other news, adulting is hard. Is that really news though?

This week, my car got hit. In. My. School. Parking. Lot.
Meaning it was the parent of one of my students. Disappointing, seeing as they all know it’s my car. In my head, all people were honest enough to leave a note if they hit someone’s car. Or say something. Something. But no. It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things but it totally threw my week off. I’m fine, my car still runs, no harm done (except a big dent). So  getting that fixed will be…interesting.

My debit card expired. My new one was sent to my parents house. Meaning this week I’ve been without a way to spend money. Again, not a big deal, just inconvenient. I’ll get it this weekend when they visit.

Actually, now that I think of it, maybe that was a good thing, ha!

Anyway, people sometimes suck and money is better saved.

Now, I MUST get back to this pile of laundry. My parents are coming down to visit this weekend and I would hate for them to think I’m struggling as much as I am. They have enough to worry about without worrying about the cleanliness of my apartment!

PS- For the record- it’s clean, just cluttered!

One.

I’ve been feeling kind of “meh” lately. Between moving and leaving everything I’ve known for the past four years and trying to make this transition into living in Idaho and not being a college student anymore, I have to admit it’s been a little rough.

However, today when I was browsing the TV channels (cause I can do things like that now- no papers to write!) I saw a commercial about education that shared some stats about Idaho. While the commercial was quite sad (we’re ranked 48th in the nation! OUCH!) it also pointed out that although right now I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing much, I actually have done something that not many people do.

As you can watch in this video,

For every 10 high school first-years in Idaho, 8 will graduate from high school.

4 will go to college.

1 will graduate from college.

ONE.

I am that one.

The teacher in me wants to make sure that in the next generation there are many more than just ONE. The recent grad in me is damn proud to be that one.

A a woman, I know the odds were even greater against me.

As a Latina, I know the odds were WAY higher that I would drop out or get pregnant than graduate from college.

I know it may seem like a small thing, but right now it’s big. And it’s real. And that’s something that I’m proud of.

Graduation, moving, and puppies, oh my!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated, but I promise there’s a reason! I graduated from college and moved across the country! It’s been such a whirlwind couple of weeks but I’m finally catching up with everything going on.

First of all, let me say that graduating from college is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced. The amount of love and pride I felt radiating all over my college campus that day was overwhelming in the most fantastic way. My beautiful, sweet, intelligent, kind, incredible friends all did wonderfully and we all couldn’t have been more proud of each other. We’ve all supported each other through four years of the greatest but also most difficult and trying years, but we survived and came out stronger, more confident women.

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We’ve loved each other with incredible strength, passion, and loyalty, and these women have become my true support system and best friends. I couldn’t imagine life without them, and I feel profoundly lucky that I don’t have to.

And of course I can never forget about my other incredible support system. My parents and two of my brothers were able to make it to my graduation and I was so so happy that they were there!

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A couple days after graduation, my brother and I started on the drive back to Idaho! We had a pretty uneventful trip, just a lot of driving and counting antelope in Wyoming! And of course, coming home I’ve been spending a lot of time with this sweet baby!

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Almost there!

Yesterday was my last day of undergraduate classes… ever.

Which is kind of a big deal. Or at least it’s supposed to be. I feel like the only member of my graduating class who wasn’t posting on Facebook about how excited they were to be done with classes and how different they felt.

I’ve been struggling with this today because I don’t feel any different. Yesterday felt like any other day of class and then work and then home. Today didn’t feel different either. I think I half expected to wake up and find that I magically felt like this whole graduation thing is real.

It doesn’t seem real at all.

The countdown is at 10 days until graduation. About 50 pages of writing stand between me and that diploma (my senior research thesis and a couple take-home exams).

Maybe it’s because I still have a lot of work to get done before I can really be done and stop stressing. Maybe it’s because I’m sick– it’s just a cold, but it’s exhausting me. Maybe I’m still in denial about moving away from my life here and going back to cold Idaho. I can’t really pinpoint why this is happening.

Maybe I’m not supposed to feel any different, but I feel like I should. I’ve been looking forward to my college graduation my whole life. This has always been the goal. And maybe that’s part of it too. Now that I am reaching this goal- the furthest one I’ve ever really set for myself- I don’t really know what to do. I mean I know that I’ll be teaching for a bit and at this point I hope to return to Atlanta at some point and possibly grad school but I’m really not sure.

I’m really looking forward to the day where I wake up and feel accomplished and different. I know I’ll get there one day, but it sure would be nice if it was soon!