…has long been my father’s reassurance to Sister and me. Whatever is going on in our lives, no matter our age… if we need to, we can go home for a while and regroup.
As I type this, I’m sitting on a floor in Minnesota, across the room from half-empty bookshelves, a stack of stuffed plastic bins stashed in the closet. In a desert dwelling 1,824 miles away (according to Google), my father is reserving a U-Haul trailer and making road trip plans with his friend. Not far away from him, Sister, Brother-in-Law (BIL), and Nephew are clearing out a room, probably confusing the dogs in the process.
I’m going home.
So far, almost no one I’ve told this news to has been terribly surprised; I think everyone knew I never intended to remain in the Midwest indefinitely (I grew up here; I “did my time” already, heh). However, my feelings around this are decidedly mixed. On the one hand, I’m getting away from the Minnesotan snow and returning to my beloved California; I’ll be living with dogs again and still get to keep my cats (since I won’t be living with Dad, the one family member allergic to them); Nephew misses me terribly; and, I have to say it… DISNEYLAND!
On the other hand, I’m leaving one of my best friends, my favorite non-blood-relation roommate ever; leaving behind a bunch of cool, geeky people I’ve met in my time here; going from a position of having a floor to myself (two rooms and a bathroom) to cramming myself mostly into one room of Sister’s house while I share a bathroom with my 11-year-old Nephew; and returning to the desert – not my favorite place in the world to live. And, of course, I always hoped that my next move would be to the UK – my other Home. (But at least it’s significantly cheaper to fly from California to the UK than it is to fly out of Minnesota, so it will be easier to visit when I have money to do so.)
And then there’s the slight feeling that I failed. In my year and a half here, I wasn’t able to remain constantly employed as a temp or find a full-time “real” job. But it’s not like I didn’t try; I’ve lost count of the number of résumés I sent and applications I completed. “It’s a rough economy” feels like a cop-out, but it’s also true. The hope inherent to my moving back to the Midwest was that there would be more job openings; I’ve come to believe that may be true, but because it’s a major metropolis, there are also more people fighting for each job. As I type, I’ve been “between temp jobs” more than three months; the financial well is dry and I’m digging it deeper while searching for a way to seed the rain clouds.
I also “failed” to continue my graduate school education. When I started grad school in California the summer of 2009, the idea was that I would then transfer to the university’s Twin Cities campus. I submitted the transfer paperwork to the new campus, had my records moved, did three different admission interviews for three different, but related courses of study… And got turned down three times, without being given a reason why; so I had no course of action to follow to make myself a more appealing candidate to them. After that, discouraged and consumed with just trying to survive financially, I let the idea of continuing my education stall. And this…kind of turned out to be a good thing.
While I was not in school, Sister (who graduated a few years ago from the same program I started in 2009) found out the hard way that that university might not be the best choice, after all. She was interviewed by her dream job, hired, and had even signed the contract before losing the job because the organization didn’t recognize the university’s accreditation, even though the State of California licensing board did! After some determined debate, the organization realized they were in the wrong, and she’s now working at her new job and loving it. But her struggle gave us the heads up to look around and find me a school that had a more universally-recognized accreditation.
Ultimately, there are many reasons for my decision to return to California, from financial reasons to reasons I can’t go into for privacy’s sake (not just my own). And while my feelings are mixed, the majority of my reasons and feelings say that this is the right choice.
Go home. Be close enough to my family that they can help me out more easily; accept the help they want to give me. Stop being a burden on friends too nice to kick me out during my employment difficulties, no matter how “in the right” they’d be. Live with Sister’s family, help Nephew with his schoolwork, and snuggle dogs and cats alike (none of whom have ever lived with the other species; it’s bound to be entertaining). Go to the “properly accredited” school an hour “down the hill” from Sister’s house (assuming they accept me; need to finish the application). Find a job to supplement financial aid, even if it’s BIL using his charm to get me a spot working with him at the pizza place (he too has been having trouble finding work since retiring from the Marines last summer).
Dad and his friend will be leaving California with a trailer on April 27. By his estimation, I’ll be loaded up and caravanning back with them by May 1.
I have a month and a half to pack up. Again.
(Incidentally, I’m told that it was initially BIL and Nephew’s idea that I should move in with them. That thought makes me melt every time I remember it.)