Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You

Monday morning, I pulled my very full car out onto I-40 and headed east. As I passed the monuments of Amarillo that had grown so familiar, I took the time to look back on my short, but eventual Texan experience.

Accepting a job in Amarillo, Texas was the inauguration into my adventuresome and unpredictable life. Before then, my whole life followed a script I had developed in junior high. Back then it was mostly an outline, but all the major points where there and were precisely followed: go to college and major in Biology then go immediately to vet school at VT. The exciting/terrifying thing about graduating from vet school was that there was no plan for life after that. I never dreamed of a future past receiving my degree.

During my time in vet school, my passion for the non-traditional vet careers developed and I knew if I wanted to establish a career with the federal government, I needed to be willing to go anywhere to get my foot in the door. I applied for over 30 jobs, many in towns I had never heard of and required an atlas search to determine just where they were. I was so excited when I was offered my job, but taken back about the location of Amarillo. This particular job had openings in ten cities, I had ranked Amarillo #9 in order of places I would want to live. Sallisaw, KS home of a booming grain elevator manufacture was my last place.

I accepted this job with zero understanding of what I was getting myself into. There is no way to prepare an East Coast city girl for the Panhandle of Texas. There are no trees, real honest-to-goodness cowboys, and everyone is married before they can drink or at least before they can rent a car. Many of the licensees I worked with where so confused by a single girl moving to a new area for a job, not a man. Never in my life have I felt more of a spinster, but I hope I inspired, if only temporarily, the idea that being single is not a disease.

Amarillo was an incredibly challenging time in life. I was separated from my friends, family, and just about everything that was familiar to me. Suddenly, my routine life was thrown into nearly weekly trips all over the US, complete with hotels, airline travel, and inspecting species of animals I had not even heard of until that day. I have learned so much about flexibility and going with the flow. Plus, I feel like for the first time in my life, I actually have stories and experiences, not just school lessons. I learned how to depend more on myself and that I can handle much more than I used to give myself credit for.

I developed some amazing friendships in my time in Texas. True, were have different lifestyles, but these wonderful couples opened up their hearts to this crazy, out of place Virginian and put up with her constant comments about no trees and we don't do this where I come from. They looked beyond the "single" stigma and saw me for me. I will love and miss them all!

Before I even moved to Texas, I had an unexplained feeling that my time there would be limited. It was an important time for me. Sometimes you need to be taken away from everything that defines you and gives you comfort and put in an "Amarillo" to analyze what matters to you and what you need in life. Thanks to the past six months, I have such a better understanding of who I am and what I need in life.

900 miles down and one day left until I find myself in my new Ohio life. In truth, I am moving to another state I never imagined living in, another state I had never been to before accepting the position. This time, it feels like a longer stay (or maybe I don't want to pack my life up and drive again). I have no idea what the future holds for me here, but I am beginning to enjoy this wild and unpredictable adventure I am on.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cardboard and packing tape

I'm moving again. Apparently, every 6 months or so I get this grand idea to box up my life and move across country to another state I have never been to or ever imagined living in. Am I crazy, adventuresome, in-capable of staying one place for long? Probably all of the above. 22 months and counting and still the longest I have spent consecutively in one place is nine weeks.

All around me is an assortment of boxes, most rescued from the dumpster of various Amarillo stores. Reading their sides is an amusing adventure. My hands-down favorite is "Caucasian Baby Assortment- made in China". What in the hell was in that box before I packed up my toaster-oven, and what will the movers think of me?

I'm on to my 11th role of packing tape and the tips of most of my fingers are thinned and rough. When I close my eyes at night I can still hear the rip of tape and smell the cardboard. Please someone remind me never to move again (or at least suck it up and pay the extra $600 for the movers to pack all this crap themselves).