Friday, July 1, 2011

On Why We Didn't Move to Austin

Grad Application

Goodbye graduate application! Get there safely and be sure to tell them how awesome I am!

So I am sitting here online currently waiting to purchase Comic Con tickets (I am number 3470 in line) and since it seems like I will be sitting here in my swim suit waiting to by tickets so I can go swimming for a while I thought that now was a better time than ever to address why I turned down my admittance to the University of Texas twice and we didn't move to Austin.
Click on the jump to follow!

I should probably start with the fact that I have lived in the same town my entire life in Colorado and Bradley has lived the majority of his life in the here with a few short stints in Phoenix and San Diego. I think growing up here I never realized what an amazing town this is. It is a college town right up against the mountains. For being a smaller town (200,000) there is always something to do here. But when you are 16 all you can think about is getting the hell out and seeing something else. I had dreams of moving to the Pacific Northwest. Constant rain and cloud cover sounded like bliss...I was a little gothey at that time. Now it sounds like hell. What kept me here was my parents only being able to afford instate college and refusing to let me go to the Art Institute in Denver. So I made my merry way to CSU ended up meeting Bradley and all of my close friends. Things happen for a reason and I am thankful that I did stay here for college because I wouldn't be were I was today without it. When I finished college I had planned on taking a year off. I was so burnt out on teaching that I felt I needed a break however there was an opening at the school I had student taught and I knew it would be stupid if I did apply to it. Well I got it. But my first few years of teaching were really rough. At the end of my second year I applied to a teaching position on the small Caribbean island of Montserrat. After a very fuzzy and interesting to say the least telephone interview I got the job 2 weeks before our wedding. We were to pack up our life into a shipping container and move the week we had scheduled our honeymoon. I tired to cancel our honeymoon but at that point the money was non-refundable. We were freaking out. It was all so exciting and scary at the same time. There was also this pit in the bottom of my stomach. It wasn't right and yes you may call me crazy for turning down a job in the Caribbean but when I got my acceptance papers it turned out the salary they had originally told me was wrong (and much much less) and they wanted me to sign a 3 year contract. Bradley would have had to commute to Antigua for a job which he didn't have and if we did want to move back we would have had no money to do so. In the very core of my being it just wasn't right.

Now during my 4th year of teaching I still didn't really know if it was what I wanted to do. UT in Austin had a master's program in Art Education with a museum internship. It sounded perfect at the time probably because I was still having issues establishing clear emotional boundaries for myself with work. It is so easy to bring home those student's problems and when you mix in a highly sensitive person like me it is very hard on you...and your husband. I waited 3 grueling months to here back from this highly competitive program (since it is the only kind like it) to be informed that I had been wait listed. It was like someone had told me I died. Seriously. I treated it like a death. Everything I had been planning for went up in smoke in an instance. Now you should now that by nature I am a planner. I am always planning for something and naturally it involves things that are in the future. I sought counseling after my "death". Keep in mind I had only been wait listed. And what was so eye opening was how much of my time, thinking, and planning is spent in the future. I had built this gigantic mountain up on something unsure and when it didn't happen it was like my whole world was wrong or more like false because it was. It was eye opening into a part of myself that needed to be worked on.
A month in a half later after I had resolved to make the best of our situation and considering that maybe this wasn't for us. I was called by UT and told that someone had dropped out of the program and I was next in line. The catch was there was no grant money left for graduate students and all the instate stipends for graduate students (so you don't have to pay out of state tuition) had been given out too. I ran my FAFSA and basically we would be paying $4000 out of our own pocket for me to go to school after financial aid and again Bradley would have to quit his job and so would I. It just wasn't going to happen. I was told that my place would be held for the following year and sadly I turned down my first admittance to UT. After this we vowed to move to Austin no matter what. I was going to teach one more year and Bradley was going to work at a job that he didn't dislike but was unfulfilled in. It was funny though because after my "death" you think I would have been excited to get this call. But I wasn't. At this time I had also received a travel grant to go to Costa Rica in the summer. This is probably a whole different post but travel was eye opening. It was difficult and lovely and made me confront a lot of my issues with planning and control again. I think that experience changed a lot of the way I look at the world.
So I go back for the next school year and surprisingly I am really enjoying it. It was my 5th year of teaching and it seemed that it took that long for me to find a balance of my "teacher side" and my "being myself side". I was also able to not take work home with me anymore. I understood that when a kid refused to take notes or acted out in some inappropriate way it was a result of something else besides me. I didn't take it personally anymore. Teaching became fun. Bradley was also offered his dream nerd job at Secret Compass . And in short I never realized how wonderful it was to see my husband happy at his job. It warms the heart to see your spouse flourishing. I think before we had both been watching each other flounder and hate our jobs. It was new for both of us to see the other one so happy. It was nice and I think that both of us came to the realization that moving wasn't going to make us happy. We were now happy here. Our friends and family are here...who I am not really sure what we would do without. It just took us realization (aided by our jobs) that everything we want was already here. In Austin we were looking for something else.. a dream, an idea. I don't know. All I do know is that in the last year I have come to love what I have always had.
I the past year and a half the growth has been painful and it usually is. But I finally feel like I am in a place, a moment, a being where I am able to be in the moment. I have stopped excessively planning and looking for something in the future to make me happy. Austin wasn't going to make me happy. No where was except for where I was at that point and am now. What a funny realization to come to. You would think it would be obvious but it wasn't for me. Luckily it is now. So I am hoping that this new grad application I sent to the University of Northern Colorado for a master's in Art to be completed while I am also teaching is what is right for now. It feels like it but if it isn't I can tell you I will probably be a little disappointed but not devastated as I was before.

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