Decisions, part 1: I'm in
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"I would be happy in many more places than you would, I think." —Jeff
It's done. Such as it is. I made a point to take a photo afterward, so that I could put a place with the words; the only catch is figuring out how to explain why I kept such a photo when it doesn't fit with the rest of the Washington photos. I think after all the buildup, any discussion between Jeff and me regarding moving was likely to have been a letdown. Such a major decision came down to something very much like this conversation over breakfast on the morning of my mother's wedding:
Jeff: "So, let's just get this over with." Amy: "Good." Jeff: "I'm in. You?" Amy: "Yeah."
I may not have the words exactly right, but the brevity is dead-on. I told Adam's mother on the last day of the trip I felt pretty sure I knew what Jeff's answer was. Jeff is not a man of sudden, harsh changes, and if he had not felt comfortable in Washington, I would have known well before the end of the trip. After a second, longer trip to the city, I think I can speak a little more clearly about what happened in December, and why it upset me so much. I wasn't fishing for a new city in December, and had wrestled my way to a state of acceptance with Huntsville. I'd made my peace with it, found some people I really liked, and landed in a job where I was actually doing some good. I wasn't growing, wasn't moving forward much in my life, but it was a decent and comfortable stasis, and it could be maintained indefinitely. I got there, and Seattle just felt right. I have no way of explaining this impression. I barely knew anything about the city, but each outing put a shiver down my back and a seductive whisper in my ear: "This could be home." I can look back now on my writeups of the trips I've taken over the past eight years and see what I've been looking for, by what I've mentioned that I've loved about each city I've visited. I wanted out of the South. I wanted a much larger city with viable public transit. I wanted access to arts and music. I wanted more opportunities to hike. I wanted the possibility of returning to school. I wanted summers I could stand to go outside in, and ready access to two things I've never had: mountains and water. In retrospect, I really should have seen it coming, but I didn't. I spent a lot of this past trip examining my surroundings and asking myself, over and over, "Could this be home? Are you sure? Are you REALLY sure?" (I might add, a question that took on added stridency when I was stuck in commuter traffic a few times.) So how do we get there from here? I don't know the answer to that yet. It's an abyss that's likely to become my new best friend. From an email on Friday:
'So now Jeff and I have to move on to the scarier stuff -- now that we've decided we must go, there are thousands of things to do over the next year or so, not to mention the bigger philosophical questions. It's one thing to say, '"We're not happy in location Y," and another thing entirely to say, "So if we move to location X, what changes must we make in ourselves and our living situation to have the life we want?"'
Part 2: culture shock.