Tuesday, August 4, 2015

This is home

Growing up on a farm near a claustrophobic little town, I ran as fast as I could out of there after high school. Much to my surprise, I only ran to the nearest city for college, but it worked. City! I loved it for the first year or so. Then I wound up with my own apartment in a big old house that had been split up. It was the oldest house for miles around and had originally been at the center of a big estate so it was on the highest hill around. It was 27 steps up from the garage (aka carriage house) to the front door. Sitting in my living room I looked into the third floor windows of the apartment building next door. The best part about that apartment was the giant yard. If anywhere reminded me of Tatania's bower, it was that oasis. So much green, lovely flowers, big old trees, it was awesome. Back there I could pretend I was out somewhere with no neighbors for miles around for up to 10 minutes at a time. Then someone across the street would shout or kids from the next block would come screaming by on their bikes or there'd be a car crash.
Since we've been together, the spouse and I have wandered a great deal. In the last ten years, we've moved ten times and lived here for three of those years. Nowhere before has come close to being ours. Some of those changes have been good, a few very sad, but hardly any nostalgia. We took a picture of us with the kid in her baby bucket when we left the apartment where we lived when she was born, but I have no idea where it is now. We would have stayed there if we could have but the place and the people weren't worth cobbling together work until a real job opened up at the time. In pictures I have to guess the age of the kid to tell you where we lived then because the places are meaningless, hollow, just wherever we had landed.
I've noticed that folks either want a job and that takes them to a place, but they don't let it become home most of the time because they know they're chasing the job wherever it takes them, or they are attached to the place and will take whatever work there might be to stay, sometimes to the point of starving during unemployment. Complex place-work relationships seem to be the norm these days with so many people unmoored or feeling tied to a place.
I've been trying to see what I think about this place we live now. I mean, it's been a good three years here. We've built a good niche in the community and have improved our little corner of it. But when the moment of truth came, we didn't choose to stay and take the work this place offered. We decided on chasing the dream job (spoiler: dream 1 didn't work out so there has been frantic job searching while I've mostly stayed pretty chill that the right job will appear). I guess I'm not sure if that choice means this place isn't worth fighting for, or if all that wandering has meant we are no good at recognizing a great place when it's right under our noses. At any rate, here we are, at an end and a beginning.
It's further interesting to have a job interview where the employer really wants to be sure you want the place as much as the job. I get that rural healthcare is hard because since most folks train in cities, they get used to cities and want those amenities, so rural places are a pit stop used only to get enough experience to get the city job that's always been the goal. I believe I've complained about it as a patient. We've been here three years and I've run through five primary care providers (and the ob I liked has also left) and I didn't have one for the first 8 months we were here. Still it's strange to have the "why this place?" question weigh so heavily. I have to decide how honest an answer to give in the second interview - the place meets my minimum criteria of a pizza place, grocery store, school, and job by far and it even has a dealer for our quirky little car, or I could try to capture the intangible "I think this may be my place" gut reaction I had when I visited the town. I'm a very private person. In almost no interviews have I mentioned the girls early on. In one, I got asked "so you live with your parents in Town then?" and I laughed so hard. So I explained that no, none of my parents are in the "we" who have lived here three years. For this second interview, my family is asked to come so my spouse can also be on board with this move and this place so hopefully we stay for years to come. Strange to think of an employer who wants an employee as invested in the place as the job, but yet that's the kind of place I want to work, where when they say they're committed to quality rural healthcare, they mean it.
I just hope we have time to get ready to move if this job happens since I'm likely to start right away.

1 comment:

  1. We HEAVILY weight that question of what makes you really want to be HERE? It's way too tough to be the stopover place or to invest so much training in a person who only wants to live here for a year or two. I hope you find the perfect job & place for you and your family!