Monday, September 11, 2006

Have a seat. Top off your coffee or your wine, because you might be here a while. I am listening to Patti Griffith, by the way.

I have been in hiding. I have been struggling with what to say, so, I have stayed silent. As you all now know, Jon has been accepted into Boise State University for the spring term of 2007, beginning in January. This is the beginning of everything I have wanted and the too-near end to what I have now. Life gives you what you want when you need it, right? I’m struggling now with the idea that we are leaving Raleigh, our meeting place, our courting place, our marrying place, our home.

I came to Raleigh in 1998 from Gainesville, Florida. I was running away. I had one friend with me and I was running from a broken heart, a broken spirit, and a self identity that had been deconstructed. The years following were spent reinventing or discovering, evolving, and often alone. Raleigh was a depot, a stopping point, but not the destination. I didn’t put down roots or form lasting relationships because I knew I was leaving. I ultimately realized that I could only be where I was, so after multiple attempts to leave, I settled in and bought a home. I recovered and reinvented. Ironically, it was then that I lost that one friend who came here with me.

I met Jon in a campground in Almond, North Carolina, five hours west of Raleigh in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We were both camping there for a whitewater kayaking clinic and met over a campfire. We both lived in Raleigh, etcetera. I was in the process of selling my first home and buying another. This neglected, 1950s brick home with good bones was to be my opus. I poured my savings and my energy into reading, studying, designing and planning for the long haul. I would be here indefinitely evolved into we would be here indefinitely together. Jon weighed in with his efforts and we continued to construct our lives out of these walls. We married this year.

Why is it that when you finally get comfortable with being in one place, you are provided the opportunity to be in another that you have longed for? I have already expressed here my sentiments for the west, and Jon’s birthplace Montana in particular. Earlier this year, we started the process of buying the Albrecht homestead, aka ‘the ranch’ (what makes a ranch versus a farm is a topic for another discussion). We started planning how to get ourselves to Montana and when. I desperately wanted it to happen but never dreamed we would leave so quickly.

Both dissatisfied with our jobs, we explored options. I will spare you all of the details except to say that originally I was to quit my job and go to nursing school. With only a few years left on his GI Bill, we realized that it made the most sense to take advantage of tax free income and tuition. Jon’s last day at MCI/Verizon Business was this August when he started college full-time. We further analyzed the options and discovered with mixed emotions that the fastest way to a nursing degree was to look outside of North Carolina. I applied for telecommuter status at work. Among several options was that we would live at the ranch and Jon would commute to a school across the Montana border into Wyoming. My telecommuter request was granted with the caveat that I had to be a near a corporate site. We looked at our options in the northwest and Rocky Mountain region. Proximity and the potential for moving to Montana after graduation sealed our decision—we settled on Boise, Idaho.

For the past eight years, I was first forced and then chose to do everything on my own. Now I don’t have to, which is mostly a blessing, but I’m torn. As my loved ones will attest (and much to their frustration), it takes me a long time to commit to any one thing, but when I do it is absolute. I have now poured my heart into this place, into my extended family here, and in particular this house. It is my personal space and it reeks of me at every turn. For folks like me, your home is like wearing all of your insides out. I thought I would be here forever. I look out of the kitchen into the backyard and I see my personal landscape.

Sigh. At the same time, I crave the idea of creating something unique—unique in that it is shared only between me and my husband. Our common life together, carving out our space in this world with our shared values and ideals of a life sustained--by the land, by the seasons, and by the family we have and the family we will create.

My heart is so heavy as I parse through my things and my history, looking for stuff to sell in the yard sale. Each object carries a memory, and the biggest loss will be relinquishing this house. Letting it go to someone who may not understand or appreciate the effort, energy, and emotion that we have invested. For sale or for rent. I am deeply saddened by the knowledge that we very likely will not be returning, but trying to be enthusiastic and optimistic about the opportunities ahead, the actualization of everything I thought I ever wanted. Just give me some more time to sort it out. I only know that we are heading out together and that Patti Griffith will be a part of my soundtrack.


Liz said...

How brave you both are to be doing what you are doing. It's so hard to make changes and pull up stakes and go for your dreams.

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys, congratulations on following your dreams. K, you gave me a book a few years ago that helped sort out how to figure out your best path..what to bring and what to leave behind. From reading your blog, it sounds to me that you know exactly what path to take, but of course, have no idea what the scenery will be along the way. I know that with Jon by your side you will both be able to work together to make your dreams come true. And when that happens, you will already be half way down a new path to your new dreams (still in Montanna though.) I am excited for you.

Tricia said...

Wow. I am excited for you both.
Knowing what you want and going for it are both exciting. I know what a journey it has been for you in NC. You have grown so much and yet, you are exactly the same.
I was shocked that you are moving because you seemed like everything just fit perfectly. After reading your post, it makes sense that you are just getting closer to what you have always wanted.
I am sure that Jon wouldn't be surprised to hear that my eyes didn't stay dry when I was reading your post. :)

Kate said...

Hi Liz,
Welcome to the homestead. Thank you for the encouraging words. I hope to feel more brave and less nervous as the goal draws nearer.

Can I borrow that book?

Dear Tricia,
Indeed it is no surprise that you teared up, but that is one of my favorite things about you.


Antonio said...

I wish I had the courage that you two have. From a distance I have always admired Jon, I may not have always agreed with his views, but I have always respected him for his views. I believe it is too cliche to say you never know what you have until it is gone but after seeing Jon leave VzB and knowing that I am going to be seeing a friend leave to follow his dreams; I can honestly say (with joy and a heavy spirit) that I am going to miss that fella. I hate that I never made the time to drive 10 minutes up the road to do what we as humans somehow forget to do from time to time, visit. Well best wishes to you both. I admire, repsect and adore the Dunn's.


Kate said...

Hey Antonio,
We haven't left yet--come on over!