I’ve heard it takes about three years to really feel at home in a new place.
But today, I gave an exam, caught up on some grading, ate to excess with colleagues at the caf, answered many emails, practiced carillon, and had dinner with a friend. Is that not winning??1
Re: the three year thing… To be honest, I was sort of expecting longer than that when I left Georgia in August 2018 (but also being an optimist, I figured it’d be WAY less than that for me… right?). Having spent the bulk of my adult life to date in Athens, I didn’t know what *I* looked like in a different (new) place/space. But here I am, 18 months into the phase of my life dubbed “Nashville Nancy,” and as I celebrate my *insert middle-aged birthday number here* birthday, I am slowly but surely assimilating into this new-ish life. Today’s stellar activities notwithstanding, I can reflect a bit.
Just this week, I have made steps to join a local church and acquired a TN license plate. Both of these should have reasonably taken place a year ago, but the fact that I’m just getting around to them speaks volumes. You can’t replace a church like Watkinsville (and ALL that implies, but really, I’m talking about all those people), so finding a new church has been quite the journey. Plus, the physical act of associating with the state of TN (and releasing the state of GA), well, that’s also quite significant.2
Less obvious, but perhaps equally important is the fact that I am… making friends in Nashville. Yes, I know I can be
mesmerizing quite charming, but if you haven’t tried to make brand new meaningful relationships as an old person, let me just tell you, it’s not exactly easy. Nevertheless, I am developing something akin to a social life here in Nashville that goes beyond friends visiting from out of state.3
Finally, I’m sucking less at my job! This semester I’m teaching all repeat classes, and I am slowly getting them to look the way I’d like them look. I acknowledge that they are not quite there yet, but I think I am mostly doing right by my students. Also, I’m realizing how nice it is to walk across campus and regularly run into current and past students. Slightly related, while I wouldn’t say I completely understand my workplace and colleagues, I will say that I am learning.4
I’d be remiss to not mention the three-week break I had over Christmas. There are many aspects of higher ed that are broken and unfair, and as a contingent faculty member, I am aware of the inequalities that exist in my field and my place of employment. But I also find it to be a pretty great job.5
So… everything’s awesome? Eh, no. For all of those things that are awesome, as life is wont to be, there’s so much that is lame and mundane, and I could easily recount a variety of flat-out failures. As for specific goals I feel like sharing here, I want to establish a piano studio and mend my finances from the move (moving sucks; for lots of reasons). Looking ahead though, I think I’m on a pretty good trajectory, and I’m excited to see what year *redacted* has in store for me.
1. And not even through the “low expectation, high reward” lens, but that works, too.
2. Sports. This is, on the surface (and yes, on a much deeper level) about the sports. Growing up as a UK basketball fan, TN is gross. As a newer UGA fan, well, TN is gross. Yeah, I know, it represents much more than sports, but that is not a small part.
3. This is an important thing. Please keep visiting me. Please? And if you haven’t visited, I’m totally taking it personally. Yes, you. I also value being able to visit friends in KY and GA (and elsewhere). Can I crash at your place? Yes, you.
4. OK, so maybe while I had a room full of prospective students/parents, we had a long discussion re: castrati (complete with a student asking about the physical logistics, etc.), but other than that, I’m sure I’m nailing all this.
5. This might be a place where “low expectation, high reward” is appropriate, but not exclusive, cf. three-week break.