Today, I had lunch with my new department chair (how much do I love saying that?), who happened to be in the GradCity area, and the friend with whom she was traveling. They're both lovely people, and I'm feeling increasingly excited about next year. Yes, I'm still nervous about the whole 4-4 thing, but I'm getting such a good feleing about the faculty and community that I think the year as a whole might not be so bad. For example, during lunch, Chair and Friend offered:
1) to lend me enough furniture to basically fit out a whole apartment next year, making the move that much easier;
2) to pick me up from the nearest major city's airport (2.5 hours away from CollegeTown) so that I could save airfare, if I decide to fly out instead of driving;*
3) to introduce me to some non-college-affiliated people whom they thinkI might like, once I get there;
4) to put me up (in the Friend's sister's house) for a month or two upon my arrival, if I have a hard time finding an apartment;
5) to fly to GradCity and drive to CollegeTown with me if I decide to drive, and can't find anyone to accompany me. It's almost a 20-hour drive.
Such kindness is, frankly, astonishing. I was very touched. It also just bodes so well for the community I'll be moving into; it was clear, both from my visit and our conversation today, that everyone in town pretty much knows everyone else, and once you're "in," you're in. Clearly, they want me to feel "in," and are willing to do quite a bit to ease my transition this summer. I think that CollegeTown will be a nice place to live.
And on top of it all, they paid for lunch!
*I am getting some relocation expenses reimbursed, but it's nowhere near enough to cover a full-on move. The bulk of my possessions will have to languish in storage for the duration of my contract.