Here's the deal: My apartment is pleasant, light, quiet, and consoling. Everyone I've met is nothing but friendly. But the town...oh, the town. Field Town, I am disappointed in you.
What I'm realizing (in the 3 days that I've been here) is that there are certain things that I like to have nearby. Near enough to walk to, ideally. Or to bike to--but there's no bike shop in town, so even if there were these things in bikeable range, I wouldn't be able to get to them. These are the things that I like to the point of needing:
- a yoga studio (or, at worst, a gym with yoga classes)
- a decent grocery store or farmers' market
- a bookstore (other than the campus bookstore, which only sells course books)
- multiple restaurants
- a pleasant place to have a drink
- a nice cafe
It's a shame.
Last night, making dinner, I suddenly felt sad. More than that: I felt afraid. What if this was all a mistake? I wondered. What the hell, in fact, was I thinking? Moving all the way out here, away from everyone I care about and the lifestyle I'm used to (and love), for a short-term, middlingly-paid job that I'm not actually sure yet that I'll like? Am I insane? Is everyone secretly thinking, "Wow, that j, she sure made a nutty decision there"?
Then, of course, I thought about how many of my friends have done this exact same thing, for the same stakes and with all the same discomforts (some in far, far worse places), and I felt a little better.
--Sort of. Because just how bizarre is this profession, that we expect to have to live far away from our families, friends, and partners, going through exhausting moves year after year, often postponing having children, just in the hopes of one day being able to settle in approximately the part of the continent that we'd prefer? Or in the hopes of being able to settle somewhere, period?
I know that this is an old subject, and I don't have anything new to add; nor can I imagine a plausible solution. I've thought about this a lot before, too. But living it--well, it adds a certain reality to the madness. I know that I'll get used to this place, and will probably like it fine before the year is out. (Maybe I'll break down and get a car--surely all the things I want are within half an hour of here. And I used to walk half an hour to yoga, so what's the difference? Other than the fossil fuel consumption, of course.) Right now, though, it just seems crazy.