I've been gathering some more pre-impressions of my new town. Everyone I've had any contact with at all out there--my new landlady, the car rental agency guy, some random faculty member I don't remember meeting--has been insanely welcoming and sweet. For example, when I called the car rental agency to find out how much a three-day in-state rental would cost, I ended up mentioning (because AgencyGuy asked me when I would need the car, and I had to explain why I was calling) that I was going to start work at the college in the fall. "Oh!" he said. "What will you be doing there?"
"Teaching in the English department," I said.
"Well, congratulations! That's wonderful!" he said. He then promised me a special, slightly discounted rate and gave me his name, so that I would know whom to talk to when I do reserve a car.
And then there's my landlady, whom I had to call last night with a question about the lease. She sounds exactly like my father's 87-year-old cousin, by the way, which predisposes me to find her benevolent. Once I'd straightened out what I needed to know, I said something conversation-ending like, "Okay, well, great! I look forward to meeting you," or whatever. But she wasn't ready for me to get off the phone. She asked me a few questions about how I was moving, etc., and then at the end of the conversation said, "Well, I think you're going to like Field Town. And I think they're going to like you. So I'll bet you'll be staying here more than a year."
Which was very sweet, if a little awkward.
All of this, on top of my department chair's exceptional generosity (and the fact that one of the other English profs was actively recruiting me for his indoor soccer team on my campus visit--fun!), is giving me the sense that the upcoming year will not be terrible, at all. It looks like there will be plenty to compensate for the heavy course load and the distance from the boyfriend--at least, in part.