Monday, May 17, 2010

Not Moving After All

After lots and lots of fanagling, endless planning and unplanning, and generally trying to make things work, we've realized the best thing for us to do is to put off moving for awhile. On the one hand, this made us both feel much better immediately. We really do need more time and more money before moving becomes practical. My girlfriend went from tense and worried to smiling and laughing within about ten minutes of making the decision, which is really, really good to see. We had been worrying over this problem for over a week since finding out that we were mistaken about how much my parents are willing to help us financially, and it was taking a toll on both of us. I also relaxed quite a bit. And I should mention that it was mostly my idea that maybe we should stay here before I go on. After all, I do like it here. I enjoy the lack of people in the middle of nowhere. I adore having all of our animals, especially the horses, closeby. I have a wonderful relationship with my future mother-in-law; I can actually talk to her about things that make sense to both of us, because mentally we're from the same planet (and I can't say the same about my own parents). She pays attention to us and helps out in a way that isn't at all intrusive. I love the property that we have out here, with a creek for my dachshund to get muddy in, trees to climb, fields to stroll in and explore with our big dog. And the countryside around here is beautiful.

But it has its problems, too, like any place. It's difficult to get good fruit, even after winter is over. It's still a bit chilly for me and I have to wear layers, which I hate. There might end up being one month of the year when I'm comfortable outside without confining my body in sweatshirts and feeling mummified by fabric. The house has stairs, which are getting harder for me to deal with, and the dogs downstairs don't get along with ours, making everything really complicated when trying to put them outside. And intellectually I do know there will be a few cons to any place we ever live, especially with my physical problems. But I did have my hopes up. I was so excited to be going home, to take my girlfriend (who means everything to me) back to where I grew up. I'm incredibly homesick, which is something that I didn't figure out until I realized that we weren't going there this summer. I went from stressed out to really depressed in that same ten minutes.

Part of it is that I miss my family and friends there. But mostly I miss the place. When I'm there, I feel so connected to the land. I'm not sure how to describe what I mean without sounding a little crazy. It's like there are roots growing down out of my shoes, through the asphalt, down into the earth. Every species of wildflower feels like a part of me; every azalea bush, magnolia tree, taloe, oak. The ocean is always there in the back of my mind, comforting me, whether or not I ever find time or means to go to the beach. Even the power lines and pigeons and smog are old friends. The people are my people; they have my accent and various amounts of Spanish and skin of many different colors. These are the things I miss the most— daily life things, existence things.

We are still planning to live there at some point. Maybe in December, if we can afford it, missing most of the winter here. And I'm hoping we can visit this summer for a week or two. In the meantime I'm going to try to wrench myself away from thinking about what might have been and try to go back to enjoying living here. But it does smart a little.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Parental Misunderstandings

A month ago exactly, we flew down to my hometown to visit my parents, go to a job fair in the hopes of improving my girlfriend's chances of getting a full-time teaching position, and to look at a promising apartment. The trip went really well. My parents were extremely supportive about our back-up plan for my girlfriend to work part time jobs, like substitute teaching or teaching karate, if she doesn't get hired to one of the positions she applied to. My mom went so far as to say they could help us with rent until the school year started and we had income. Feeling pretty good about things as a result of my parents being so supportive, we went ahead and agreed to go for the apartment. My mom wanted to pay our deposit and first month's rent because her dad did that for her when she first moved out, and we figured we were set and asked her to go ahead and sent them the deposit. We sent in our application shortly thereafter and proceeded to get really excited because we really, really like that apartment.

Last week I got an email from my mom saying that they were really worried about us being able to afford the apartment. I got pretty alarmed because I know my parents and when they say they're worried about something it generally means that they're really freaking out, and that usually doesn't bode well. So we talked to them on skype over the weekend. My dad kept talking about it like we were being irresponsible for moving in before we would be sure my girlfriend will have a job, and that part-time work wasn't good enough as back up. We explained everything again, exactly the same way we had before. Our plans were exactly the same as a month ago, when my parents seemed to like them, only now they seemed to disapprove. It was especially frightening because my dad seemed to have switched from offering to help us by allowing us to take on our own expenses slowly one thing at a time as we can afford them, to wanting us to be completely on our own as soon as we move. Our plan to take the apartment was dependent on that help- otherwise we wouldn't have said we would take it.

Now we're very confused and unsure what to do. We thought we had a plan that everyone had agreed on, and we thought we had financial support that we may not have after all. We don't want to give up our apartment if there's any chance we'll be able to afford it, but my parents are trying hard to convince us to move back into their house, which is insane. There's no way we would fit and it has twice the stairs as even this house, plus a list of about ten other reasons why there's no way it would work. Our conversation on Saturday ended in a kind of stalemate because we were caught completely off-guard. Now I'm thinking I'd better call them this week and clarify exactly what help they are willing to give us so we can figure out what on earth we're going to do. The problem is that I'm kind of chickening out. I want to know what happened, but I don't want to sound like I'm accusing them of flip-flopping or misleading us. I'm thinking I'll take the angle of we totally misunderstood and that's why we thought everything was fine. But it will be challenging not to sound like an especially cushy rug has been ripped out from under me, leaving me incredibly confused.

Part of me wonders if we did just misunderstand, or if my parents thought that my girlfriend has money saved up, or if they thought I meant moral support and not financial help. It's a very dicey situation and I'm worried about misstepping and making them angry. I love them and I don't want that, but at the same time I'm feeling a little betrayed. It would be different if I hadn't perceived, from things they said, that they were going to help us a lot. I mean, it's not like when I've thought about moving out in the past I expected them to pay all of my bills. But to offer help and then accuse us of being irresponsible... that kind of hurts.

On top of all of that, I'm not sure what we'll do if they are going to cut us loose as soon as we move. We don't have any money saved up; my girlfriend's student teaching takes up all of her time and doesn't pay her anything, and she's using a family fund to pay for her teaching license. My parents are paying for our food and my dachshund's needs and my medication. Most of my girlfriend's money from previous part-time jobs has been used up by now (a lot of it on necessities for her animals- it isn't like she's wasting it). I'm getting more exhausted every week and have completely given up driving because it's dangerous. I have the energy for art occasionally, but not in a way that could result in any kind of steady income, especially between now and July, when we were planning to move. Maybe I could help out if I get feeling better later this year, which is possible, but we can't count on that.

So I really need to call them and talk to them. I may put it off a little bit because I'm not sure how to approach this without making them angry or more worried (which is just as bad). We'll see what happens, but the whole thing is giving me one heck of a headache.