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Monday, May 5, 2014

From limbo to paradise... and beyond!

Life is always a wild and crazy ride, but the last year has been an extra strange one. Jamie left Albuquerque in April of 2013 and started setting up our new life in Valdosta, Georgia. He found the perfect house for us, after extensive house hunting, and made an offer to buy it. I arrived a month later with the moving van, ready (but not enthusiastic) to start settling in. After two weeks on a friends couch, we closed on our house and moved in. One week later, we received a rip (sp?) to be reassigned to Okinawa, Japan in about a years time. It was very much out of the ordinary to be reassigned so quickly after moving to a new base and to have a whole years notice before the reassignment. This rip put me in an interesting situation. I was very skeptical of the reassignment as a lot can happen in a year; I really had no idea whether we would actually be moving in a year, but it was certainly a possibility.

To be frank, I really wanted the move to turn out to be real. I was not impressed with Valdosta as a town or geographical location. I wanted the move so badly, I hesitated letting myself be excited about it in fear of the let down that would come if it was cancelled. And so I spent the year trying to settle into life in Georgia, knowing that I may move soon, but I may not. I mostly tried to grasp every opportunity possible without letting the possible move hold me back, but it was always there in the back of mind. Also, there was limited opportunity in Georgia. I found an amazing yoga community and taught marine biology at the community college, but there was no chance of going back to school or participating in research. Jamie and I held back on doing any major home improvements or landscaping projects because we could be moving soon. Essentially, I was in a kind of strange limbo. I might not move, so I should try to fit in, get settled, make friends, but I might not move so it could end up not mattering very much at all. In military life, you are always going to move at some point, but 9 months in one place is pretty temporary. It was a very strange, uncomfortable time.

Now that the move has turned out to be real, I am writing from a temporary living facility (TLF) in Okinawa, Japan. That perfect house that we purchased is sitting empty and lonely in Valdosta. I feel like I am floating around with no schedule, routine, or home base, but I have years ahead of me to settle in and feel at home. Since I will be living in once place for a while, I feel obligated to get to work on finding something meaningful and fulfilling to participate in. My number one priority is to go back to school to complete a doctoral degree. My life goal is to be research professor as a university. I have had great teachers in college, but I have also had many terrible ones. I want to be a great teacher at the college level and motivate and inspire young people to enter the field of science. I hope to mentor and support graduate students so that they can become successful research scientists, but also great teachers. I hope to stay true to the dream of great teaching in college instead of getting caught up in the rat race that university research can become. If I am accepted to the programs I have applied to, I will continue to share about my teaching and learning here on this blog.

In addition to going back to school and reaching for my big dreams, I want to fully appreciate and enjoy living in a foreign country and a beautiful subtropical island. The reefs here are very pretty with lots of soft and hard coral. Some sites are very fishy and others have amazing invertebrate spotting. I have only been on 3 dives and I have already seen this - there must be so much more to see. There are farms, mountains, museums, waterfalls, ruins, castles, caves, and many, many restaurants. I want to explore every corner of this island, leaving no stone un turned. I want to interact with locals, work on my Japanese, participate in the culture. And, I want to write about it all right here.

This entry is a bit of a catch up on what has been happening since I have been off the grid for sometime, but also a recommitment. I am on a serious adventure, in so many different ways, and I plan on documenting and sharing the details. Stay tuned!