Wednesday, November 21, 2012


My partner and I flew in last night to his home town for Thanksgiving. We spent a chunk of the morning going to his favorite cheese store, bakery, and grocery store for our contributions for Thanksgiving dinner. I found myself longing to live again in a place with good food, where I can walk down the street and not be the only non-white face in sight for blocks. I found myself thinking about the job application due at the end of the month that would, if successful, land me in Large City, and give him a doable commute to His Town.

"I wonder why I didn't just take a job in the private sector years ago. I could live where I want," he says on the walk home.

"It's not too late," I reply, surprising myself. I confess to thinking similar thoughts and doubts about our 2-body problem during our shopping trip. "I think being back here has made me homesick. The US, in all its diversity, is my country, my politics, my issues. Its what I know."

We talk about places we've lived and loved, and where we'd like to get back to. As I'm starting to feel the futility and exhaustion of it all, he becomes more positive. "I think it's just that I really hate His Town. Its good for having a small kid, but eventually we will out grow it."

"Maybe I'll get a job in Large City."

"I could see us loving Large City." We talk about what we want to give our son, if we lived in a perfect world, fantasize about having jobs in the same University, where our commutes could become time we spent together as a couple, worry about having jobs we hate.

In the past, when I've thought about leaving academia have been periods when I've been frustrated with my job, or felt stuck or isolated academically, or been exhausted from single parenting. I've been so very happy with my new academic home. I've been busy with new projects. I've been telling everyone that only thing I hate about my new situation is the commute. Where did this sudden surge of misery come from?

1 comment:

  1. I have experienced this surge in the past; though admittedly I was in the non-US place just for a few months. I think I felt isolated ethnically since I was the only one with a non-white face in the whole neighborhood; I loved my department and colleagues but it didn't stop me from feeling frustrated.

    Never had to experience this in Big_US-City even though I may have been more miserable academically at times.