Our story

On staying open…

I have aspirations of sitting down to write weekly entries; a chronicle of the highs and lows we took on in uprooting our family in search of a better quality of life.  But in trying to focus on what matters (to me), I find myself resisting the computer and spending my free time outside, with others, or in front of a good book.

Nevertheless, I feel the need to tie up the story thread I started in sharing how we came to live in Vermont.  So here goes…

The first 12 months were filled with construction and lots of visitors. The visitors were such a gift, because they assuaged the loneliness I’d felt in missing the incredible community we left behind.

Three months after we arrived I fell off stacked boulders picking apples in our yard and broke my wrist and elbow.  I was in a cast for 12 weeks while Greg traveled for work up to a month at a time, and we were living in a house with no heat and a very leaky roof. The community I thought we were guaranteed through our son’s school offered nothing, and that was my first reality check that leaving one’s network is hard and, despite being surrounded by abundant natural beauty, my soul would not survive on greenery alone.

I’ve since spoken to other transplants who’ve experienced a similar surprise in the reverse – e.g. inadvertently offending someone by offering to help.  New England is an interesting contrast to California and I’m not claiming one is better than the other, it’s just different.

Fast forward to now, our second autumn in Vermont.  We built a beautiful second story and are slowly renovating the first floor on our own.  (We own a nail gun!  And a welding torch!)  We still have a lot of visitors (my door will always be open), but I’m mindful of our need to weave ourselves into a community here. So we’re making time for that, as well.

Our last big piece of news is that we’re homeschooling our son.  How many times have I said I would never homeschool?  So many.  I was so ignorant of the stigma I attributed to homeschooling.  Even after we made the decision to try it I’ve wanted to keep it to ourselves, in fear of failing publicly.  But guess what?  It is such a good fit for our son. I’m not sure if it’s the Vermont factor, as I’m 99% certain that if we had stayed in California we definitely would not be doing it, for a variety of reasons.  There are so many cool programs here and it has given us unique opportunities to explore this gorgeous state.  Our son has never been happier and I am slowly letting go of the (super judgmental) belief that homeschooling is only for the super-religious or misfits.  Or maybe we *are* misfits?  As I like to remind myself, I am still learning.

We are still trying to figure out the work thing.  Right now, Greg flies back at least every three weeks.  That may sound crazy-pants, but there are a surprising number of families who have relocated here within the last 5 years with at least one wage earner commuting to NYC, Boston, Atlanta, even cross-country.  The work landscape is changing rapidly to allow this, and I think the movement is a testament to the quality of life people are seeking and which is facilitated here.

All that being shared, we do not relish being apart for up to 10 days at a time and are actively trying to figure out the changes we can make and afford in order to stay aligned with our core values.   The Type A in me has dwindled but it is still there in measurable quantities, and so it takes practice for me to stay open to the possibilities, knowing what we want without yet knowing whether it is meant to be.  I’ll keep you posted.

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  • Robin November 4, 2016 at 9:30 PM

    I so relate to your journey! I moved to Southern Vermont from the SF Bay Area in August and am feeling lonely for my old tribe. It is definitely more difficult to make connections here than in California. People are kind but not overtly friendly. I moved here because my son got in to college in upstate NY and we wanted to be somewhat near to each other and because I can’t afford to live in the Bay Area (where I have lived for all 50-something years of my life) anymore. I am optimistic that I will make friends here, but right now, I feel isolated and worried about the winter. xo

  • Elizabeth November 4, 2016 at 10:48 PM

    Hang in there. It is only in this second year that I have felt like we are beginning to make headway in finding our “tribe.” But I am also making more of an effort, so that might be key? I definitely use social media more here than when we were in CA. Let me know if you ever come up our way! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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