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Monthly Archives: July 2014

While I don’t head for Alaska for a week, I’ve already moved out of my apartment. For the next six days, I am once more living with my parents.

I grew up in this house, but it is no longer the home of my childhood. The living room has been rearranged several times since we initially moved in just before my second birthday; currently the only furniture that has been present since that time are the carved table, carved screen, and Wedgewood cabinet. The kitchen was renovated during my freshman year of college, trading 1950’s era counters and cabinets for wood and slate and faux-marble.

I’ve helped to make some of these changes. For example, any day that I wasn’t called in to substitute teach I spent painting the living room, dining room, and front hallway. I helped pick out some of the knickknacks that line the hallways, and had a say in what color to paint the walls of the renovated kitchen.

Other changes were made regardless of my opinion, like the re-purposing of my childhood room. I knew that this would happen once I moved out. Where once the walls were lined with shelves of Star Wars figures and books, they’ve been painted a rich cobalt blue. My bed was donated to a child up the street, and a new love seat/sleeper sofa has been moved in. Ultimately, the plan is to move Mom’s desk up from its spot downstairs, but for the time being the room is full of the things I’m packing to take with me.

Still other changes are things that no one really had any control over. In the main bathroom, I feel like I both shrank and grew: While the ceiling and mirror are higher than at my apartment, the sink is lower. I had to go into the attic to retrieve a couple of things, and had to bend nearly double to avoid hitting my head on the rafters. Once upon a time, I could stand upright up there. While we once again have two cats and a dog, they are not the same cats and dog that dominate my childhood memories.

And so as I spend my days packing and playing with the pets and re-packing and visiting with family and friends and packing some more, I can’t help but wonder: What changes will happen while I’m away? I guess only time will tell.

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I imagine that most everyone moves at least once in their lifetime. It can be a small move, from townhouse to house. It can be emotionally huge, such as moving into the college dorm or moving from your parents’ house to your first apartment. It can be geographically huge, moving across state or maybe even national borders.

My current move fits the latter two categories. I was born and raised in Southwest Pennsylvania. I went to college in Northwest Pennsylvania. Barring a one-month trip to Colorado, I have always lived in Pennsylvania. Yet in a little less than two weeks, I will be moving to Alaska.

I think it’s safe to say that I am equal parts excited and apprehensiveĀ about this move. I’m excited because the reason I’m moving is that I finally secured a full-time teaching job, something I’ve wanted for a while now. The fact that the classroom is combined 3rd/4th grade, which is my favorite age to work with, is even better. I’m also excited about getting to see a new part of the country and learn about a new culture and way of life.

Of course, the new way of life is also part of my apprehension. I have no frame of reference for how the people of this community, an Inuit village, live beyond what I’ve read and seen on TV or in movies. I’ll be almost literally in the middle of nowhere, 30 miles from the nearest town. There are no roads in the village; travel in and out is done by boat or bush plane. Anything I want to bring with me has to either fit in the suitcase or be shipped ahead of time. Most of all, I’m apprehensive about living stealth for the foreseeable future. Early last week, I drafted an e-mail to the head of personnel for the district, coming out, but I didn’t send it. The last time I was living stealth, I was still in my hometown, and only had to worry about it during working hours at the school. At the end of the day, I’d go home to my parents’ place and it wasn’t an issue anymore. On weekends I’d be at my other job, where they’d known me for years, or hanging out with friends, and my status as trans wasn’t a problem. The point is, I didn’t have to live stealth full-time; I always had someone to talk to. Granted, in this age of technology I won’t be cut off from my support network. But I’ve always done better when I have someone I can talk to face-to-face. Also, when I’m stealth, it feels like there’s this constant pressure on me, weighing me down. I feel constantly on my guard, over-thinking everything I say or do, afraid of letting something slip.

So yes, I’m apprehensive. And excited. So bring on the move. I’m ready for the challenge.