Friday, March 8, 2013

"The space between the tears we cry, is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more"

The dream sheet that I had been dreading found it's way into my mailbox in late January.  The seemingly simple piece of paper threw me into what would become a two-month long meltdown by asking me to simply select a box with my intentions for next year.  Would I be returning to Savoonga? Would I like to transfer within the district?  Did I intend to resign at the expiration of my contract?

The moment I saw the dream sheet in my mailbox, I got a knot in my stomach. When Joe lightheartedly (and I think unsuspectingly,) asked me five minutes later if I knew of anyone not coming back next year, I thought I might lose my lunch. When I finally mustered up the courage to talk to my principal two weeks later, I had officially stopped sleeping regularly at night.

I was advised to state that we'd be returning, so that I'd get a contract and another month to decide.

What I thought: Buy some more time. Awesome. Perfect solution.
What actually happened: I bought myself an extra month of torture: anxiety, endless second-guessing, and way too many sleepless nights.

We weren't coming back.  We had booked our [one way] flights home.  We updated our resumes and applied for jobs.  I even had a few phone interviews! I printed out the resignation form from the district website.  My daily (seemingly healthy yet potentially destructive) habit was obsessive, late-night, craigslist scouring for available apartments that allowed dogs. We shipped boxes back to the East coast.

The contract sat on my desk staring at me for three solid weeks.  I did everything in my power to avoid looking at it.  I even put it in the closet for a while.  The knot in my stomach grew as I closed in on the last thing on my "TO-DO Before Spring Break" list.  Brendan and I must have had the same conversation about 700 times.  "Are we doing the right thing?"  "Yeah, we'll find jobs.  And we'll be able to have a beer at the end of the day!"

The anxiety finally ceased this week when we made our final decision: accepting the contract and returning for another year in Savoonga. 

In the end, it wasn't about the little things we miss like being able to go out to dinner, order takeout/have a drink at the end of a long day, or even so much about finding jobs for next year.  It came down to the reasons we came here in the first place: wanting to make sure we were making the most of our Alaskan adventure, and making progress with the kids.  We moved here to make an investment in our future. It's given us the opportunity to develop our personal and professional goals, and has taught us so much about ourselves and about each other.  

So thank you, Gaetano for asking us if we were really sure if we wanted our Alaskan adventure to be over.  And thank you, Rachel for reminding us that happiness is a choice--something we need to keep reminding ourselves of. Thank you, everyone who has listened to our ups and downs, has lent us hands packing and shoulders to cry on, and for not hating us when we changed our minds again and again.  And again.

Of course we miss our family, friends and life we left behind.  We think of you every single day, and your support keeps us going!  Mom kicking cancer's butt again this year helped us to keep things in perspective and reminded us not to quit.  We're still looking forward to the move home; we just postponed it a little bit! Our goal for the next year is to embrace each day, the good ones along with the challenges.  We're laughing about the insane amount of snow covering our house, and trying not to feel too claustrophobic about it.  As always, our door is open (even though you might have to dig to open it) to anyone adventurous enough to visit!

Keep your fingers crossed for us that the weather cooperates and we make it off the island for Spring Break, and that we get a chance to celebrate the continuation of our adventure!