Moving to Milledgeville

About a month ago, just before setting off on our vacation, Stephanie received great news: a fantastic job offer to continue pursuing her college teaching career. As Georgia College and State University‘s new Assistant Professor of Latin American and Caribbean History, she’ll be teaching in her field at a small liberal arts school, with a supportive faculty and lots of freedom to design her classes and inspire students towards further study and excitement about Latin America.

Georgia College and State University

Her new professorship is a tenure-track position, up for review in 3 years. This means we know where we’ll be living and working for the next several years, little Milledgeville, Georgia (population 17,715; state capitol up through the Civil War). Smack in the middle of the state, it’s a reasonable drive to the coast (Savannah), and to most of Stephanie’s family (Atlanta is two hours away, South Carolina a three-hour drive). School starts August 19th, so the move is coming up in just over a month.

In addition to the great opportunity for Stephanie, I’m excited for the move for many reasons centered on the ruralness of the area. Surrounded by the Baldwin State Forest, and a short drive to the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, we’ll have no shortage of nearby woods to explore. There are numerous small lakes in the area in addition to the large reservoir Lake Sinclair. Kayaks are likely in our future.

Compared to our tiny Philadelphia one bedroom apartment, we’ll be moving to a house with a yard. (We’ll also have room for visitors to stay with us comfortably again.) We’re optimistic our landlord will let us grow a garden, and in the long growing season of the south (USDA Zone 8!) I’m looking forward to quite the garden, and will try to even get in some greens this fall.

We don’t actually know where we’re going to live yet, whether we’ll find a nice place in town or a few miles out – perhaps towards the lake, or a lot buried in the woods – because we’re waiting until we can drive around and get used to the area before renting for the year. To make this feasible, we’re moving with a container service who will store our belongings for a month, and we’ve rented a short-term place for the three weeks of August by negotiating a cheap rate from a furnished vacation rental on the lake. But watching the rental listings, it looks like there will be some good possibilities for September (though I may have to settle for an electric stove).

Another new start to undertake, we’re thrilled to be heading south this year with a great future ahead of us.

A walk in the woods

This semester is flying by! I cannot believe Trick-or-Treaters are out, and that it is only a month until Luke and I travel Down South for Thanksgiving with our parents. It’s all really exciting, but also a little overwhelming.

My first attempt at teaching has had a lot of ups and downs. I know this is a normal experience, but it’s not yet a comfortable one. I’m learning so much about how to prepare lectures, engage students with the material, choose reading assignments that provoke discussion, organize a class (and then reorganize it when it is not working), establish class policies and how/when to bend them. I still feel like I have a long way to go before I’m “seasoned,” and the fact that we’re already halfway through the semester is simultaneously a relief and strong motivation for ending the year on a good note.

With all of these thoughts weighing on my mind, Luke took me on a beautiful hike this morning in Fairmont Park. We meandered along the trails, climbing over logs, bouncing off of rocks, sliding on the leaves covering the ground, and breathing in the amazing smells of Fall. It was just the break I needed – a perfect mix of physical exertion, quiet calm, and clearing my head by talking and talking to my patient husband.

Last night, we danced and danced to Brown Bird and Yonder Mountain String Band at a venue just down the street from us. Taking time out of our normal routine to dance and to talk, to play outdoors and to hold hands…this weekend has reminded me how important it is to relax and to breathe before gearing up for whatever is next.

Brown Bird

Yonder Mountain String Band