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More Change On the Way…

I just got off the phone with a good friend who was reminding me of how much my life has changed since this time last year.  She pointed out that last winter I was in complete turmoil, essentially unemployed and not knowing where I was going to live or what I was going to do.  I had faith then (albeit, at times rather shaky) that things would work out, and that they have.  My research and writing are moving forward well now, I have a wonderful home and very enjoyable work.  I also have found great places to train and exercise the dogs, and the cats are happy as clams with their new freedom and small kingdom on the hill.  Life these days is pretty good.

So of course this means time for more change.  Naturally!  As I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve been offered a wonderful opportunity to teach several courses next year.  Three to be precise.  I’m quite excited about this as the courses will be fun to put together and teach.  The financial part, however, won’t be quite enough to make ends meet but  I am hoping the experience will lead to something permanent for the following year.  To make up the difference I was hoping to carry on the work that I am doing this year, however I was offered another course to teach instead.  Gulp.  Now thing are going to be insanely busy.  Teaching four courses is more than a full-time workload for faculty and, as a first time instructor, I know it’s going to be a ridiculous amount of work.  The first round of courses starts 7 months from now and I’m already getting worried about how much work it’s going to be!  Yet this work came to me – I did not go out in search of it.  So it must be the way I am to go right now.

This week I was also given my tentative schedule for next year.  Nothing is final yet, but as it stands I will need to be on campus 3-4 days a week.  If I cannot change this, I am going to have to move.  There’s just no way I can do this commute more than twice a week on a regular basis.  This year I have spent on average between 10-15 hours a week in my car.  Next year I’m going to need that commuting time for other things.  Like sleeping.

I really don’t relish the idea of moving as I am very happy where I am right now.  Perhaps things will change so that I don’t need to move. But if they don’t, I am going to have to start figuring out where I am going to live.  I have been thinking about what I’ll look for, and came up with a small shopping list that I guess I should start putting out to the universe.  Specifically, I want to be within 30 minutes of work (north London), and ideally 20 minutes of the sheep farm where I train. I also want to live either directly on property (so I can run the dogs right from the back door) or in a small community where I can walk to various amenities such as coffee shop or a bakery.  Wherever I live, I must have easy access to a safe place to run the dogs on a daily basis.  And if I live in a town, I want it to be one that actually has a downtown core with a pub and a few business.  The house itself must be affordable, safe for me and the animals (especially for letting the cats outside), warm, dry, peaceful and bright. Oh, and have a sunny garden.  Most definitely a garden.

Too much to ask?  Hopefully not.  I don’t want to get too specific as that will limit what I can find.  Shortening the commute to work and dog training & exercise locations will make my busy schedule easier to survive, and is a priority.  So is finding a place where it is safe to let the cats outside.  Beyond that, I’m pretty flexible and open to creative options.  For example, I’d love to live on a farm where I could do a few chores in exchange for reduced rent.  Unlikely to find with the dogs, but you never know.

I am hoping that the right opportunity will find me, as this current home and these teaching positions both did.  When you are moving in the right direction, the universe makes change (relatively) easy.  Nevertheless, I will still actively start looking for a place once I know for sure what’s going on.  With all these criteria in mind, I’ve decided that St. Marys is where I’ll start.  I’ve always like that town and people I’ve met who live there say they really love it.  It even has a great little farmers market!

I’m feeling quite overwhelmed right now by all I have to do in the next 6 months: writing a dissertation, preparing several courses, possibly moving, presenting in a couple of conferences,  training the dogs, competing in trials and of course all my food projects.  As I watch my freezer and pantry stores dwindle, I am already planning for next year.  But I’m trying to take it all in stride.  I am quite sure that this is the path that I am to follow, although it’s not terribly clear where it’s going right now.  Time will sort it all out, that at least is one thing of which I can be certain!

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