The big picture

Dallas and talked a lot this past weekend and yesterday afternoon about The Future. (Yes, it requires capital letters.) He’s getting to the point in his education where we’ll have to start really thinking about where in the world we’re going to be. Right now he’s filling out applications and gathering paperwork for a few fellowships. Theoretically, we could be in any one of three or four different places next year. Well, “we” could be in three of them. One of them would require him to spend a school year in Romania, and if he gets that one, he’s going by himself.

It’s a little scary. Before three months ago, I had never lived outside Michigan. The biggest city I’d ever lived in had a population of 26,000. The two places I called home growing up have a combined population of under 10,000 people. Now “home” is a place with upwards of 70,000 people, where towns run together and the county-wide school district sustains five separate high schools.

We could be staying put here. We could be moving back to Michigan. We could be moving someplace new (Washington, DC is a possibility, if he gets a certain fellowship he’s applying for). Either way, there’s a good chance we could be moving again in the fall of 2015, right after we get married, depending on fellowships/potential teaching positions. He’ll be about a year from having his PhD in hand then, so we could be moving so he can pick up a teaching job.

Back in the early days of our relationship, Dallas showed me his five-year plan, and it seemed like he didn’t even expect to have a girlfriend during grad school. Sometimes I’ve wondered if our relationship has changed the way he approaches potential opportunities, if he doesn’t apply for things he’s totally qualified for because he’s hesitant to be away from me for so long. He was waffling a little about going to Romania because it meant he’d be gone for twelve months instead of eleven, but it was just too good an opportunity for him to turn it down. Of course I don’t want to hold him back in any way, but I definitely appreciate that he cares about my feelings and considers them when he makes a major decision that will affect both of us.

The long separations and the general uncertainty surrounding the next several years of our life together are difficult to think about, but we’ll get through it. It’ll be an adventure, and I can’t think of anybody else I’d want to share this life with. It won’t be boring, that’s for sure.


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