August 26, 2011

Roses and thorns

So, here I am. In California. In one piece, but barely. This has been an intensely busy couple of weeks, and it shows no sign of slowing for the time being. The stress of the move is over, but now there's the transitional stress, the getting-used-to-a-new-life stress, the seriously-grieving-my-losses stress.

Thinking about the events of the past two weeks makes me a little dizzy, to be honest. It hasn't quite hit me yet that it's real, I don't think, mostly because my dad is still here helping me get settled. It's feeling more like a vacation, especially since the apartment complex I'm living in is incredibly fancier than my little place back in the Midwest (two pools! two hot tubs! air conditioning!). And Dad being here is a blessing and a curse; as much as I love him, I'm ready to try and get used to life on my own a little.

And life here is profoundly "on my own." The city I moved to is really great, but more of a city like the one I went to college in: a few shops, a few restaurants, a few amenities, but certainly not Chicago. I'm homesick for a lot of things, mostly for the sake of familiarity. It isn't the Chicago city buses and the El I miss, per se, but knowing what buses I need to take to get to work or what trains take me to where I need to be. I feel very lost here. And it isn't the university that I used to teach at that I miss necessarily, but the ease of returning to a place where I wasn't new. There's a lot of paperwork that needs to be done for a new hire, and because I was hired so recently, there are a lot of bumps and issues we're facing that cause an awful lot of frustration. Things like my employment paperwork not being finished yet, so I don't have an employee ID number, so I can't get an ID card, so I can't make photocopies or take the university bus for free.

These are all things that will sort themselves out eventually, but for now, they're stressors. And I hate to admit that I've been soothing my stresses with food and naps. I have a few great days, then get overwhelmed and just want to eat until I fall asleep. I don't mind occasional off-plan eating, but not when I use the food as a way to avoid dealing with problems. I was struggling with my eating back in Chicago, but I still worked out like a fiend to maintain and keep my gains reasonable. The numbers are irrelevant (though I'm still bouncing around the 190s) - I don't *feel* my healthiest, and that's the part I'm most upset by.

None of this is ideal, but considering the whirlwind of events of the past few weeks, I'm not letting myself feel defeated. I have gone running a few times since arriving, though nothing substantial - three miles at best. It's hard to believe that if I were back in Chicago, I'd be ready for the half marathon in two weeks. There is a "fitness center" in my apartment complex that is comprised of one old treadmill, one old stationary bike, and two weight machines - I'll be signing up at the university gym tomorrow.

I wanted to hate it here so badly - I miss my friends, I miss Bobby, and goodness knows I don't do change very well in any case - but I really love it, and I'm so excited to be working at this new school. The job is absolutely perfect for me - taking a new program and building it up, developing it into something great for the students and for the university. And I am in a great place where I'll be able to bike all over and run outdoors year-round. For now, I am doing the best that I can, making mostly good decisions, and just staying afloat as I deal with a lot of huge changes right now, and as soon as my dad leaves, I'll be able to entirely refocus. I went to a bike shop downtown and saw there's a 5k nearby on Saturday - not anticipating anything like I'm used to, but I'm still incredibly excited to get back out there and run with a crowd.

I have a few ideas of things to write in the next few days - some observances from life on the West Coast, updates on the trip out here, and what happened with Bobby in my final days in Chicago. I've missed writing. I've missed blog reading! And I especially miss the accountability I find here - not being able to track my food on MyFitnessPal has definitely made off-plan eating more accessible, and I can't wait to get back on this morning. I don't have time for new recipes, and I'm a little upset that the Intrepid Chefs has had to be put on the back burner for now, but once the dust settles a bit around here, things will be back to normal, I promise.

What about you? What have you been up to these past two weeks? Any great blog posts I need to make sure I don't miss? (My Google Reader is still saying 1000+ posts after an hour of reading...)


downsizers said...

What great adventures await you in your new hometown I am sure. You will be able to explore and discover and find all the things that will make this new place interesting and fun for you. Introduce yourself to the neighbors, buy a newspaper so you can get a feel for the area, and check out the new workplace. You will be telling us before long how much you love it. A story comes to mind about a little girl shoveling manure furiously in a barn. Her grandfather comes in and asks her what in the world she thinks she's doing. She says to him "With all this crap, there has to be a pony under here somewhere!"

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary, it's good to hear from you again. I can imagine all the stress that a new job and move to a new location would bring. Also, I can say that you are handling it much better than I could with my social anxiety. It sounds like your new teaching job is going to be a great opportunity and I'm excited for you. BTW - I have a free subscription to Rosetta Stone for the next couple of months and I'm dabbling in French. I haven't spent much time with it yet, but as any new language would's totally foreign!

It's nice that your dad has been able to help you move and get settled. Having one person you know around in a sea of newness is helpful. Like you said it will also be nice once he leaves for you to settle in and find your way on your own. Good luck with all that. The 5K sounds like a good idea to get you out there doing something you're used to.

Things will hopefully calm a bit soon and you can start finding a routine that works for you. Best wishes!

Jessica said...

I am glad you like your new place...hopefully you can return to your "routine" soon!

"KT" said...

Your journey is so inspirational to me in so many ways. Moving is hard and scary at first, but this sounds like such a great opportunity, too! Do you think you would have been strong/brave enough to embark on it before you went on your health journey? Best of luck on life in California. :)

Tim said...

Welcome back!

I'm glad you're loving it in California. I can't wait to see some pictures of the place *hint hint* :)

Once the minor stressy things get dealt with then I am sure you can relax a lot more and enjoy your new wonderful life on the West Coast.

Wow, what an adventure you're having! :)

Maia said...

Okay, first: You look super skinny in that photo. Second: CONGRATS on surviving a move across the country! Third: You've been through one of the most stressful things that a person can go through and you did it in record time. The fact that you are essentially maintaining and still have gotten in a few runs should be looked at as being successful and I think you mostly are. If you gain a pound or two, don't stress! You have achieved so much in the past year and this is a GREAT start to this second year of your "new life."

Congrats again, the job sounds amazing and soon everything will fall into place. Where abouts are you in CA, by the way?

gracies tough journey said...

Welcome to California... Hope things work out for you. I wonder if you are at the same University that I work at? hmmmmmmmmm

Take care! Gracie

Sarah said...

Good luck on your new journey, it will take some weeks or months until you feel settled and "at home" but you will get there. Sometimes all we need is a fresh start in our lives.

Hyla said...

How incredibly awesome!! You look happy!

I just posted one of my very favorite posts yesterday.....and there is like NO reading involved! YOu will be in and out in less than 1 minute! (UNless you comment of course!)

Jennie Palluzzi said...

Lady, I am so proud of you. I would love to see you when you're settled, maybe some time over the fall or winter I can drive up and visit - no pressure, but I want to see your face!

I am only a drive away, so know that if you need anything. It's better knowing you have people that can hop in a car and be there, and I'm one of those!

michelle said...

yay for making it and getting settled. you'll get yourself back on track with the eating and working out. i could actually use a bit of your motivation since i've been floundering... you're too fabulous not to get back on course! here's to awesome life decisions :)

marisol said...

Welcome to California Mary! I think you will love this state and all that it has to offer.

From the sounds of the job, this will be a great opportunity for you. I am glad that you like your apartment and things will settle soon. Once classes start and you get situated, you will be back on track.

I will be posting something this weekend (i hope) which I think you will like. I am getting a tattoo this weekend. I hope. I've been going back & forth for a couple of months on what I want and finally decided.

PJ Geek said...

This is an exciting time in your life, a father there to support you, a new job, a new town, somehwat of a new life. It's ok to mourn what you miss and feel a little off kilter. It will ALL fall in to place. Just accept that there will be little upsets and failures at first.

Anonymous said...

I'm catching up on my Google Reader too. First of all, you look fantastic! Secondly, congrats on your move! Give it time and it will all feel normal to you soon enough.