If you have been following my new Instagram account, you have been getting little hints that something big is in the works for us. There were pictures of us dropping Chris off at the airport and, of course yesterday’s blog post had photos of us picking him up with Nora’s adorable handwritten sign.
(She told me what she wanted to say and I made dotted line letters with a pencil, then she traced them with markers.)
I didn’t say much about the why or where of his trip, mostly because I was in utter and complete denial. Back when we learned that Chris had (sort of) lost his job starting in January, one of my biggest fears was that it would mean us also losing Nantucket. I love this island to my very core — everything about it from the people to the climate to the tiny footprint it allows us and even the annoying HDC that keeps it looking like no other place in America. From the first time I stepped foot on a ferry boat to visit Chris while he worked at 21 Federal five summers ago, when I only fantasized about living here, to the magical days when moving 30 miles out-to-sea actually became a possibility and then reality, I felt like Nantucket is where I belong. Chris and I love this little island and had visions of one day owning a home here so we could raise our children and grow old on Nantucket. So when what we thought was one of the most stable restaurant jobs out here turned out to be just as unstable as the next, I was heartbroken.
The biggest downside to our tiny island paradise is that there are only so many jobs in any given industry, and when it comes to management-level chef jobs, there are only a handful. As much as I wish we could hang around here biding our time waiting for one to become available, it’s not realistic financially and it would drive Chris nuts. Cooking isn’t just a job for him; it is his career. It’s what he went to school for and it’s his passion. He’s not going to hammer nails all winter just so he can do what he loves eight months out of the year. And thus, as much as I love Nantucket, as much as this place and this community feels like such a huge part of me, Chris’ career is one of our biggest priorities — which meant, after our terrifying November news, he started applying for jobs on- and off-island.
Initially, I was so, so hopeful that something magical would fall into our laps here on island. And then, I was hopeful that he would find something nearby enough that we could still enjoy New England and at least visit the island every now and then. There a few jobs and a few interviews, but nothing that really excited him until one day two weeks ago. When he hung up the phone after a detailed interview, giddy to tell me about the executive chef job at a new restaurant, I was almost afraid to ask the “where” question. But I did, and then I pretty much had a heart-attack on the spot.
Wyoming. The job is in Wyoming. And not the pretty, mountainous part of Wyoming, but flat-treeless-almost-South Dakota Wyoming.
After a few more phone interviews, as Chris’ excitement continued mounting, I decided to look up the town…and when they flew him out for a final interview in person, I’ll admit I almost wanted it to go poorly. When it didn’t go poorly and he called me from his hotel after a day spent visiting schools and apartments, the restaurant site and the community recreation center, I’ll admit I cried. When the offer came in and it was exactly what we would have asked for and when he accepted the job two days ago, I just wanted to go back a couple months to my blissfully unaware last summer on Nantucket.
This job and this move is the best thing for our family, because it is the best thing for Chris’ career and the best thing for us financially. Even though I’m losing my island family and moving to a place far across the country with a culture dramatically different from that which I cherish, I’m working hard to look at things positively. Land is so cheap; maybe we’ll have a farm. I was thinking about homeschooling anyway, so maybe it won’t matter if there isn’t a private school there that I like. This will bring us a little closer to family. The low cost of living means we can pay off our student debt even faster. There may not be a La Leche League, but I’m a leader, so I can start my own group. No matter the negative, I am determined to find the joy in the situation: this is just one more twist in our road to where we want to be. I’m so bound and determined to think positively, I even made myself a little motivational poster:
And then, because there’s no other way to look at this than as our next adventure, I decided to make this poster, too:
There will be lots of happiness in the New Year as we finally get to meet Peach. There will be craziness as we try to balance a three year old and a newborn and a cross-country move. And there will be plenty of sadness when we really have to say goodbye to Nantucket. But until then, there is nothing to do but keep calm, take things as they come, and be incredibly thankful that Chris was able to find something he’s so excited about in such a short amount of time.
I never though that Nantucket would be such a short phase, but it’s been wonderful to us and it will continue to be wonderful to us until the very end. I’ll do my best to keep you updated and hope you’ll continue to follow us along as we get ready to start our next adventure…in…Wyoming.