Thursday, April 27, 2017

Facing Big Changes, One Step at a Time

I've been a bit tight-lipped here on the blog about some big changes happening in my real life, mostly because while we knew they were coming, we didn't know how or when or where. For basically this whole year, we've been living in a state of anxious anticipation about our foggy future and trying to figure out our next steps. But things are finally starting to come into sharper focus, and so I feel okay now with sharing some of these bigger bits of news here on the blog.

As my faithful readers know, last fall I began applying to PhD programs. In mid-February, I learned I was accepted, with good funding, to two of these programs, and in March I accepted a place at the University of Kansas. My husband immediately began a job search that went through several rounds of ups and downs, but yesterday he accepted a very good offer with a law firm in Kansas City, and today he gave notice to his firm here in Houston. And so next month we will be moving.

To Kansas.

Looks like we're going to need to resurrect this family Halloween costume from 2012. And I've always loved ruby red shoes, so I should fit right in. There's no place like home, right? (If I'm going to live in Kansas, I might as well own it.)

I still can't quite wrap my head around that. I never in my life imagined I would live in Kansas. In my opinion, it has always firmly belonged to fly-over country, with nothing very interesting to recommend it at all. My husband is actually still trying to grapple with it himself. He grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City, but on the Missouri side (the city straddles the state line) which he has always been very careful to clarify to people who ask. Apparently it's far more respectable to live on the Missouri side.

But my school is on the Kansas side. Actually, my school is in Lawrence Kansas, about forty miles away from Kansas City. If we can get a house in the neighborhood we want, I will have about a forty minute drive to school, and my husband will have about a forty minute drive in the opposite direction to his job downtown. Perhaps this doesn't sound ideal, but it's not very different from the commutes we endured for work and school here in Houston, except instead of rush hour traffic it will be open stretches of corn fields, which sounds like a much more soothing commute in my opinion.

There are still a million things we have to figure out. Like buying a house. But guys! We are actually going to buy a house! I mean, hopefully. This whole house-buying thing is a bit crazy and overwhelming to first timers like us. It doesn't help the the market where we are looking, while reasonable price-wise, is uncomfortably fast moving. I'll probably dedicate a whole post to my anxieties over this process, but can I just say, after dipping our toes in the water I'm completely flabbergasted that literally millions of people have gone through this horrible process. I mean, this is seriously complicated stuff, and we are both reasonably competent, degree-holding people, but even I'm wondering why we are subjecting ourselves to this madness. Also, buying a house long-distance is terrible. Which is why we're actually moving in with my in-laws (on the Missouri side) and then going to buy once we're up there, which will be better for the sake of flexibility and finding the perfect fit, but means life is going to be crazy and unsettled in the short term.

Once we figure out housing, then we can move on to figuring out kindergarten (can't believe we're moving on to that phase!) and childcare, both of which are kind of major stresses weighing me down right now.

And then, after all of that is figured out, the only thing left will be that tiny little detail of getting my PhD. No biggie.

But despite the magnitude of logistics ahead of us, and the inherent anxiety in all these changes, plus a variety of other emotions accompanying this move, I have still felt an undercurrent of peace and a sureness that everything is going to work out because this is exactly what we are supposed to be doing. I'm still not sure why this is the plan for our family, or what the heck I'm going to do with a PhD once (IF!!!) I earn it. Me going back to school, my husband taking such a massive pay cut (it is a massive pay cut), leaving our life here... it all feels so counter-intuitive to the life we thought we were building. But it also feels right in a way that is undeniable. I hope this all makes sense some day in the future, but for now, we are taking it one step at a time.


  1. Congratulations!!! Best of luck with the move and the unsettledness for the short term.

  2. Hey, I lived in KC for a couple of years! That's where I met my husband, actually! Funny thing is--I lived on the Kansas side (actually down in Shawnee-Mission) and he was up in KC, MO. We always thought the Missouri side was the sketchy side! Ha! I guess that's why we had to live in Missouri for 3 years afterword--to humble us down a bit. :)
    I feel your pain with the house-hunting business. Oh my goodness. We are in the middle of that all right now. I can also really relate to feeling peaceful about everything, despite the current craziness, because I know we're doing what God wants us to be doing. It's a good feeling, isn't it?
    It will work out!
    Kansas City has some really great things to do. I bet you'll really like it once you get settled in! Plus, there's a temple there now! You'll be really close to several great church history sites, too.
    You will make it through this!

    1. So funny! My husband admits that the Kansas side has the nicer suburbs to live in (although he grew up in Lee's Summit, which is quite nice), but he thought it was better to be able to say he was from Missouri, not Kansas. Plus, all the fun city stuff (shopping, sports teams, airport, temple, church history sites, etc.) are all on the Missouri side. So fun that you guys have a KC connection!

  3. Congrats! Lots of big changes, but they sound like good ones. I have friends that grew up on the Missouri side of KC - the Leaks.

    I just went through the buying a house in a fast moving market process, and it was crazy. People were putting in offers sight-unseen, which was really frustrating. I didn't think I'd ever find something, but I actually ended up with something I love (moving in tomorrow). I felt like I was more knowledgeable than the average first-time home buyer and pretty savvy with personal finance, but the one thing I wish someone had told me is to budget to make extra mortgage payments, especially in your first few years. Your first several years of payments are mostly interest, so if you pay extra on the principal, you can shave years and thousands of dollars off your mortgage. Because of the competitive market I ended up buying at the top of my (self-imposed) range, so when I heard the advice to pay extra on the mortgage, I didn't have as much wiggle room in my budget.

    1. Congratulations on finding a new home! I can't wait to hear all about it. Good luck with your move too!

  4. Congrats! We're so excited to have you guys closer!

    1. We're excited to be closer too!It will be so good to get to see more of you. :)

  5. Congrats! I'm excited to hear more of your adventures with school, looking for a house, and what Kansas life brings! :)