Archive for August, 2011

AdventurEnding

The End

Well, dear readers, this is a somewhat bittersweet moment. After two years of maintaining this blog of my life, it’s time to bring it to an end. After all, why should I write a blog entitled “AlabamAdventures” if I’m no longer in Alabama? Of course, I’m sure many of you had already figured out that I wouldn’t be staying in Alabama forever. Once I was certain that I wasn’t sticking around, I didn’t come right out and say it, but I did certainly hint that the day of departure was to come sooner, rather than later.

Many months ago, I wrote a draft of this final post and let it sit for a while so that I could pull it out and use it for this momentous occasion. Unfortunately, most of the post is somewhat obsolete as I’ve updated this blog with the various activities that I’ve been involved in this year. Fortunately, this means that I can’t use the post, which had a very morose tone anyways.  And yet, it still had some things that I think still need to be said.

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s been kind of a slow year in terms of adventures. I haven’t really had anything noteworthy enough to write about. This is actually somewhat of a good thing, since most of the things I write about are when things in life don’t go as planned (don’t even get me STARTED on airplanes). And yet, in order to keep this blog from getting too stale, I tried to write a post once every month. Not some of my best writing, but when you’re forcing yourself to write just to keep the readers coming back, the result can often be somewhat banal.

From the very beginning, Alabama was a culture shock for me. Having lived in Colorado for most of my life, the changes ended up conflicting with what I had come to regard as normal. Now granted, I am anything but normal, which you may read into in whichever way you would like. However, for the past two years, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a constant state of resistance against the local culture and climate. Let’s just say that I’m glad my apartment had air-conditioning. To keep this a more upbeat post, I’m not going to mention the variety of things that I resisted while in the south.

Now granted, I have made many friends down here, and I’ve been able to connect to a few of my interests, which has made the decision to leave somewhat difficult. When I left Colorado two years ago, pretty much my immediate family were the only ones that were a little sad to see me go. And yet, in two short years, I have been blessed so much with friends at work and church and Bible study that I eventually grew tired of them telling me that I could not leave.

Still, there were times that I felt a bit stifled, and I think the move will definitely help. When I finished my 7 month rotation in Maryland, I felt like I had come out of the wilderness with a greater understanding of how I tick. I was ready to take on the world. And yet, it wasn’t until the end of my two years in Alabama that I actually feel like I’m ready to emerge from the wilderness.

Part of me feels like I need a fresh start. A clean slate. A second chance. My first few years on my own definitely had many learning experiences. Many failures. Many poor decisions. Somehow, parts of Huntsville seem to embody those failures for me. But other parts of Huntsville also hold significance for my successes, so there is a balance. Still, perhaps getting away from the source of those early, formative years of my independent life will be the way I can finally emerge from my shell and let my life truly begin. After all, how often do we get second chances in life?

When it comes down to it, I am really excited for this new chapter in my life. Not only will I probably get to use some of my skills that I’ve spent years refining, be they skills for work or otherwise, but I feel that I will have access to far more opportunities here because this time I will be looking for them. Still, I will keep this blog up as a landmark and a milestone of where I’ve been. I won’t be updating this site anymore. In fact, I’m liable to stop blogging like this altogether. If there’s anything interesting in my life, I’ll probably write a facebook note about it. At the very least, I don’t like beating myself up over not writing anything in this blog just because it’s here. You can’t control your life for entertainment purposes. I appreciate those who have paid attention over the last two years, but I’ve seen the stats for this site, and I know it won’t really be missed. When it comes down to it, I did this blog for myself, and now I have lost interest (it’s more difficult to come up with titles than I had originally thought). The move from Alabama is only a convenient way to call it quits.

However, this doesn’t mean I’ll stop blogging entirely. I just won’t be blogging about my personal life. Work has already begun on a new blog about movies that will be similar to the articles that I used to write for my college newspaper. As such, I can prepare many posts ahead of time in order to provide a steady stream of posts for you, the valued reader.

So, with this new chapter in my life, I’d ask that you pray that I would have courage to step outside my comfort zone, to not be afraid to try, to accept failures gracefully and to appreciate the successes when they happen. There’s nothing much left to say but, “Once more, from the top. And this time, with feeling!”

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ReversExodus

Let me just say that even if you’re experienced at moving around, it doesn’t make it any easier. This August has been no exception. Granted, for the last 7 years I’ve been moving into a new residence around August, just like clockwork. However, those last 7 years had to do with school and work. This one was no different.

However, unlike the simple moves from Fort Collins to Golden, or from one apartment to another, the cross-country move is usually difficult, not only logistically, but just in general. With my graduation from the Career Development Program at work, my time in Alabama came to an end. Now, to those who would jump to conclusions, I’m not leaving my job, I’m merely transferring to a position in another state. And as luck would have it, that state is Colorado.

So this August I packed up my things and did the reverse trip of the move I made two years ago to live in Alabama. Of course, having had two years of a steady and healthy income, my worldly possessions weren’t nearly as compact as they were when I moved down there. To make things more complicated, paperwork issues made this a tight move; tighter than was comfortable for me. Everything worked out, but that’s not to say I didn’t stress out about it.

But the stress of moving aside, I tend to stress out about things that I have no control over. I stress because I have no control over them. If I could control them, then I would be certain that everything would work out. And yet, conservative communication from those who hold vital pieces of information doesn’t make anything better. Anyways, enough of my rambling: It’s story time.

A week after I graduated from the Career Development Program, I headed to Colorado Springs to secure an apartment. This alone made the transition to Colorado easier than the one to Alabama, because I knew where I was going to stay before I packed everything up and headed out the door. There’s a lot you can do ahead of time with an address.

In order to actually find an apartment, I made a spreadsheet of about 25 different options, of which 7 I decided to pursue. God blessed me with an almost outrageously obvious choice. Of course, this time when I was looking for apartments, I knew what questions to ask and what to look for, having had to put up with far too much in the past. At any rate, with paperwork signed, I headed back to Alabama to plan the rest of my move.

And this is where it began to get complicated. It seems that the dates that I wanted to move were far too soon to adequately prepare movers to move my stuff. Fortunately, God came through again and I had to make only minor adjustments to my plan. Of course, when situations arise that are off-book, I quickly made adaptations that didn’t really matter in the end. But at least I could quickly change to the circumstances.

So, the week of the move quickly came upon me, but not without its headaches at work. On the Friday before I was to leave, I was handed an outprocessing form from the organization that I started with two years ago. Considering that they should have known months ahead of time that I was not staying with their organization, this last second form to fill out irked me something fierce. What was described as taking “a few hours” ended up taking almost two full days to get signatures. The end result: they took away my work laptop and now I was headed to my new job with a literal clean slate and a blind sense of what to do next.

Now, on top of this paperwork at work, I still hadn’t heard from the people who would physically be touching my stuff. I had no idea who was coming to pack and load my things, and I did not know when they would even show up at my apartment. Fortunately, I had help with this move. While I was at work trying to get initials on a form, I got a call from my mom who was down in Alabama to help me move back. Apparently the packers were at my apartment. I quickly hurried home and directed what needed to be packed and what did not. I told them that I would have liked some warning ahead of time, so they made sure to get my phone number so that they could tell me when they were coming to pick everything up.

The next day they called and said they would be at my apartment between 8am and 9am. That evening I got another call from another phone number saying they’d be at my apartment at 8am to pick up my stuff. I thought this was merely a re-confirmation, but it wasn’t until the next day that I found out that it wouldn’t be that simple.

So, the day of the move my mom and I wake up and begin packing our vehicles with the important things that I need to move personally. As we finish up, a big truck comes by and two guys get out. 7:30. Half an hour early. Nice. When they get in the apartment, they ask if the packers left any paperwork for them. They hadn’t. This meant that the loaders had to inventory my stuff, which took some time, not to mention that they had to unpack what was already in their truck so that my stuff could be loaded onto it.

Similarly, they seemed to be taking their time getting this stuff done, which is not what I wanted when I knew that I would be spending the entire day driving. I have a one bedroom apartment, which should not take 3 hours to load. Of course, that’s not even the worst part of it. At about 9:30, the people who packed my stuff showed up. Considering that they were half an hour late from when they said they’d arrive, I wondered if they were even supposed to load my stuff. It seems that during the “peak season” of moves, which just so happens to coincide with my move, double-booking movers is not uncommon. Doesn’t make sense to me, but whatever.

The fortunate circumstance of having the first movers show up early was that they were actually going to move my stuff to my apartment in Colorado. Of course, this was after learning that they were told that it was going into storage in Colorado. I don’t know where they got that idea, since I’ve been telling the people in charge of my move that it was an apartment-to-apartment move. This is why it was fortunate that the packers showed up late: they were going to take my stuff and put it in storage in Alabama, which would have just made its transit even less expeditious.

At any rate, once we made it clear that they were taking far too long in moving my stuff out of my apartment, since I still needed to vacuum and turn in the keys at the front office, two more people magically appeared and the work was quickly done. I guess the lesson here is to make sure that you make it clear how pressed for time you really are.

With the brunt of things that are out of my control on a move out of the way, we hopped in the cars and drove out to Colorado. We couldn’t have asked for better driving weather or driving conditions in general. Since this post is getting a little long, I’ll merely close by saying that this decision to move back to Colorado was made many months ago, but I did not want to tell anyone about it until I had the paperwork that would get me back home in hand. I would hate to say, “I’m leaving in July,” only to leave a month later. Of course, as with any big life decision, this move has its pros and its cons. It’s just that the pros far outweighed the cons. Let’s just say, I’m glad to be back in my home state: it’s where I feel I belong.

View from the Apartment

And now that I just need to wait for my stuff to arrive, I’m enjoying the right choice in apartments. Not only is it literal walking distance from lots of shopping, but it’s so close to major roads that I can get anywhere in town quickly. And with lots of natural light, two-story vaulted ceilings, and a digital thermostat, what’s not to love? Of course, so far there have been no noise complaints on my part, and I think it may just stay that way. Besides, with a view from my porch that allows me to see almost all of Colorado Springs, how can I lose?