Sunday, September 20, 2009

East or West?

Alongside the total trauma of knowing I will be leaving Morocco in two months, I have the exhilarating and stressful task of deciding where the heck I'm going at that point. Farm internships begin around March or April and I need to begin applying now, but ack! Too many opportunities are not something to ever complain about but I am feeling quite overwhelmed. The beautiful problem is that I'm too open to whatever and wherever. So many places and farms and things going on on those farms and in those places are interesting to me and I just can't whittle it down.

Indiana would be great since Ashley's living and going to school there. I've also always been intrigued by Montana and the Dakotas. Colorado is definitely a must but I think I'll wait until next season (I found a farm I definitely want to work on but want to have a season of experience before applying). Then there's Florida and the Southwest which I have no friends or interest in except that I love humidity and continue to dream of manatees.

The best I can really narrow it down to is the Northwest and the Northeast, which isn't narrowing it down much. By the Northwest I mean northern California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. California of course is home; it's what I know and much of what I love but I'm tempted to stay away for I may end up there. I love it, but don't know that I'm ready to return for good yet. My dad's in southern Washington and my brother is living in Oregon now (and he has more interest in farming than most of my family), so either of those could work. Then, far from both sides of the family, but still within reach, I could go to northern Washington and southern Alaska, wherein lie some very temping farms.

And then there's the opposite coast, particularly Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. I've always had a desire to spend some time in the Northeast; to know for sure whether I'm really a west coaster. I think I am, but I just want to have a taste of the east. A big pro is that my older sister-like-cousin Danielle is currently at Harvard and it would be really cool to live near her. As we grow older I feel like we have more and more in common while seeing one another less and less. There is a dizzying number of amazing farms to work with there, in Maine alone I could be kept working for years. So is it silly to want to move somewhere new and unknown for awhile when really all I want to do is begin to settle down and find my own place? And how shitty of me would it be to pack up and move halfway back to Africa three months after returning home? Or is it also what I need to do- to be "home" in America, but not under the same roof? To get a taste of someplace new in a land that isn't? I just don't know. If I did the Northwest first, would I still want to try the Northeast? Or vice versa? And what if I did fall in love with the Northeast? I don't want to live that far away from family forever…

I continue to wait for some outside source to influence this important decision, which is often my method, but I know it's really my responsibility. I so want to have a real plan for when I step off that plane in America. I'm terrified of the readjustment period, the reverse culture shock, the many moments I will face such a deep missing and fear that I won't be able to continue living simply in a land where nothing is simple.

My tentative plan (have I mentioned it here before?) is to spend our wonderful giant family Thanksgiving in the usual park, bum around southern California, spend time with family and long lost friends, and work the horses with mom in her new business until mid-December. Then I'll hopefully convince someone to road trip up to Washington with me, visiting my old Peace Corps buddy Linsey and my dear brother along the way. I'll probably stay around my dad's until a bit after the New Year and then I'll have to find my way to the mid-west. It would be great to road trip out there too, but I don't know who'll be up for it. I'm going to do some talks at KCAI, to open those poor art school kid's eyes to other options with their silly art degrees, and visit all my wonderful professors and friends. Then I'll head to Indiana for some serious time, hopefully a couple weeks or more, with my dear Ashley. After that its intern time; the time I begin real work on the life I've dreamed of fully living.


Elizabeth said...

You do too have friends in Florida. I won't be there all that long but you should come visit. We can kayak, walk in the swamp, see alligators, swim with the dolphins and yes, even manatees.

Deno said...

OK - there will always be places to see, adventures to experience and vast opportunites - that is the wonder of being unattached to a specific place. I, as your unbaised father, only wish you happiness. Which, in my ample opinion, is best achieved in the Northwest - where the spirit of adventure and new experiences are in excess. You would be so happy here (and so would we!!) and though the farming experience would be rich and rewarding, perhaps the greatest enrichment would be in time spent with your family.

Zoe said...

I really truly believe that you would enjoy Washington, in particular any opportunities you can get in the Olympic Peninsula area. Washington has some truly incredible organic farming co-ops and organizations, as well as the fact that Evergreen College is well known as one of the best liberal arts colleges for agriculture, conservationism and forestry. Also you would be working in some fantastic temperate weather and in driving distance of the Olympic Rain Forest. Also, Orcas and whale watching!! Washington is a leading agricultural state (no seriously look it up), mostly in fruits and berries, apples...oh girl the asparagus is to DIE for.

I also just really think that you would get along with Washingtonians. They are a gentle and ecoconscious lot. I think they are terrible drivers but on the whole they are a caring people.

I live in Seattle and you are always welcome to come visit me if you are interested and need an idea of the climate/area!! Miss you!!