Our friends recently started out on their own gypsy adventure last week. As it happens, they made the drive from North Carolina to the San Francisco Bay area and arrived just a few days ago. In anticipation of their future wanderings, I began compiling my own Spotify playlist titled “Gypsy Life” to share with them on their journey. You can check it out here:
When we started out a year and a half ago, Rilo Kiley’s “Pictures of Success” always seemed to be the quintessential song for my professional track, but there is one line that has actually gained a completely different meaning for me now. Right at the culmination and build up during the bridge, the lyrics are as follows,
“They say California is a recipe for a black hole. I say I’ve got my best shoes on. I’m ready to go.”
A year ago, I heard that line and thought “Yeah, I’m ready to go to California.” Now that we’ve lived here for a culmination of 9 months, I see it completely differently. When I listened to that line recently I thought “Yeah, I’m ready to leave California now” but I surprised even myself with that irony. California has an abundance of opportunity, but I see how easy it is to get stuck here. Really, it’s not just California, but ANY place. The truth is, you really can find good people, happiness and meaning anywhere.
I remember when I first started living in North Carolina, family and friends in Colorado would ask how long I expected to be living there. I always vaguely answered “Oh, probably no more than 3-4 years.” If I’m honest, I didn’t see myself settling down there in the beginning. I mean, I was sure I was only going to stay in North Carolina for a max of 5 years. 9 years later I found it really hard to leave because our roots were so deep.
There are so many things to love about California- it is, without a doubt, a beautiful state with some truly remarkable landscapes. The bay area is brimming with diversity and culture. But we just could not reconcile how expensive it is to live here and now, those lyrics take on new meaning. We’ve had our fill of California. We’re ready to go.
Where to next, you ask? What is the next adventure? This is where the twist comes in. We’re not talking M. Night Shyamalan caliber, but some people may find it a surprise that we have decided to end this chapter of our lives and settle down. Amazing as it has been to see so many different places, the frequent moving has taken a toll on all of us- cats included.
In January, I interviewed for a permanent position with Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, working with their Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant team. This is an outpatient position focusing on post transplant care and (most importantly) education and support for patients and families. The Skype interview went really well, and I got that great, “Kristen Ammon” feel from the manager (I will always look for that vibe). Not to mention, their nursing satisfaction surveys have been in the 95th percentile the last few years. After some deliberation, I decided to hang up my gypsy shoes and take the job. I hesitate to call it a permanent location, because the only thing constant in life is change, but, for now, we’re making Seattle our home.
I know originally I said we were doing this whole traveling thing to figure out where we wanted to settle down and we haven’t even lived in Seattle, but recently I realized that every place we’ve lived will feel a bit like home to us now. We were recently visiting friends in Phoenix while on our way back from a wedding in Tucson and I felt some hard core nostalgia- mainly for Phoenix Children’s, OHSO and Dan and Erin- but I was shocked at how wistful I was. Every place will have a piece of my heart and if I’ve learned anything from our travels, it’s that good people are everywhere. Here’s to finding our home. It’s been a wild ride.
P.S.- for those of you keeping track, here is my quick scoring of California life:
Outdoors: 10; Redwoods, Highway 1, Half Moon Bay, Yosemite, Monterrey.
Food: 9; Thai, Indian, SUSHI…expensive
Libations: 10; Wine and beer country! Mainly wine…but also beer. \
Transportation: 7; Caltrain, BART, Muni….traffic.
Job: 8; Coworkers- amazing, Doctors- amazing, hospital ruled by the bottom line.