Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Movin’ and Shakin’

Empty moving truck!!!

Image by blmurch via Flickr

So, I’m moving again. I don’t quite yet know where, but I’m looking at moving in the direction of work, hopefully drastically shortening my commute and if I’m lucky, finding a place within walking/biking distance of my school.

I’m no stranger to moving. In my life, I have moved into 17 different homes, which is an average of a little over 2 years in each place. Some places I’ve been in as short as three months (summer sublets) or even 8 weeks (temporary place while waiting for our real house to be finished). The longest I’ve ever been in one place was between the ages of about 4 and nearly 10. I started school there, as did my sister. About six weeks before I turned ten, my family moved about 18 miles south.  Three years later, we moved again, three miles east. We were in the same district – I, being in junior high, went to the same school, but my sister had to change schools. Again.

The next move was the big one – western Washington to Central Pennsylvania. I was just shy of 16 (we often moved in the summer, my birthday is in early fall). That was a huge culture shock, but in many ways, ended up being a great experience for me. I lived in 9 different places in 9 years, but only one of them for more than a year. A good chunk of that time was college, though, and while I was spared the craziness of dorm life, I lived in a number of houses, townhouses, and sublets.

The first time I got to choose where I was going to live was when I went to grad school in NYC. I got an apartment with a friend in Jersey City, opting a larger apartment with a lower rent rather than being right in the city. The commute was quite easy, so it really was a fantastic set up. I only moved because I got a job in the Bronx and my roommate got a position in Brooklyn. The commute was killer – two and a half hours on a good day. I spent a year in upper Manhattan (the musical “In the Heights” always had a special place in my heart after my time up there) and almost a year in the Bronx, a five minute walk from my school.

Three and a half years ago, I decided to leave  New York and head west again. I had family out here and the struggle of trying to live by myself on a teacher’s salary in the most expensive city in the country was too much. My mom let me move in, rent free, until I got a job and was back up on my feet.  For three and a half years, all of my stuff has been in storage. I have what I need for day to day, but the rest of it has been residing in boxes. Anything new that I got for my home has been stuffed away in plastic Rubbermaid containers, awaiting my new place. I’ve even joked that the day I move some place else is going to be like Christmas because I will spend most of the time unwrapping all my new things. I have a full 8 piece set of Fiestaware that has never been touched. I want my stuff back.

So now, it’s just a matter of finding the right place. I tried for this great little house with a yard for my dog, but I wasn’t quick enough. I’m scouring the neighborhoods, looking for that right place that my pup and I can call home. Hopefully, within the next month or so, I will be able to say I have found my Home Sweet Home.



A Tale of Two Families

Here’s my family related post that I was supposed to do last week.

I grew up with a small nuclear family – mom, dad, sister, and me. Most of the time it was just the four of us. When it came to major holidays, we’d add in my maternal grandparents, and on occasion my mother’s brother and his equally small nuclear family. That was as big as we ever got for any occasion, so for a good portion of my childhood, that’s all I ever knew.

In 1994, however, we moved from the Seattle area to Pennsylvania. I was halfway through high school when my parents decided to move there, in part because my dad’s family lived there. Now, my dad is the third of eleven children, so I went from nice, small family occasions to often overwhelmingly large ones overnight. Not all of the family still

lived there, but many did and many that didn’t came back for at least Christmas. I remember sitting on the floor of my grandma’s living room on that first Christmas, trying to remember everyone’s name. I saw most of these people so rarely (at that point, maybe twice in my life) that I really struggled to identify who was who and how they were related to me.

What was even weirder was that people recognized my name in that town. I have a fairly uncommon last name, at least uncommon enough that people recognize it and immediately make a connection to someone else they know. I ended up going to the same high school that most of the original 11 siblings went to.  I don’t know how many times a teacher of mine would say,

“Hey, are you related to (insert aunt/uncle/grandma name here)?”  Not just at school, but everywhere I went I had this experience. It was all new to me.  To go from complete anonymity to everyone knowing who you are because of your relations is just strange.

Seafood lasagna - mostly complete, delicious, ...

Image by mschutt via Flickr

My larger family wasn’t close, though. We’d get together for the major holidays (seafood lasagna for Christmas, anyone?), but for the most part, everyone went their own way.  When grandma passed away, the family drifted apart. I moved off to New York where I experienced complete anonymity. You know, I sort of missed having that family around me. Now back on the west coast, and after a parental separation, it’s just me, mom, grandma, and my uncle.  I have a couple cousins around that I don’t see much. I always dreamed of having family holidays, but at this point, I guess I’ll just have to make my own family.

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May I Introduce Myself…

I’m Samantha. Of the lot of us, I’m the oldest by about seven months.  I’m also the only one not on the East Coast, though I used to be. I currently live just outside of Seattle, where I was born and raised but have lived very little of my adult life.  From the time I was 16 until I was almost 29, I lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City.  I moved home a few years ago.

I went to Penn State for undergrad, which is where I met many of my best friends.  I served two years of AmeriCorps before deciding to go to grad school at NYU. Career-wise, I am a high school English, Drama, and Special Education teacher. I taught in the Bronx for two years and then in a suburban Seattle school district for two more.  During the second year there, I was told that I would not have a position for the coming fall. Fortunately, this allowed me to go back to school to get my Special Education endorsement. I have recently graduated with my Masters in Education from the University of Washington and now face the challenge to find a job. The employment situation isn’t as bad as it was two years ago when districts were laying people of, but they still aren’t hiring much.  Fingers crossed!

My little guy, Toby

I am the mommy of a two-year-old dog named Toby. He’s a Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu mix, though he looks much more Shih Tzu. Toby makes me laugh, as I have never met a more good-natured, happy little dog. He likes people, likes to go on adventures, and likes playing with his brother (who is owned by my mom!).

Nasturtiums on the balcony

Finally, in what spare time I have, I enjoy reading, writing, gardening, sewing, and I’m getting into cooking.  I have a small garden on my balcony – not that it did much with the weather we had this year.  I am in the process of sewing a comforter set for my bed and I’m almost done.  As for cooking, I am starting to experiment with new recipes. More on that later!  I’m hoping to get more into bike riding. We have a lot of great trails around here and I recently purchased a great new bike.  Now, just as long as the weather stays nice a little longer!

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