Update: Should I Stay or Should I Go

February 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Had a good, long (well, 30 min) talk with my dad. He wants me to move back home and live on the family compound, to spent my next year studying in the quiet of the country. To spend a year not working.

Honestly, it’s a terrifying, yet strangely appealing option. I’ve been working since I turned 15. Literally. When I wasn’t working I was in school or doing an internship. I’m a consumer, so having no income really freaks me out. It’s not that I’m a thoughtless consumer, I’m definitely not, but I love collecting art and buying new furniture. I like having beautiful things, handmade things, old things. No income. Hey, Mom, can I have $20? It’s scary. Terrifying. Totally repellent. But I have no other source for money. Allowance, Mom and Dad? How do I justify the need for a new dress so I’ll feel prettier? These are the issues that made me most uncomfortable in high school, which is partly why I got a job in the first place.

There’s also the issue of where I would live. Dad has offered me his and mom’s house, but I really prefer an indoor bathroom and shower. And I’d really prefer not going up to the “big house” (my grandmother’s house up on the hill from my parents’ house) to shower in the winter time. But I know the family has been considering building a new addition to the compound, so maybe it’s possible. I’m hoping for taller ceilings personally, but one can’t be too picky when it’s not my house and I’m not paying for it. Drywall walls would also be nice so I could hang my artwork, but I’m not sure if that’s possible either. Low ceilings and blank walls make me really claustrophobic for some reason, so I’m trying to be conscious of that without being demanding.

This situation is kind of funny, because I’m always jealous whenever I think of people “back in the day,” rich people anyway, who did nothing but sit around and read all day. There are so many books I want to read or reread, but no energy or time to do it. Wouldn’t it be a peaceful existence, staying out in the country in a cozy little one-room cottage, doing little more than read and write all day? It would just be me and the girls, and maybe I would have coffee with my mother in the mornings, tea in the afternoon with my grandmother and great grandmother, evening wine with my aunt?  Maybe we could build a fence for cleo so she can spend some time outside. It’s so romantic really. A back porch facing the woods… The fatty (my old housecat) would just like a window sill with sunshine.

My biggest concern is the lack of arts and libraries in Alabama. My assignment during this time off would be to do some serious academic work including trying to get published. But how can I do that without internet, access to Jstor, and libraries? A conundrum indeed. Life without Jstor is a terrifying thought… of course, not as terrifying as life without internet.

I have emailed UAB about French and German courses, so we’ll see what they have to offer. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to pay for that either. Can I live with myself if I let my parents take care of me for a year? A serious question to consider. I know they would probably just be happy to be able to see me more than twice a year.

Dad will tutor me on the GRE.

I suppose I need to be strategic in how I leave GW, though. I’ll need to secure teacher recommendations for my PhD applications, so I can’t just burn all my bridges. Ah, diplomacy.

Of course, there’s still the possibility that GW will suddenly find funds that they would be willing to offer me in the form of financial assistance, but dad has made some good points about the weak spots in my application. Leaving DC will be very hard for me. I love it here. I’m spoiled. Thinking of leaving all the Rembrandts, Monets, and Van Goghs absolutely breaks my heart. I love seeing the Capitol building every day. I love not worrying about driving (I have an increasing fear of other drivers, but also I fear that I will accidentally kill someone with my own car. life = over). I love knowing how much is going on in the city, even if I don’t go to anything. I love the unique little neighborhoods, I love the parks, I love all the tree-lined sidewalks. I love catching a glimpse of the president’s motorcade. I love the feeling of history mixing with feelings of change, hopes for the future mixing with memories of the past. I’ve really loved living in DC. It was hard enough thinking about leaving for graduate school. Leaving now, so soon… you’d think I was talking about a lover! I love all the diversity here. Alabama is just white and black to me, and mostly uneducated at that. I know, it’s only for a year… and it would definitely help me fill the gaps in my application. It’s a solid option, that’s for sure. But there are many details that need to be worked out before I make any decisions. And I have some time, a couple months during which I can weigh my options. Should I stay or should I go…


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