There are certain times in our lives where we have to roll with the punches. Where small, unexpected changes hit and we have to zig or zag and figure out how to regain our balance. And there are others that are pretty major. Where no amount of zigging or zagging will prepare you for the tidal wave of crazy about to hit. Without getting too dramatic about it, there are some pretty big changes coming up in The Dressed Aesthetic household.
I‘ve had to keep it under wraps for an exceptionally long time, but the time is finally come to share with you all that Mr. Dressed and I are leaving Australia. It has been a crazy year of travel, job interviews, and trying to wade through an uncertain future. But, as the saying goes, when one door closes oftentimes another opens. In a time of crazy instability, an incredible job opportunity beckoned me from across the pond, and we knew our next adventure was upon us.
My career is and will forever be a tricky one – a life in academia naturally comes with a lot of uncertainty and I have watched many of my fellow comrades stumble and fall out of the field at various stages. A rather big step is moving from a post doc (which is what I have been for the last decade) to a permanent faculty position. I have known this was the next (terrifying) step for me to take for awhile, but it can be paralyzing because it is incredibly competitive, and by nature is filled with a lot of rejection, and it means having to sometimes make big changes and uproot your life to follow an opportunity. I am no stranger to these kinds of changes, but it becomes harder and harder to do the older you get (and let’s be honest, the more shoes you acquire).
In a nutshell, I’ve been offered a permanent faculty position in North Carolina and the chance to grow my own lab. As intimidating as it can be to have to be The Boss (Springsteen style), I’m really proud of myself for earning this stage in my career. For stepping up and surviving the interview process and doing well enough up until now that a University wants me to grow my home laboratory there. And it was such a good fit for me and the kind of work that I do.
The time leading up to the decision was so difficult – how do you come to the conclusion that your home is somewhere you no longer belong? Having lived here since 2011, we really have settled here (as much as expatriates can). We have found friends we consider family, know our favorite restaurants and the movie theaters with the chairs that recline, and finally got a handle on driving on the left side of the road. There is so much about this country that we’ll miss. I’ll miss my incredible labmates and students. I’ll miss knowing that, no matter where I go, I will always get a halfway decent, if not exceptional cup of coffee. I’ll miss roundabouts. I’ll miss a park on every other block and a series of friendly people every few steps.
But there are so many things we can’t wait to come back to. Our families living a short flight away. Amazon same day delivery. Affordable everything (there are no words to describe how expensive Perth is). Weekend getaways to New York City. Turning right on red. Ranch dressing. S’mores. And the vintage. Oh dear lord the vintage.
So, we’re now facing the difficult task of packing up our lives and saying farewell to somewhere we’ve lived for 5.5 years. I’ve (so far) been able to circumvent the emotional side of things by focusing on logistics: booking movers and plane tickets, getting Willie and Finn prepped and ready with their own passports (contrary to what I wish they would be, a pet passport is NOT adorable and small with a paw print and a photo. Just a lame piece of paper). We’re packing up scads of furniture and books and vintage and deciding what we can live without for the next 8 weeks. I’ve been finishing off experiments and putting plans in place for my students and trying to do everything possible to make this as smooth a transition as possible.
Thus far, I’ve managed to keep my head from exploding. No promises about tomorrow, but for today we’re on track to board a plane in just two short weeks.
It’s kind of a crazy thing to live in another country. Some days it feels like an incredible journey we were lucky enough to embark on. Other days I think we are stark raving mad. It’s kind of like normal moving on steroids. There are so many details to organize and balls to juggle. And then all of the sudden, we’ll be on a plane. Goodbyes will have been said and our belongings will be tucked into boxes and there will be nothing left to do except ponder the enormity of what has just happened. This will be my fourth international move in my life, and it truly doesn’t get any easier.
I guess it’s no coincidence that today’s look has a very Dorothy-esque quality to it. Because the next few months are going to be all about adventure. About feeling like we’re spinning out of control to land in somewhere completely new. It’s going to be about leaving a place that changed us for the better. About finding our way home. And although we are terrified and stressed about the gargantuan task ahead, we’re also excited about what’s to come.
I suppose all you can really ask for in life is to be lucky enough to have lived in a place that is full of people you will miss dearly, and to be simultaneously on your way back to a place you have missed so much.
So, look out USA. Ready or not, here we come!
Dress: Lu’s Vintage Boutique (similar modern or vintage here, here & here)
Necklace: Swarovski (similar here & here)
Handbag: Vintage (similar here & here)
Shoes: Jessica Simpson (similar here & here)
Vintage Shoe Clips: Charmed Kitty (similar)
Lip Color: Tarte Amazonian Butter lipstick