Texas? Texas!

I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing on my blog, largely because I find it hard to hone in on any one particular subject that I can write about week after week… that hasn’t already been written about exhaustively. I’m currently on a sourdough kick, and in addition to an armful of great books, I’ve also got three fantastic websites that I use for inspiration and motivation. If you want them, I’d be glad to share them with you; they’re more useful than anything I might publish on the matter.

Buuuut life just got much more interesting, so here it is:

In mid-December, after we’d binged thoroughly on what we thought were our last bout of Christmas markets in Europe, Loc got into the pediatric dentistry residency that he’d applied for (for the third year in a row). The next day, we learned that his tour in Germany had been extended until June 2018, at which time we would move to Dallas, Texas. We were a little bit bummed – we had told all of our friends that we’d be in Savannah in the spring – but we settled into our new reality. We finally addressed some long-standing issues with our landlord, and between Christmas and New Year’s, we dropped a wad of cash at IKEA to bring our kitchen to an enjoyable standard. By the time Loc went back to work, we had trips slated for the next eighteen months, and I had a few job prospects lined up right here in Germany. We were prepared for the long haul.

I was just about to start my first post-holiday workout – legs – on the afternoon of January 3rd when Loc texted me to tell me that we can PCS (Army term; permanent change of station) early and start his program this year. Somebody in the 2017 class had dropped out, and Loc was the only dentist eligible to fill the slot; he owed a response the following day.

Talk about a wrench in life plans…  we had to say yes, of course. The pros of saying yes dramatically outweighed the cons. He’d be able to study for a year with his two friends in the year group ahead of him. I’d be able to break free of my treading water here and start working for real. We’d be able to consolidate all of our belongings under one roof, and possibly find a kitchen that doesn’t need structural improvements, maybe even a yard! All of these prospects didn’t dull the frustration of having to suspend all of the plans I’d laid in anticipation of being in Germany for an entire growing season… yes, I’m a culinary dork with back-to-the-earth inclinations. I’d bought vegetable seeds just that morning and was laying out my potted garden in my head when I got the news.

But, of course, being a nomad at heart means being adaptable to change. I’ll just save those seeds and plant them in 2018… and we can focus on saving money and getting educated in Texas. Having such a short timeline also made us prioritize what we wanted to do most in the months remaining to us here, and I’ve honed in on a week-long intensive baking program on offer in Paris this spring. Loc is on board with it, and pending my acceptance to the program, I’ll go off to Paris for a week to don a chef’s garb and manipulate flour, water, salt, and yeast under the tutelage of a master. Never say never, yo.

Now, here’s the weird thing: my stay here is tied to Loc’s current set of orders, which have him here until 2 April 2017. That means, come 3 April 2017, I’m here illegally. Of course, there are bureaucratic procedures that can be done to extend my (legal) stay, but we are both rather ambivalent on pursuing them. I may just go to America and pursue my study of bread in one of a few target locations… I have a mind full of ideas, a supportive husband, and an unresolved timeline. Once the timeline falls into place, we will begin to execute our plan. Loc does get summer and winter (non-chargeable) leave though – and that is super sweet.

In the short term, our wine collection is a priority again. I spent a full day inventorying and researching the 200+ wines on our shelves right now, and we’ve laid plans to cap out at 250 bottles for our two years in Texas. Loc doesn’t drink, and we won’t be traveling like we do; we’ll be throwing dinner parties.

And, thanks to this new reality, I’ve suspended my job search and am fully devoted to my craft. I’ve got a batch of dough fermenting right now; it’ll cold proof overnight and bake in the morning. Freedom to pursue one’s interests and aspirations is all too rare in the modern era, and I am privileged enough to have that freedom AND a reliable source of income and a roof over my head. Suppose I’d best not waste it, eh?

Corn fields and cow pastures to the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the States… I gotta find me some mountains.

Here’s to… whatever the hell awaits us in Texas.

Sincerely,

A blue-blooded New Yorker who’s in for a real education

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