Monday, February 25, 2019

New Location for a New Year

Let's see if I can make this simple:
In April of 2018, I came home from working FT in Beijing, China.
It was an incredible experience: I learned SO MUCH, made a lot of good connections...but brought home a cough that I'm still fighting. Have had it checked out and, apparently it's a nasty allergy.  SO many things trigger it--dust and pollution being high on the list.  After returning, I continued to work PT on line for some Chinese companies, creating phonics songs, recruiting, proof-reading, etc. But, the work was dwindling and I wanted something steady.  Even though my dream to publish and market in Asia is coming closer to a reality, because of what I learned abroad, it's not solid--not yet.

 So, next, while chatting with an online teacher for the last company I worked with as a supervisor, she told me about the charter schools she subbed for in AZ.  I went and interviewed for a position and accepted a job teaching HS in Apache Junction, AZ, near 3 of my brothers!
I had forgotten how gorgeous the sunsets are and was ready to call Arizona HOME again, after decades away. Enjoyed getting together with my AZ brothers & friends, and was excited for a new teaching challenge.  However, Guess what? The dust in AZ is worse than in Beijing and the cough got worse, MUCH worse, so, by the end of August, I was back in Utah.  Tired.  Exhausted, actually, and sick of being sick.  I kind of called for a time out from life.  The thing about anything that consistently interrupts your lifestyle is that mortality becomes real. All those years of painting 12-16 hours a day on ladders and scaffolding, 5-6 days a week have taken a toll on my back and knees; many teaching positions expect miracles without the means to pull them off plus 200% of your time... working myself into an early grave isn't something I want to accomplish.

Shortly after getting back to Utah and adjusting to unemployed life with TWO dogs (Lucy came home with us from AZ)... online cite I've followed for years, "," sent a link with a photo for a super cool deal on an 1880 house in Richmond, IN.  The price was such that I was drooling...AND it's green there. Dust? Covered up by foliage. Pollution? Minimal bc it's not really close to anything that pumps it out and the population is small.  Smaller than Logan, Utah's.
Before going, I did some research. Richmond, Indiana has super low crime rates, it's just 3 miles from Ohio, AND it's within driving distance to FOUR airports, making it perfect for frequent trips to see my son's growing family (instead of driving 11-12 hours through snowy canyons).  Also, it's right off of I-70 & only 7 hours from my home city, Frederick, MD.

So, I decided to take a road trip with my 2 dogs.  The wonderful realtor in Indiana, Rhonda (, who'd listed the house which caught my attention, set up a bedroom for me, Lizzy and Lucy to stay in in that gorgeous old brick home.

 We LOVED it.
But, that particular neighborhood, not so much. Too many renters and too many vacant houses.  So, I explored a couple of others, on the south side of Hwy 40, and felt at home in this one (which my awesome big brother, Tom, had found on line before I left):
Built in 1927, on a .12 acre lot, it's got a yard for the dogs and is set on a tree and flower-lined street. This house is a perfect fit for me, the dogs and visiting family, friends and summer art classes.  I signed a contract, contingent upon the sale of my Logan, UT home.

Went back to Utah and wondered if I'd lost my mind. I mean, I'd LOVE to live close to my son and his family, but neither they nor I know where that'll end up being in the long run and, pray as I might, God's not granting me a crystal ball for the future.
So, again, why am I doing THIS? I've wondered...but, the pros just outweigh the cons by a landslide. Improved air quality (which is becoming a must for me) and getting out of debt rank highest on the list.  I've been self-employed for most of my life and have NO retirement plan. This location will allow me to live in a paid-for-in-full home, which equals the closest thing to freedom a person in my position can ask for.  It's close enough to my Maryland, PA, DC roots to drive back and visit, paint for a few faithful clients, etc.  I can work on publishing goals, fly out to visit family & friends regularly (& fly my son's family out once a year--at least),  raise puppies AND Indiana has an on line certification program for prospective teachers.  All this, plus living in a paid for house in a neighborhood that is lovely, safe, and friendly.

That's about as retired as I ever want to be. I can put money aside regularly to spend as many days as possible with my beloved son and grandkids.  Maybe, I can always hope, God will grant that we end up physically closer together, but again, I don't know where the heck they'll settle and neither do they.
Having felt torn between the east and the west most of my life, this solution is an unexpected, but good one! It's been difficult to decide.  I'm sick of moving! But...there you have it.

Provided nothing arises to topple the plan, the dogs and I are headed to Indiana before Easter!


  1. So good to hear about your adventures between east (and sometimes farrrr east) and west. Best of luck to you, Joanna!

  2. I spent two years in Bloomington, Indiana as a teenager while my dad was getting his Phd. It's beautiful there, especially in the fall. I hope you enjoy it there. I was interested to hear what the pollution did to you in China. I've always been afraid to go there because of that. The next time you drop by to give something to Karoline come say hello to me as well (although I've usually been gone when you drop by.) Lorraine Ashton

    1. The pollution has actually improved immensely in recent years in Beijing, but my company moved us to an office in the building where tobacco smoke settled thickly from stairwell smokers. (Think USA a few decades ago). My already compromised immune system (I'd had dental work and pneumonia before I left for China) couldn't take it. Beijing is a great place to visit!

    2. And, yes, I do seem to always miss you when I stop by Karoline's!! Too bad bc I think you're one of the most charming people I've ever met.

  3. Ok! Now I see the whole story! I've been wondering about all the changes and choices and how they linked up together. Sounds like a really doable adventure, with some good taking care of yourself thrown in . Thanks for keeping me on this list of Friends and Family! Teresa Love

    1. Ha ha! Thanks for adding your name, Teresa, I'd never have known who the heck "Rabbit Season" is! I continue to wish we could get together! Maybe sometime when I come through to visit family and friends in the coming year? Your class at BYU continues to bless my life in ways I'm sure you never dreamed possible. Thank you for being you!