In August 2011, I moved to Arlington, TX from La Puente, CA. It was a three hour flight. I live with my girlfriend, Ann, and her parents. I quit my job in Irvine, CA in July 2011 as I prepared to leave for Texas. I hated my job by the time I quit, but made some great friends while I was there that I try to stay in contact with. I also mailed over a couple of boxes of my stuff so I wouldn't have to worry about bringing it on the plane.
I was unemployed from August 2011 to the end of October 2011, when I finally gave in and took the only freely available job - substitute teaching. It pays quite a bit less than it did in California, but the cost of living is also much less here. I swore I wouldn't substitute teach again when I did it in California, but here I am, subbing again. I have the same love/hate relationship I had with it that I had in California. Some days I love my job, but most days I just want to go home.
I think it's the waste of time I feel while sitting in front of classrooms full of blank stares and blank slates. Do your work. Be quiet. Don't run. Yes, I'm Asian. Settle down. Do your work, please
. I count down the hours, walking between desks, watching kids write, spell, multiply, divide, gossip, throw erasers, laugh, whisper, all the time thinking, I could be making a difference, but all I'm doing is babysitting for 7 hours
. Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty easy job. But it's draining. And it feels pointless. Especially on days when there are tests or the kids are just doing worksheets and don't need any real instruction other than "don't throw that" or "keep it down."
It gets boring. Usually I bring a book to read, but it's hard to read when you know
you can't get absorbed in what you're reading without missing someone doing something stupid. You always have to have one eye on them. Even the best classes have to be watched, just in case. And I'd feel guilty if I didn't at least try. The hours go by so slowly on some days.
I moved to Texas in August of 2011 from California. I visited in September, November, and December. Each time I go back, it gets harder to leave without feeling like I'm losing a little more of myself somewhere in between the two states. Bits of me, pieces of me, stay behind. They linger at my favorite places. They call me to them so I can collect them up and become whole again. They call me home.
I love the freedom I have here, but I don't love here.
I love California. I love LA. I even love Orange County. I love the over-priced movie theaters and the people I would visit them with, if only for the people. I love the food that I wouldn't know about if I didn't live in California. Korean tacos and Korean pizza.
I miss my friends. I miss having
friends. I miss late nights in coffee places and boba places. Writing a would-be masterpiece while Jeff illustrates what probably actually will-be a masterpiece. Abusing wi-fi privileges. Watching and listening. No refills.
I miss feeling like a king surveying his kingdom, walking the streets at night with my friends. There wasn't a corner we hadn't turned, a tunnel we hadn't taken, an alleyway we hadn't wandered.
I miss long drives where it felt like I had actually gone somewhere, or found something. I miss the beach, I miss the city. I miss the long stretches of city and suburb that would never end. I miss the air. I need to find my air here. I haven't found my air. I don't feel like I'm really breathing.
The road here doesn't talk to me. It doesn't whisper, asking me to find what's at the end. Maybe there's nothing there for me to find. There's nothing at the beginning, why would there be something at the end?
Everything feels ironic, and I don't know why.