Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Hartwell Chronicles ... Staying afloat

It’s amazing how time flies.
Each addition of my company’s newsletter contains a section with birthdays and work anniversaries. Guess who’s name was in there for an upcoming one year anniversary?
I can hardly believe it. I will complete a year in Hartwell Aug. 3.
Things have been pretty interesting since day one.
I remember well my journey here. How can I forget?
First, I was crying to a certain person about how I didn’t want to go.
“Ask me to stay, and I will,” I said.
But we both knew that wasn’t the case.
Then my parents were five hours late picking me up from Gainesville.
We were suppose to leave at noon, but knowing Senior I expected him around 3 p.m.
It was after 6 p.m. when we started on that long drive. And I do mean long!
A six and a half hour drive turned into over 10 hours because we kept getting loss.
“If we get lost again, I’m turning around and going back to Jacksonville,” I proclaimed.
My mother responded with words I can’t repeat here.
Later she was pulled over by a state trooper for following too close.
Senior was in the u-haul. I was on his bumper in the Green Machine, but my mom was like 100 feet away in the rental car. How she got stopped, we will never know.
I took all of this as a sign and was ready to turn right around.
But I didn’t.
There was no job waiting for me in Jacksonville. It was time to sink or swim.
We finally made it to the hotel after 1 a.m., and I was delirious with sleep.
My main focus for the next day was finding a place to live and moving in. But I was blessed to get that situated very quickly.
And the family made quick work of bringing in everything.
I started working the next morning at 8 a.m. That afternoon my family left.
I remember feeling very alone when I came home that evening. Somehow I kept from crying.
Slowly I became acclimated with the area. It only took about a week for me to stop getting loss coming home from work.
Too bad that still isn't the case for the rest of the city and county (but at least I can read a map).
Faces became more and more familiar for those on my beats. I didn’t have to coyly ask, “Let me make sure I spell your name correctly,” to find out what it was in the first place.
I’m also feeling a little less loss and a little more sure of myself every day.
Granted the road hasn’t been easy. The Green Machine definitely has some major battle scars.
Between work stress, losing loved ones and just good old life drama, I thought I was sinking a few times.
Things would probably be easier if I had my circle for friends and SISTUHS here. But I am learning to stand alone and on my own. And I know everyone is only one call away.
I’ve learned to following the rhythm of the ocean.
Looking back, I don’t think I’m quite swimming yet. But I’m definitely not sinking.
For now, I’m still floating on down the river of life. But each day I’m getting closer and closer to taking that first real stroke.
(If only I could swim in real life.)

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