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Keep the Sunscreen Packed: I’m Moving to Mississippi


Well, I’m finally unpacking my suitcase that I packed to move to the United Arab Emirates earlier this year. As y’all know, that particular prospect didn’t work out. However, I’m happy to say that instead of merely unpacking said suitcase (a task which I put off finishing for nearly 5 months,) I can repack it for my forthcoming move to Mississippi. I can tell you now that there will be a lot less long pants and a lot more swimsuits in the repacked suitcase!

Yes, that’s right folks! I’m a human ping pong ball–from the Gulf Coast of Louisiana to Kentucky to Northern Ohio and then back down to the Gulf in about a year in a half.

“Why?,” you ask? Why am I moving yet again?

Well, I’m going to be an Assistant Professor of Art at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, or MGCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC for short!!! I’ll be teaching a combination of  2D Design, Drawing, Art Appreciation, Art History and maybe some other 2D things.


The sad part for me? The kicker? BLAKE CAN’T COME. Blake is staying in Northern Ohio for now to continue teaching printmaking at Bowling Green State University.  So keep that in mind as you read The Onion‘s recent report that everyone is starting a new exciting stage of life except you.

So many of life’s decisions, I’ve found, are not based on doing what is right (because who knows what that is half the time) or doing what I think is best–no idea what the hell that is, either–but, rather, most of my decisions have been based on what I can’t but not do: what I would always regret if I didn’t do, or say, or what I would always wonder about… It hasn’t always been an easy life philosophy to live with. But speaking my mind and acting on my gut instincts, taking risks of utter failure and disappointment, are the only way I know how to live.

I would never have gone to school in New Orleans (an illogical choice at the time,) met Blake, moved all over for work, nor chosen to be an artist and a teacher in the first place without the innate need to throw myself off of the proverbial cliff whenever it looks like there might be something good going on below. It has generally worked out for me, though not without some significant speed bumps from time to time.  But I suppose I’m one of those creatures that needs challenges in order to blossom. That’s not to say I won’t enjoy it when things finally settle down, though.

Besides, this particular situation of living apart temporarily was a sort of pre-nump agreement to our artists’ union. We did, afterall, present our wedding as an art spectacle–not only a union of our lives but also of our work and careers.  As an art educator couple, we knew we might have to spend a few years living apart developing our careers.

As much as I can wax my arguments up on here, however, I know it won’t be easy. And a lot of our family may not understand. Before my last proposed move, my grandmother was noted to have said, “But they just got married. Why does she want to leave already?.” To that I can definitively say, “I don’t.” But I know it is the right choice, for now. And it won’t be forever.

I can tell you I’m seriously looking into upgrading our dumb phones to smart phones for the first time ever, and changing our carrier since AT & T has shit service in Bowling Green. If y’all have any advice on tips to make that affordable, please share.

I’m grateful that, for the first time ever, we’ll both have full-time teaching jobs. Now, we just need to work on making that happen in the same timezone!

Anyway. Let’s dance. And eat corndogs. They’re on me!


How does this work? Well, after Blake’s last final at BGSU this week, we pop into both cars (packed with what I need for a semester–I should really start packing…) and make the 14 hour drive down to the gulf. We then hope to sign on one of the apartments I’ve been looking at online and then get back on the road for Iowa as soon as possible after that–at least by Christmas Eve.

We’ll leave one car in Mississippi for me (I choose the 97 Civic with a side of cracked windshield–it fits with the decor) and drive together to Iowa. Then we’ll spend about 5 days in Iowa and drive together back to Ohio. Blake will drop me off at the Detroit airport on the 31st, and I’ll spend NYE flying back to Gulfport by way of Dallas.  LOGISTICS! How the summer works… well, that’s an even crazier story I’ll save for later.

Hopefully there won’t be a Christmas travel time blizzard on our way to Iowa. The one last year had us stranded in a random hotel (thankfully not in a ditch!) and about doubled our drive time. I also hope they serve champagne on airplanes on NYE. And hand out holiday crackers and neon kazoos. They definitely should offer an airplane-sized platter of black-eyed peas and collards. I’ll be starting 2014 on my own in Mississippi. New Year’s Resolution? Survive the year! Who knows what will happen next in the Crazy Adventures of Orange Barrel Industries. Stay tuned, folks.

2 thoughts on “Keep the Sunscreen Packed: I’m Moving to Mississippi”

  1. Congratulations! It’s hard, but you guys can do it. My 3 years in Georgia were easier for me than for Peter because I was the one off having new adventures while he was the one at home waiting. Skype and wireless headsets helped get us through. And adjusting to our lives together again afterwards took almost as long as we’d been apart (but we’re a well oiled machine again now).

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