Homesick

Yep, that’s right.

Incredibly, incredibly homesick. And I’ve never been homesick in my entire life!

Before the wedding last year, I still lived at home, and it was a pretty hoppin’ place. Mom, Dad, me, David, my brother, and my grandma and great aunt were almost always around for dinner. I worked at a great pharmaceutical company with lots of hilarious people that I loved to death. I also finished up my Master’s degree with several other brilliant people. I was always around people, which I love.

Last summer, the plan was to move north where I would start a second Master’s degree at the IU School of Medicine (which was designed to be a feeder program into the MD degree) while David worked before going back to school part-time. Oh, God just loves how we make plans, doesn’t He? As the wedding drew closer, David got news from his would-be employer that things had changed, and they would need to cut back on personnel instead of hiring more. My program would have been a one-year Physiology degree; most Master’s degrees are two years long, so mine was going to be intense. However, I went looking for student loans… the first time I’ve EVER had to even think about loans… all they would give me would be one year’s worth of funds for a traditional Master’s degree. That meant that they would only cover half of what I needed.

So we were stuck.

I had applied for a full-time job at the pharmaceutical company, since I was only serving as an intern at the time. Someone with more experience than me was chosen, which was fine; they had enough funding to support my position through the end of the year. However, at this time, we really needed something that paid more and had benefits, so I sent out my CV to a few research positions, and even filled out an application to Americorps. I interviewed for a few of the research gigs, and had high hopes for one of them.

It wasn’t meant to be.

However, a few weeks later, as the wedding was quickly approaching and I was getting more worried about what happened after the wedding, I got an email from one of the PI’s I had interviewed with. I really never even thought I had a shot at that position, but there was an email with a job offer in my inbox. It also happened to pay significantly more than my current position, and came with full benefits for me and my soon-to-be spouse. It wound up that David could attend school full-time that fall to finish the first leg of his Mechanical Engineering Technology degree, and he landed a position in the Cummins school-to-work program.

God likes to hijack our plans and make room for better ones, doesn’t He?

So I accepted the job offer, and had to call the office of my Master’s program to tell them that unfortunately, circumstances had changed and I would not be attending in the fall. That was really hard for me to do. I hate having to go back on my word, or break promises.

Ever since that fall, I have been working in breast cancer research at the IU School of Medicine. I really enjoy the type of experiments I’m running and what I’m learning. However, there is one aspect of this job that I am not so keen on. There’s my PI (who is constantly running to meetings, conferences, etc.), and then there’s me. So for most of my day, I am all by my lonesome. I’m definitely not a big fan of this, whatsoever. No one to carry on a conversation with, no one to joke with, or consult with… just me in this big lab. With my cells. All day. Thank you, God, for the invention of the iPod so I don’t feel so completely alone! Most of all, I miss all the great people I worked with at the pharmaceutical company–especially Kayla, one of my best friends and my carpool buddy all last summer. So many great stories come from there! A part of me really wishes that I could go back, but at this point I don’t think that would be wise.

Also, we now live 2 hours away from all of our friends and family, and with gas approaching and sometimes surpassing $4.00/gal, we can’t just go home every single weekend. We do go home to see family and friends, it’s just not nearly as often as I would like. I know David misses home as much or more than I do. I feel so awful for being the one who decided we were moving north, and taking him away from all of his friends and family too.

Back over the Christmas break, I decided I really, really needed a break. Due to my workload and really needing to wrap up some experiments before I took off (since there was no one else in the lab to help me out), I waited until the first week of the year to use my vacation days, which just so happened to be the week after David’s break. So I sat at home, alone, all week. (Minus the day I went to hang out with a friend in Madison. It was a long week!)

As part of my benefits package, my employer picks up the tab for any classes I may choose to take. For fun (yes, I said fun) and to keep my mind fresh, I chose Human Anatomy for the spring semester, since a five-credit-hour course just did not fit into my schedule as an undergrad. The bad part about this class? It’s on Sundays, all day.9am-4:30pm. Part of the reason I signed up was to hopefully make some new friends, which I have, but it hasn’t done much to ease my homesickness.

A major thing I miss about “down home”: My church family. I miss my church family, and seeing everyone, and going to church in general. We haven’t found a church “up home” yet, mostly because yours truly in still in class for the next month. It’s really eating away at me that we haven’t been in so long, even though I do read my Bible. It’s just not the same. I miss the fellowship. I hate that I’ve missed all of the 4th Sunday meals, the baby showers, the wedding showers, seeing the kids go to Children’s Church… all of it. I’ve already requested that the first thing we do on the first Sunday I’m out of class is go to church, which just so happens to be Mother’s Day on May 13th.

Guess who is so excited she can barely stand it?!?

I am beyond convinced that so much “alone time” is damaging to a psyche. I’m not exactly talking to myself (or answering, for that matter), but a little human interaction would be nice from time to time. This is also part of the reason I joined a local hospital and a local hospice program as a volunteer; finally getting to see other people and not living like a hermit. I like to think that this is just a stepping stone to something greater, in the long run… and that for now, I can learn whatever lessons I need to learn before God moves me on to the next phase. I’m hoping the next phase comes sooner rather than later!

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

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