Just another mountain to climb …

The purpose of this blog is to let our family and friends know about all of our adventures and day to day life in Chattanooga. This, of course, means that there will be some bad mixed in with the good.

If you’re a regular reader of Seeing the Scenic City, you’ll know that I’ve been struggling at my job for the past few months, as well as struggling with depression and anxiety that stemmed from the job.

I went on medication in early September. My anxiety has subsided, and when the medication worked, it allowed me to look at the work problems with clarity.

All of this leads me to say that Friday was my last day at my job. I put in three weeks’ notice in early October. With all honesty, I had wanted to quit my job since the summer months, so I am actually proud of myself for making it that much farther.

I will not go into too many details, but basically I realized that this was not the job for me. I was unhappy with the work I was doing. I was trying my best, but it became apparent that my best was not good enough.

This is probably not the smartest decision, financial wise. But it was the best decision for my health.

I have a few applications already out for some other positions, and I will keep looking for new jobs on a regular basis. In the meantime, I am looking forward to a (hopefully short) resting period.

In related news, yesterday we went on a challenging mountain hike. You can read about that here. One section of the trail lead to a beautiful overlook, where we could see the mountains on all sides, the river and a waterfall.

It was a great metaphor for what I am going through right now. Yes, things are hard, but if you put just one foot in front of the other, you will eventually get to the top of your mountain. Derek and I have made it over mountains before, and we will get over this one, too.

Signal Point Hike50

One week in Chattanooga, two more to go in Houston

I have spent the last week in Chattanooga. It was good to be back with Derek for a full week, and not have most of our time taken up by unpacking, which left more time for exploring.

The reason for my visit was twofold – of course I wanted to see Derek, because we had been apart for three weeks, but then I also set up a meeting with the Vice Chancellor of communication and marketing at UTC, and I registered for a job fair. I was trying to be productive in finding a job.

Unfortunately, nothing panned out. I knew that there were no positions available at the university to begin with, but it was still disappointing to hear that confirmed. The job fair was disappointing. I was in and out in 15 minutes. There were only 12 companies represented, and only one of them was looking for “resume writers.” I went to them first, feeling hopeful. The website that the job fair was listed on said “interviews and hiring on the spot.” Maybe I could land this job? Maybe not. The man barely looked at my resume, handed me a pamphlet about the company, and told me to check them out online. I felt pushed aside. I guess job fairs don’t really fit into this type of world anymore. I’ll stick with searching online for now.

Regardless, it was good to be here, and it was good to get those things done. I can’t say I’m not trying.

I worked remotely for my job in Houston for the week, from our home office computer. I shifted my hours a little later than usual so I was working when Derek was working. He teaches two night classes. One of the nights I went to campus with him and worked from the campus library. We spent the mornings together going out to breakfast, watching movies, and setting up the apartment a little more each day.

We checked out a few coffee shops and restaurants together, as well as a bakery. We went to City Cafe, which is a 50s style diner. The place was packed, which told us it was a good, popular place. I ordered Greek food: stuffed grape leaves, salad and pita bread, thinking it would be a light meal. The plates of food were enormous!

We wandered the Riverfront one afternoon and came across a Naval ship on display. We also saw the Trail of Tears fountain. We also stumbled across a little flea market.

I’m going back to Houston tomorrow and I truly feel stuck between two states. I am glad that there will only be 11 days more until I can drive home to Chattanooga for good.

Working from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga library.
A blueberry crumble from Bread & Butter, a bakery near our apartment.
The massive plate of Greek food at City Cafe.
Naval ship on display at the riverfront.
Trail of Tears fountain and memorial, which doubled as a splash area for kids.
Wandering through the flea market.

One is the loneliest number…

Derek’s in Chattanooga, and I’m in Houston. We’re both alone, but Derek got the better end of the deal. He’s got all our furniture (not to mention the bed) and the cats too, so he’s surrounded by familiar things.

I guess I could say that my cot, and my folding lawn chair are familiar too, but that’s all I’ve got.

It’s hard having the minimum, and because Derek left in a bit of a hurry, we didn’t exactly think about who would need what the most. Derek has complained about wanting the shower caddy, and an extra trash can, which I still have, and I have gone through the motions of trying to microwave something without having a microwave!

It hasn’t been too bad though. We’re already down to 29 days left at most. Less than one month left.

I’ve settled into a routine, which isn’t too different than the routine we had when we were together. I get home from work, cook dinner, and then watch an episode of something through a streaming service. I have gotten into The Last Czars on Netflix, a miniseries about the Romanov family. Then I usually read, and chat with Derek through FaceTime.

Before I know it, it is time for bed. Once I’m settled, I watch YouTube videos. I have settled on watching the YouTube channel Super Carlin Brothers, which features videos on Harry Potter, Disney, etc. Each night I have watched them go head to head on various Harry Potter quizzes. Last night’s video was a Christmas themed quiz. There are so many quizzes that I’ve been watching them for a week straight, and there are enough to go on for another week at least.

Sleeping on the cot isn’t uncomfortable, but I would prefer my own bed. I alternate between sleeping well and not sleeping well. I have been having anxiety dreams about job prospects. I hope that something will work out in real life sooner than later.

Off to Tennessee

My husband Derek got a job as a full-time lecturer of graphic design at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, so we’re moving!

Derek had three applications out, one to Chattanooga, and two others in the Houston area. He made it to the second round of interviews for all three positions. I’m proud of him.

The other two jobs did not work out, and staying in Houston certainly would have been easier, but we are both happy with this outcome.

For as long as I can remember, I have said that I would like to live in Tennessee, and now that’s happening.

I can’t speak for Derek much, but Chattanooga seems like the perfect place for me.

I am glad that Chattanooga is still south enough that the winters are mild, but there will be more variation in the seasons now. I am most excited to see some decent fall foliage. Chattanooga is nicknamed Scenic City, and what could be more perfect for someone who loves the outdoors?

There was also a series of Civil War battles in the area during the Chattanooga campaign, in Oct-Nov. of 1863. As a Civil War buff, I am excited to get to explore these places.

Chattanooga is a travel hub, being close to many different cities. Atlanta, Huntsville, Knoxville and Nashville are all about two hours away. I am looking forward to exploring a new and wide area of the country.

I also love trains, and seeing the Chattanooga Choo Choo is top on my list. Not to mention the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum and their excursion trips.

We are originally from Pennsylvania (where we went to college, met and married) and of the things that I miss the most about that area is the mountains. Chattanooga is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and one of the Civil War Battles occurred on nearby Lookout Mountain. I will be happy to have this scenery again.

There is a Riverfront area – the Tennessee River flows through Chattanooga – with farmers markets, restaurants, parks, a pedestrian bridge, kayak rentals and summer concerts.

Yes, I think I will like it there.

I know that Derek will like the fact that Chattanooga has the fastest internet in the United States and at an affordable price too. Chattanooga is also the first city to have its own typeface – an interesting fact for someone who loves typography.

I will definitely miss Houston, but knowing that I will like Chattanooga makes it easier to say goodbye.

There is a lot that we did not get to do in Texas. Unfortunately, there was not enough money, and not enough time. Perhaps we can come back for a visit someday.

Hopefully this will be remedied, with us having two incomes, and Derek not having to work on his master’s thesis on the weekends anymore. Plus, we hope to stay in Chattanooga for longer as well. We were in Houston for three years, for the duration of Derek’s master program.

Derek left on July 31st. He took mostly everything, including the cats, with him in a rental truck, and towed one of the cars behind it. I have been sleeping on a cot in an empty apartment.

We had to sign a 60 day vacate notice, and because we had little notice ourselves, this means we have our apartment in Houston until Sept 12.

If I can’t find a job before then, I will keep working at the Houston Chronicle, where I am a production editor, up until that date. I have been applying for jobs, but so far no luck. I do hope that we do not have to be separated for the full amount of time.