In 1995, at the age of 26, I had just finished my M.A. in archaeology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby (Vancouver), BC. I had applied for three positions, one in San Francisco, one in New Orleans, and one in Austin, Texas. Texas was last on my list of places I wanted to ever visit, let alone live. Of course, that's the one I got an interview for.
The company flew me down for an interview and I ended up getting one of the positions they were hiring for.
Straight out of grad school and getting a full-time job ... well, it was unheard of in the archaeology department at SFU in 1995. Field work, sure. Working seasonally for a local company with little job security, no problem. But a job with benefits ... really uncommon. I was lucky. I was cocky. I had an M.A.!! (Big woop, really, but at the time I was on top of the world).
So I moved. Me, three boxes and three suitcases. I knew no one aside from the co-workers I had briefly met while there for my interview. It was a foreign land (really, compared to Canada, Texas is somewhat a foreign land - language is very similar although not the same, but flora, fauna and environment are exceedingly different between Vancouver and Austin). I remember being stunned by the sheer amount of sunshine that happened there. And of course it was bloody hot, but after a few weeks, you adapt.
I had rented an apartment via the relatively new Internet - rents were expensive compared with what I was used to, so I took this somewhat affordable one without even seeing pictures. It was a disappointing living space, but it was in a great neighbourhood, and two of the other residents became very close friends. Had I not lived in the crappy apartment (cave-like with dark wood panelling and very little sunlight), I would not have met these really great people. The ying and the yang. Good comes long with bad.
I remember the first couple of days (especially) and the following couple of weeks being rather difficult with a lot of thinking: "What have I done? What was I thinking moving so far away from my home, my family and my friends?" But I craved adventure and this was my way of getting that. Plus, it was a great job, a great opportunity and it paid better than anything else I would get.
I moved to Texas in July, 1995. Moved to TEXAS ... in JULY!!! Okay - I wouldn't suggest that. If you need to move to Texas, do it in December or January. And if you need to move north to some place like Edmonton, do it in July - less of a shock to the system. But, yes, I moved at the hottest bloody time of the year. You don't always get to pick and choose.
I worked for Prewitt and Associates - at that time owned by Elton Prewitt - for nearly two years. I left Austin in June, 1997.
It was an amazing experience. I used to say that every mid-20s young adult should move away from their home to experience the world that way. I'll explain in a later post why I now understand that there are great outcomes to that, but also some rather painful drawbacks.
More to come, but it's late and we just got home today, so I think I'll take my weary bones to bed. Futher insights and revelations to be summarized in future posts. It was a very emotional week!
See Texas Trip Part 2.