It turns out that Rob's program will let him complete his fellowship and take the board exams after 2 years; this is the normal length of an allergy/immunology fellowship and will be finished this coming summer. He can finish! We can leave! You may be reading this thinking, "Duh!" but this was a significant mental adjustment for us; we've both spent our entire working lives in academic environments with jobs that have predetermined lengths, an environment where it would be insanity to say "no" to grant money. That is just what we're going to do, though, as soon as we figure out what else our family can do. I am pretty flexible, as I see myself going back to teaching as an adjunct in the near future and can do that in most cities with a couple of colleges, universities, or even community colleges. That makes the following the big question-- what will Rob be when he grows up? The current frontrunner is regular old doctor. A shocking development! We've discussed the possibility of Rob doing another, different fellowship, but for right now Rob is focusing his energy on looking for private practice allergy jobs. We both think this will be a good option for us as far as "lifestyle" (doctor-speak for working hours and conditions, as well as money) and for Rob finding contentment and fulfillment in his career.
The next big question is, of course, WHERE. Where should we live? There is a higher burden on this decision than there has been at other transitions in our life because this is probably a permanent-ish, settling-down kind of a move. Grace will start school wherever we move and Rob will be starting a real job in a practice. There are a lot of things we would like (pedestrian-friendly, short commute for Rob, not suburban vibe, not too much serious winter or summer, culturally fun/interesting place to be, hopefully racially diverse, etc) and we are thinking through a lot of those things. We are leaning toward the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountain states right now, but have considered other pockets across the country. Things are pretty up in the air; Rob will find a new job possibility and I will scurry across the internet researching schools and home prices and neighborhoods.
This means we have to sell our house. Nooooooooo! The pain and stress of selling our house in Connecticut is still too fresh in my mind for me to approach another real estate transaction with anything but dread. And nothing actually dreadful even happened to us in selling our house there, aside from losing money on that house. We had a contract within a month of putting it on the market and everything went reasonably smoothly, all things considered. It is just not a fun thing to have to do, but rather a SUPER STRESSFUL OPPOSITE-OF-FUN thing to have to do. We will have been in this house only two years, so our chances of financially coming out in the black are pretty slim. Stupid housing market! We don't have a definite schedule for getting the house on the market yet but I am predicting that a good chunk of my spring will be spent cleaning our house and keeping it tidy for showings and whatnot.
Also, this means that we are putting our adoption plans on hold. We had gotten a little bit into the homestudy process-- the agency had run background checks and we had turned in a giant stack of papers and whatnot. If we continued to move forward right now and then moved out of state this summer, there would be a lot of legal and logistical complications. It's not that we couldn't still adopt through this agency from out of state, but it would be complex and messy. We are not financially very invested in the process yet with this agency, so we have decided to wait until after our move and then start all over again with a new agency. We feel bummed about this. We had gotten excited about adding a new little person to our home and felt like the timing was right for our family, so it's a letdown to close the door on it for now. I remind myself that we are not closing the door forever on another child, though, and there are definitely benefits to letting Violet be the baby for a while yet and having kids spaced further apart. We were shooting for Violet and baby #3 being ~2 years apart, so now it will be more like 3-4 years. Not unreasonable at all, right?
So yeah, this is what is up with is as we begin 2010. I mostly feel excited about the new possibilities, although with a pinch of trepidation thrown in. We'll see what this coming year holds for us!