Friday, August 10, 2007

Relocating for Singing

I've wanted to move south for singing for at least twelve years, probably more. At times my feelings have torn me in two. In the early years, I remember sitting on planes bound for home (Boston), tears in my eyes because I had to leave. On top of that, I'm married to a non-singer who doesn't like Sacred Harp music, and who's also never been keen on living in the deep south.

If I were single, my decision would have been made long ago. I'd have moved, probably to the Atlanta area so I could find a job. But I'm not single.

Understand, I love my husband deeply, and his happiness is important to me. But for years we've been in a stalemate: he doesn't want to live where I want to live.

Also, our daughter in grad school needs us to live where we are for several more years so that she has a (free) place to live, and we want to help her, of course. We all do lots of things to help our kids, because we love them.

Despite all this, I think my husband and I have found a location, when we finally move, that works for both of us--the Austin area. He'll have the resources he needs for an interesting, pleasant retirement, and I'll have enough regular singing to make me content. Plus, we both will enjoy the lack of snow!

However, it continues to grieve me that I wouldn't be singing on a regular basis with my friends in Georgia. Nor does it look like we'll have enough money in retirement for me to travel frequently (at least once a month) to GA, though I could be wrong about that. And Austin's not that close to GA. In fact, it's roughly fifty miles farther from the Carrollton area than from where we live now, near Philadelphia. That's two long days of driving to arrive at, say, Wilson's Chapel, Holly Springs, or Hopewell at Ephesus. So I continue to have mixed feelings.

If you're a singer who has relocated for singing, especially those with non-singing spouses or partners, I'd love your comments on how you did it, and whether you're happy you relocated. Please feel free to respond.


1 comment:

Jeff said...

I happened to come across your blog while searching for Sacred Harp singing in the Philly area. I am originaly from Alabama but moved to Philly when I was 8. Alabama always will be my home in my heart and I have made a quarterly pilgrimage there every year since I was 20 to see my grandparents. I am approaching my 43rd birthday.

Perhaps I can share my experience of being "torn" between the North and the South, for different reasons than yours. I spent much of my life dreaming of living in my grandparent's house and working their farm. When my grandfather died in 2003 I had the opportunity to purchase their house from my family. After his funeral I spent a week in the house helping to organize things and getting my grandmother moved to my aunt and uncle's house. The last night I spent in the house alone, everyone else had left. I sat listening to the silence and envisioning what it would be like to live there. That is when I realized that the house, without my grandparents, was just a house. The realization was clear... I could never live in thier house and feel the same as if they were there. The house wasn't them.

Through the night I lay in bed and thought about my life, how I had always dreamed of relocating back to the South. I missed the culture, the churches, the food, the woods, the smell of a summer rain. Nowhere else were these things the same. Similar, yes. But never the same.

I resolved then to stop yearning to be in a different place. What was obvious to me was that I could take those things with me, as much as possible, to where ever I decided to be. And to be patient about those things that I missed. Being impatient about those things cost me my first marriage. My ex-wife was from the city. I was not. It was always a conflict.

The funny thing is, at the moment, I live in Argentina. Never planned to come here, just did by accident and, long story short, met my (now) wife. On a trip to the US we went to Alabama to visit my kinfolk. My wife (who is Brazilian) fell in love with everything and everyone and wants to move there. She is dead serious. I am a little stunned. "Are you sure?" I keep asking. She is sure.

Perhaps the point I am trying to make is to be patient with what you yearn for. Everything comes in it's due time and often in ways we could never imagine.

I wish you the best.