(For those of you who read the blog via e-mail, there's a YouTube video on this blog post with a Tom Petty song called "Southern Accents." Little mood music.)

Mostly, you know, I'm all about blooming where I am (trans)planted. Mostly, you know, I can find my spirit of adventure on this new planet called New York and MOSTLY, you know, I can find my sense of humor in the juxtaposition of my southern, spastic self among all of these Yankees.

But, y'all, school is starting in Austin today and I find that I am sort of overwhelmed with homesickness.

I think it's really that I knew how everything worked there, you know? If we were there, I would know exactly what to do and what teachers to ask for and I would be confident of my kids' abilities to be both challenged academically and also find nice friends. I would know exactly where to go back-to-school shopping and I would know exactly what to sign the girls up for in terms of extracurricular activities. I'd get to volunteer in their school and walk them to class and make the office staff laugh. (The schools here do not welcome parents.)

I would have my own circle of friends with whom to celebrate the start of another school year. I would have called my friend Laura, whose baby started Kindergarten today. I'd have gone grocery shopping (by myself! Woot!) at Central Market and then shown up at my friend Lisa's house (Lisa's oldest started Middle School today), where there would be a glass of wine with my name on it. Or maybe we'd all meet at the local community pool and cook out. Or meet at my own funky (and still unsold, sigh) house and throw the kids in the pool...

Ah, Austin.

I just miss it. I miss our great street and the way we all looked out for each other. I miss calling my neighbor Erin and asking if she wanted to bring her girls swimming and the way she'd just give Jane dinner and a bath with her own kids without even thinking twice about it. I miss people who call me, "Hon" and the way everyone in Austin has an easy smile and a few extra seconds for courtesy. I miss Texans--as a species.

Please don't tell me that it'll get better here. I know it will. I'd lived in Austin since I was eighteen and it still took me almost a year to feel at home in Austin in that neighborhood. It'll take time for everything to feel right here. I had some deep roots and it's just going to take a while for them to take hold in this particular landscape. I know all that.

But for today, I miss it.

There's a southern accent, where I come from
The younguns call it country
The yankees call it dumb
I got my own way of talkin'
But everything is done, with a southern accent
Where I come from


LaDonna said…
Oh, hon! (OK, I'm not a Texan, but "hon" and "sweetie" have become part of my own vernacular, too) I really do understand what you're going through. Had the same experience when we moved to Seattle. As nice as all the people were (and they were wonderfully nice!) it was just so difficult to establish those true friendships that felt as comfortable as an old pair of slippers. It wasn't that it was so awful there, it was just...well...different. And not home.

I won't tell you it will get better with time (but it will) cuz you don't want to hear it. Whoops, I guess I just did. But for now, just feel it. It doesn't mean you're not happy where you are. It just means that you haven't forgotten where you came from. It's OK.

I know the feeling. Can you believe how much brain space it takes up to learn all these new things - where everything is, the best places to shop, etc? And then the energy it takes to be always perky and friendly in case you may run into your future best friend? It's exhausting.

Some schools up north welcome parents, some don't - it varies by school.
Mrs.Q said…
I hope the music helps. I know it does for me. My good pal Anie wrote a song that totally encapsulates what I love about the Kootenays...and why, however well I bloom elsewhere - and I do feel good in our life in Vancouver - part of me will just always feel like it never left the Kootenays. I listen to it whenever I need a dose of Home. Darn it! You've made me all teary - the school thing aside, I GET what you mean.

Here's the song (sorry, I don't know how to make a fancy link!):

(If you like their music, go to their website and find the "Little Boxes" track...the last verse illustrates a whole other side to small town life, and makes me glad I live here now! Vocabulary alert: "Kokanee" is a beer brewed in the Koots.)

Hang in there, hon! The way your garden grows, I know you'll do an excellent job with your own re-rooting.
I'm homesick for the first day of school and my last one graduated 10 years ago! It's always a bittersweet time...the fall does signal change...hug your girls, you'll be missing these days soon enough!
Unknown said…
moving is so hard. I know, I've done it a LOT hug
Unknown said…
The schools here do not welcome parents?

and excuse me, what's with that???
Barb Matijevich said…
Nope, the schools in our district are locked down tight and have been since 9-11. I can't go and have lunch with my girls. I can't walk them to their classrooms in the mornings. If one of them forgets her lunch, I have to take it to the front desk and leave it.

The schools cite security concerns.

And the thing is... I'm from a district where parental involvement is like a disease, but our school took a totally different tact to deal with it. Our school in Austin recognized the abundance of parental energy (all of us former executive types now concentrating on parenting) and really channeled it into adjunct staff. There were all kinds of programs which utilized parents as teachers, readers, clerical staff... it was a very open and inviting school and the kids were LIGHT YEARS ahead of the kids here academically.

It's been probably the biggest adjustment of all in moving. I have never before had my child in a classroom with a teacher whom I hadn't seen teach. And it's not just the one school, either. BOTH of the schools my kids attend are like this.
ckh said…
I'm so sorry to hear that the school chose to exclude the community instead of embracing it - especially in light of their reasons.

Your post made me cry because what you had in Austin is what we have here. I had my own First Day of School today when I got to see my friends again after a summer of fragmentation. I'm so glad we're going to see each other regularly again.

And the volunteering is so important to the kids. They take pride in seeing their parents involved. And clearly it helps them excel. Maybe to help get over your homesickness, you should make it your mission to bring Austin to New York.

Maybe you should petition the superintendent or ruling body of the district or the powers that be or even get Hillary Clinton (since she's a Senator from NY and all) involved to help the village raise the children.

Maybe that's the reason you're in NY afterall. You have such a unifying way about you. You have a loyal following of readers that wait on baited breath for your next post. Show the New Yorkers what they're missing.
Suna Kendall said…
I still miss Tom Petty's hometown, and I last lived there in 1980. Pretty sad, huh, but there are things about certain places you can't reproduce. Austin is that way for sure. You just will find irreplaceable things about the new place, and that will be nice in its own way.

My oldest just went off to his first day as a senior. Took his brother to his guidance counselor, all on his own. What a weird feeling to have THEM know exactly what to do at school.

Virtual hugs from Round Rock.