Meanwhile, H is struggling a bit with his job. I can see that it's getting harder and harder to go in each day. Things aren't so hot in education land anywhere and here it's getting worst by the month. More work. Less pay. Less teachers. He knows he's free in a few months but those are some long months. March is in there and March has to be an educator's hell. Thus I plan a quick trip to Athens. We weren't going to go until April, but I'm thinking seeing where he'll go might make time go by a bit faster, or at least ease the pain that is March. I also think that it might be a good idea for us to see this place where we'll likely be spending the next four or five years. Honestly, I'm not expecting much.
We arrive at night on the outskirts so it looks pretty...yuck. Lots of crappy looking strip malls. A few blocks before our hotel are some nice old houses. There is a train trestle that runs over North Ave. It's hilly. I'm reminded of old Maine mill towns, and I'm starting to have some hope. Once esconed in our room, H runs out to grab some burgers for us as we're all a bit hungry. When he returns he has the second bit of good news: it took him driving for blocks and blocks to find a fast food place.
Rain on Saturday promises a bleak exploration but we ready the umbrellas and head out. It's pretty much love at first sight. Blocks of funky stores and restaurants. Cafes overlooking a beautiful old campus. A DIY Craft kid store! An awesome independent book store. People are friendly and love to chat about Athens. There are bike trails. Greenways. Beautiful old rambling houses. People walk on the sidewalks which are pretty much everywhere.
And suddenly the trip that began for H becomes a coming home for me as well. Living here, I think, is going to be okay. It's going to all work out because this place is what we have dreamed of for our family. This place where we can walk and work. It feels like it could be home.