Saturday, February 12, 2011

Knowing When to Say Goodbye

It was this time last year that I decided to move to Buenos Aires. Of course, it took me months to plan the move and actually leave, but I did it. I heard this song the other day and I felt like I could really relate to the lyrics:

I'm bored of this town, bored of this scene, bored of these people, yeah.
I'm an expert at pretending that everything is OK,
But I'm just a kid and it seems as if I've signed my life away.
I need to get out and see what the rest of the world is about.
This town ain't big enough for the one of me, I'm making a move.

My mom and cousin Jodi- 1/2 of the family I have in STL
The thing is, as much as I appreciate St. Louis as a city, the only reason I started seeing it as the place I wanted to end up was because of my ex and his family. I loved him and that family so much that I knew that no matter where I went in the country or the world, I'd want to come home to them. I'm not ashamed to say that and I definitely don't think there is anything wrong with that. St. Louis is a great place to live, especially if you have a family to stay for, but I don't anymore. Of course that's sad, but it is also liberating.  

Being away from St. Louis allows me to see my city for what it is. A place full of free activities, amazing parks, excellent food, open mic nights and the St. Louis Blues. I will always be proud to say I am from St. Louis, but I have no intention of living there ever again. 

Ryan (3) and I on my last day at St. Cecilia's
St. Louis simply wasn't enough for me anymore. I don't want it to sound like I hated St. Louis, the people or even my life there. In fact, it wasn't like that at all. I went to college in St. Louis and adored it. I will forever be a proud Webster graduate. I freed myself of terrible office life and landed a dream job as a bilingual preschool teacher and translator for an amazing school right out of college.  To this day I would still say it was the best job I have ever had. My time at St. Cecilia School is something I am so grateful for and I will never forget it. It was truly incredible to be able to wake up every day and always want to go to work. Those preschoolers needed me and I needed them back. I know I wouldn't have made it through all the miserable stuff I was dealing with this time last year without them. I felt so lucky to be a part of my students' lives. I also loved the community of the teachers. I adored being the youngest teacher and feeling both new and respected. Quitting that job was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. So, why did I do it?

As a teacher, you watch kids grow up. You tell them they can be anything. If they love Miley Cyrus (as so many of them did), you tell them that they can be as famous as her. If they love to draw, you tell them that they can be an artist. Children and Spanish are two of my greatest passions, so in some ways, I was living the dream. However, as you grow older, you realize that you may have more than one dream that needs to be realized. I had dreamt of moving abroad, speaking Spanish every day and taking on a whole new social and professional challenge. In the past, I had settled for trips abroad so I could stay based in St. Louis, but it was time to let go. 
I wanted to to earn a college degree.  I earned two.
I wanted to see another country. I saw 4. 
I wanted to get a job that used at least one of my degrees. I got to use them both. 
I wanted my job to feel like a honor. Nothing is a greater honor than to be a part of the life and development of such amazing children. 

Fishbowl Margaritas on Cherokee Street
No one could say I had failed. However, for me, success is continual. If I stayed, I'd never know if I could have done more. I had to show my kids that being drastic and dreaming big pays off. That is why I dedicated a half marathon run to them before I said my goodbyes. That is why I left a city, a job and memories that I loved so much. I had other dreams to conquer, and I still do. I miss St. Louis all the time. I miss my friends, college days, Cherokee street Mexican food and runs in Forest Park. I freaking miss the City Museum and it kills me to think my kids might forget who I am. But you have to know when to say goodbye, not matter how much it hurts. You have to know when you have accomplished all you set out to and when it is time for a new challenge. 

I need to get out and see what the rest of the world is about.
This town ain't big enough for the one of me, I'm making a move.

What bittersweet goodbyes have you been through?


  1. I love this post Rease, I really do. I hope you get to country hop forever (that's not true-I really hope you'll come live in Vegas!) and that you get to do everything you want. You're awesome and you deserve it!

  2. Moving to Peoria was one of the hardest things for me. It's only 3 hours from Chicago, but in ways it feels like it's a life time away - just because the qualities of both cities are so different. I miss my friends and family, taking the L, dining at new restaurants every week - but I think that going back once every month or two gives me an appreciation of everything that I left, and everything that there is to experience in the future.

    Last weekend I walked through the city on snow covered streets, alone, and just thought about everything I have done and will do to make myself better. I inhaled the freezing, polluted, and familiar Chicago air and realized how far I've come, and how far I've pushed myself. 6 months ago, I thought that I wanted to move far away to a new and exciting city and start a new life, but here I am in Peoria - the 133rd largest city in the nation, which is still oh so small and doesn't have all of the variety that Chicago does, but it does hold new opportunities for me.

    I always used to think that I would find a job in a far away land, and eventually come back to Chicago and raise my family there - but now after moving I know that I can't plan that anymore - because life is a series of events that often take you places that you never would have thought it would.

  3. @Emily- Thank you :) I promise to visit Las Vegas someday. I probably won't gamble but I will get outrageously drunk with you. Hopefully off something that comes with umbrellas.

    @Lexi- I'm so proud of you, I know how completely in love you are with Chicago, so it says something that you left it. If you end up back there, it's great. If not, I know it's because you are doing something important elsewhere.

  4. Hey, Rease!
    I hope the expat life is treating you well. I've lived in Munichfor 15 years now (from Nashville). The first couple of years were the hardest.

  5. Forgive me, DCAllen. At first I thought you were a friend from home, named Dan Allen. I read "Munichfor" as a fake town and thought he was just messing with me.
    I now see you meant Munich and are a totally different person haha. That's amazing that you have been there that long! I don't plan to be in BA forever, I'd like to end up in the US but I know I have a lot to see before I settle down! Why did you chose to stay in Munich?