Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Golden Ticket

Your first kiss. Graduation. Your wedding day. The birth of your children. Buying your first house. All events of enormous significance. Milestones that mark the journey of your life. We have been waiting for a sign that the next chapter in our lives was about to begin.

Three weeks ago Mark received a call to interview for a job 755 miles away.

The interview process is serious. It begins with a breakfast meeting and goes through the evening, for two days. Each morning in his hotel room Mark would psych himself up with a little Eminem. You know you can picture this!

He fell in love with the campus and made instant connections with the faculty. He knew he had found his DREAM job. Then the waiting began. We waited and fretted and stewed for 3 weeks.

On my way out to run errands last Friday, I reminded Mark to turn his phone on in case I needed to call from the store. 90 minutes later he pulled his phone out of his pocket to check to see if it was on and it began to ring in his hand. The search committee had met and they had chosen him for the job. It would need to pass through the Dean's office before the official offer could be made. A formality. The job was his but we would wait nearly another week to announce it until we had the official offer.
Being a fan of thrift stores and Goodwill in particular, I made a stop in our new store (last Friday). On the wall in large letters they have painted, "We employ people with special needs to empower them through work." Love that! I was already choked up when Mark called me. He couldn't wait for me to get home which meant I was a big cry baby in public.

Barely up the steps to our front porch, Mark came running out and picked me up, twirling me around a la the end scene in An Officer and a Gentleman. I discovered he already had Soph in school gear. We called the immediate family and let Alexander make the announcement, "Hi Papa. We're moving to Philadelphia!"

click to enlarge
It is a private Catholic university located in a suburb just north west of Philadelphia. This small campus has received top rankings for two decades, though most people have heard of them because of their basketball program. The list is long as to why this is meant to be for our family. Mark's new position is as a professor of Russian political science, which is exactly what he's passionate about and trained for. The annual Special Olympics Fall Festival is the largest and most successful student-run Special Olympics in the world. So you see, it's about already having a sense of community, a place where we belong.

We will be making the 12+ hour drive in the next couple of weeks to being our search for housing. I'm already in touch with the Philly DS group, the T21Club (love that name), and Mark's colleagues are passing out the advice as well.

Most of what I know about Philadelphia comes from history books or Hollywood with movies such as Rocky, Philadelphia (Tom Hanks), and National Treasure. Then there are the sports teams, the proximity to NYC and the Jersey Shore that have us excited.

So much needs to be done as we will be moving at the end of June. Packing, cleaning, finding housing, MOVING in 3 months will be a chore. It is a huge area and we won't be moving to Philadelphia proper, but somewhere in the burbs. (it is a big area to choose from). The timing is excellent for the kids. Alexander will finish preschool this Spring and Sophie is aging out of Early Intervention July 1st. Finding a good location for kindergarten and transitioning her to early education is our top priority.

Too much needs to be done to have time to be sad to say good bye to this community we've called home for 3 years, though I know it will happen. Fortunately with the internet, it's not really a good bye. So now the real important question, Geno's or Pat's? (long standing rivalry for who originated the philly cheese steak).

If you have any advice or connections to the Philly area, please let me know.


Stephanie said...

Soooooo happy for you all! Sooooooo sad for us! LOL! Can't wait to see all the new adventures for you! Hugs to all. :)

Steph, Chris & Christopher

Anonymous said...

You will be missed, but I couldn't be happier for all of you! I know you will find your place in your new community! Congratulations to Mark on landing that dream job!!!! Big hugs from our home to yours!

gillian said...


Karyn said...

How exciting!! Congrats!!

Lacey said...

How exciting for you guys! Here's to hoping the same thing happens to us. Ray has testing in California on the 13th of next month. Hopefully its a job for him and we will be moving too!

Ellen said...

I'm happy, I'm sad, I'm jealous, I'm envious of you and mostly I will miss you and your family. There will be tears. But we will not let go of you easliy.


Libbey05 said...

YEAH!! SOOOO happy for you and Mark and the kids.....still miss you in WI!

Beverly said...

So very happy for you guys!!! Congrats on the new job. Such exciting times to come!

Bethany said...

Congratulations you guys! Now maybe we can meet up!!

I have a few friends in Philly ... one moved there a year or two ago from here. She has called me a few times to vent about their Down syndrome association, saying they are stuck in 1972. Assuming it is the same one, but perhaps not. Go make change Jen! LOL.

Let me know if you want to talk to my friends there ... well, one is Steph. You know her, right?

Michelle Z said...

Congratulations! How exciting!!

(although secretly I was hoping his new job would bring you all back to Wisconsin... but Philly sounds fun, too!)