January 8, 2012 by bhjames78
In the Fall of 2009 my then girlfriend now wife Liz and I decided that at the end of that school year—we are both high school English teachers—we were going to quit our jobs and move to New York. Just to do it. And we did. We notified our principal on Veteran’s Day and spent the next seven months, amongst other things, sending out cover letter/resume combos and responding to craigslist postings for apartments.
Our plan was to depart the end of July, and by the middle of July, we still had no jobs in NY and nowhere to live. But we did have non-refundable plane tickets. In June, we had sold all of our furniture and appliances in a three day yard sale and had put our other belongings—those that didn’t fit into four suitcases and two carry-ons—into storage.
Though we spent most of July jobless and concerned, Liz and I had each flown to NY for interviews—me sometime in June and Liz in early July. I interviewed with Bronx Lighthouse Charter School. Actually, I had already interviewed with Bronx Lighthouse—a phone interview in late May—after which they had expressed how excited they were and that they just needed me to come on out and meet them and do a demo lesson. So Liz and I bought plane tickets (more plane tickets) and flew out and got an awful room at the HoJo in the awful Bronx and I gave a seventh grade lesson on making inferences from Lewis Carroll’s “The Jabberwocky,” after which we had another interview, after which they said they just needed to bring it up to the board, which would meet the next week, and then they’d give me a call, not telling me that in actuality they would never be calling me but instead would six months later be sending me a form rejection by email, leading me to the view—perhaps out of bitterness but perhaps also because they knew I had flown from fucking California—that the folks at Bronx Lighthouse Charter School are kind of assholes.
Unlike Bronx Lighthouse, the school Liz interviewed with three weeks later, Uncommon Charter School (who, it would turn out, despite the following, are also kind of assholes) paid for her plane ticket and put her up in a hotel. Strapped for cash from the previous trip (as well as the upcoming one), we couldn’t afford a second ticket and Liz had to go alone. When she called me from the airport on her way home—in tears—it seemed to have not gone well, but two weeks later, when they called to offer her a job, things began to look up. The same week, we found and put down a deposit—sight unseen—on a sublet apartment belonging to a Frenchman named Jean Louis who was studying Arabic in Spain.
So on July 31st of 2010, our respective parents dropped Liz and I off at the airport in Sacramento, each of us toting two (two each) overweight suitcases (having planned in advance to pay for the extra bags and extra weight), a carry-on (one carry-on consisting of a cat carrier appropriately carrying a 17 pound cat), a personal item and a bottle of tranquilizers (for the cat).
Next post: Our first week in NY.