April 4 , 2014

We Wanted To Be Happy

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 9.19.22 PM         Above | Cranberry Ginger Vanilla Margarita here

All big decisions in our lives have been made over Mexican food and margaritas. Coincidentally, all bad decisions have been made directly after said margaritas.                                                      

So we had a 50/50 chance of making the right decision that night. We went to Casa Ortega, our favorite Mexican food place around Wrightwood and presented our lists.

It was the fall of 2012 and the month before had been spent processing the advantages and disadvantages of leaving. That night over fish tacos we had decided to stay another year in Wrightwood, CA. My health had diminished over the year (a story for a later time) and I needed some time to recover. We thought if we stayed I could eventually enroll in nursing school. So we would stay and choose to be happy.

That year was good for us, still having it’s ups and downs, but mostly ups. I was starting to feel better and so was my perspective on Wrightwood. It was a new time for us and we were happy. Our good friends, Dylan and Abby had mostly moved to town with their dog, Jack. Most nights were spent in our little cabin eating good food and playing cards while Jack chased raccoons. During this time I had found it was actually pretty hard to get into a nursing school in Southern California.The average waiting list for programs at the time was about 2-3 years and due to residency laws I would have to wait another year to become a resident (and qualify for a more reasonable and lower tuition). Needless to say I was discouraged and settled for my Wrightwood life. I did fly to Portland multiple times throughout the year to maintain my sanity.

It wasn’t until that summer that we joined together over Mexican food and margaritas to make another big decision. Jackson had been offered a new position and he needed to give his answer. That’s when everything changed.

The answer is one of the long and complicated types. This is the short version:

We had been happy living in Wrightwood, but something didn’t feel right. He didn’t want the stress and responsibility the position would offer, but mostly he(we) didn’t want to give an even longer commitment to living there. He turned down the position and that’s when our wheels really started turning.

To stay in Wrightwood, for us, would mean that we were settling for a life that we didn’t really want anymore. We wanted to make our own life together. I had followed Jackson to Wrightwood to be with him, sort of settled into his life, but it wasn’t ideal. We needed a better balance; I wanted to work, Jackson wanted to work less. We wanted to be intentional with our lives. And we wanted to be honest and healthy. When we were honest with ourselves, we weren’t really happy in Southern California anymore and when you aren’t honest, you aren’t healthy. The choice seemed obvious, it was our time to leave.

We had been thinking of moving over seas for a while and one thing after another seemed to be falling into place. At some point during our dreaming we committed to moving. And then, as if leaving and moving overseas wasn’t enough, we decided to get married in early November too – just to keep us busy.

So, in early October Jackson gave one heartfelt resignation to Navitat and we sold most of the things we had acquired while living there. Except for ALL the books, those are being stored in the Tandy’s garage (thanks Tandys). At this time, we didn’t actually have jobs lined up, but we were determined to find them and we did.

Korea isn’t perfect. It smells richly of kimchi and we can’t read any of the signs. We’re already deprived of the outdoors (neighborhoods like this) and we have to learn to accept our “almost windows.” We’re living in the future (16 hours ahead of West Coast Time) which makes it complicated to communicate with anyone back home, but we are happy here. Really happy. We’re dreaming, thriving and learning. It is just the first month and I’m sure we’ll have our low moments. I already dread the moments of births, deaths and weddings back home that we will surely miss. But we will deal with that when the time comes.

This is our time to be selfish, to be happy and healthy.

To all of you that we love deeply, we hope to see you soon, but mostly we hope you are living a happy, healthy and honest life. We love you and already miss you.

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 9.23.45 PM

There aren’t any Mexican food restaurants here, so we won’t be making any big decisions to move anytime soon.

 …I guess that means we won’t make any bad decisions either.


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  • Tauna Pile

    I totally know this feeling. It’s hard to explain to people who aren’t here with you but, I too, am really happy here, even though it’s 6000 miles from my family. I wish you too the best and I’m determined to meet up sometime within the year.

    • http://www.justthegooddays.com/ J & A Tandy

      Thanks Tauna. I know you understand this. It is such a strange almost guilty feeling. I’m happy in knowing you’ve found that same feeling too. Yes, we will meet up sometime this year. I wonder if we have the same holidays?

  • Abby

    This post makes ME so happy! I love you both so much, and I love the way you dream.

    I also think Jack is chasing mice/other pesky rodents outside our house in NC at night. While there are raccoons, too, they only come around when we leave the trash on the front porch… oops! He misses you, and so do we!

    • http://www.justthegooddays.com/ J & A Tandy

      Love you Abby. Miss you guys lots. And cards.

  • Ess

    April, I love you and Jackson from the very bottom of me. Your honesty is inspirational.

    • http://www.justthegooddays.com/ J & A Tandy

      Thanks Sarah! Love you. I have no doubt you will show up on our doorstep! Thanks for you lovin.