Life: Why I Moved Again / by Kenneth Buff

It's going well for me. I've moved back to my old home (Oklahoma), got my old job back (special education teacher) at my old school in my old classroom, and I may even be moving back into my old complex. Though I've said "old" a lot, I don't see any of it as a sickly animal clinging on for dear life. I see it all as a comfortable shoe that I'm not only familiar with, but very happy wearing, and now that I'm older, I look damn good in them. Meaning, now that I'm older and more experienced, I know how to teach my ass off, and am ready to get back to it.

Leaving Colorado to move back to Oklahoma was an easy decision for me. Living back here now (Oklahoma) I do miss certain things about CO, but nothing that makes me want to pack up anytime soon. I do like that Colorado lacks bugs (there are some insects there, of course, but not like here), that the weather is mild compared to Oklahoma (at least in the Front Range, maybe the High Country is more extreme, I don't know), and that everyone's into being outside (because the weather is mild, and there are mountains to walk around bug-free). That being said, there are many perks to living in Oklahoma, especially if you've been here very long at all. One, everyone knows my name. It's like the town I live in is Cheers. And it's not because I've been here forever (though, that helps). If you spend a year here you'll bump into people you know shopping at Walmart, or eating at Chick-Fil-A (a local delicacy). That can either be annoying or heartwarming, depending on your constitution, but in terms of forming a career, it is a huge perk.  Which brings me to item two, I matter here. Not saying teaching doesn't matter wherever you do it, but the school I was working at in Colorado, we (the faculty) weren't all on the same page as far as what expectations should be (should we help the kids, or just sit back and collect a check), and the sheer amount of students with needs that weren't being met was not only daunting, but demoralizing. Here I am fortunate to work with passionate teachers who care about their student's well-being. And because the community is small, I KNOW I'm having a measurable affect on my community. I feel a part of it, which is a huge pull for me. Three, I can afford to live here. A teacher's salary in Longmont, Colorado is the same as it is here, only in Longmont the median price of a house is $500,000. Here it's $130,000. Those prices will buy you a decent home, something like 1,300 sq. ft. That's a huge price difference, and me being almost thirty, I'm ready to settle down and plant some seeds (pun intended), so being able to afford a house is another huge bonus. Four, you don't have to own a Subaru in Oklahoma. In the mountains my 2002 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 (known on the internet as the "Two point slow") did not cut it. The car is an automatic 4 cylinder with so many problems I've fixed I could literally write a blog post about them. It's a car that could rightly be called a POS, but it works. Gets from point A to B, and does so efficiently, as long as point A and B do not include mountains (found this out when the 2-point-slow wouldn't go over 20 climbing a mountain, and the engine started smoking...turned out it just needed oil—it leaks it. I would have kept going, but my wife didn't want to push it. I wanted to see what the Slow could do, but alas, I'll never know). But here, owning a shitty car is not a handicap. You can get away with driving anything on the Great Plains, and that is another perk for someone who's been part of the working poor their entire life (the mountain of debt I'm in has made it difficult to get out of that caste even with a career job, but I don't really mind. Life is cheap here, and debt is just a number. Sort of like age, and both do disappear when you die).

Well, those are my reasons for coming back to the Land Heaven Forgot. It's a great place to start a life. I can't wait to see where it takes me.