Fiction Blog, Musings & Bookish Things

New Adventures in New Haven

Lighthouse Point, New Haven, CT
Lighthouse Point, New Haven, CT

The graduate school search is over.

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you will probably know that my husband has been applying for his second Master’s program. Well, after months of deciding which schools to pick, stressing over applications, and waiting for responses, the results are in: Daniel will be attending Yale Divinity School this fall.

For more on his academic journey and why he chose Yale (beyond the obvious reasons), you can read his blog here.

But this post isn’t about him. This one is about me — how this decision affects me and how I feel about it.

First and foremost, let me say, I am incredibly proud of Daniel. Getting accepted into any graduate school (let alone an Ivy League) is a huge accomplishment. Seeing his hard work and dedication pay off is so heartwarming and gratifying.

Bar_in_New_Haven,_CT,_March_3,_2008Mostly, I’m excited. We will be moving to New Haven, Connecticut at the beginning of August and reside there for the two years he is in the program. From my introductory research on New Haven, it seems to have a vibrant arts scene, eclectic food options, and an active nightlife. All the sources say it is the perfect blend of New England colonial preppy-ness and the cultural, lively “college town” vibe. So, yeah, overall I think it will be a pretty and fun place to live.

However, there are some things I am nervous about. Mainly, this will be my first time living more than 30 miles from my childhood home. Leaving my parents and pets behind makes me sad, but I know that they will always be a phone call or plane ride away. Likewise, living in a new town (no matter where) and taking on complete responsibility for my and Daniel’s lives (especially as the primary breadwinner) is intimidating. Of course, I know I can handle all of these things, but still, it’s nerve-wracking.

The one thing that really breaks my heart is that we cannot take Thomas, our feline son with us. We have chosen to live in the graduate apartments on Yale’s campus (which will save us literally thousands of dollars a year), and they do not allow pets that do not live in cages. I spent a long time crying about this, and I’m just hoping that for Daniel’s doctorate degree we can live somewhere that will let us have him. For those of you who are worried, don’t be. He’s going to live with his Nana and Papa (my parents) until he can move in with us again.

UPDATE: Daniel and I ended up finding an off-campus apartment in the heart of New Haven, and we CAN take Thomas with us! Happy pet parents we are!

ThomasOn a more introspective note, I must say that I am a bit jealous of Daniel and a bit worried about how others will perceive me. You see, I have based my self-worth almost wholly on academics my entire life. School has always been my thing. Now, I’ve chosen not to go to graduate school in favor of pursuing independent publishing (which I know is a better option for me), and my husband is going to Yale.

And what am I doing? Working at whatever job will have me and writing at night. I know it is silly, but I am just so worried that: on one hand, the people we meet will see me as nothing more than Daniel’s wife or a secretary or the breadwinner; and, on the other hand, I’m worried that I will get permanently trapped in those roles. After all, his dream is a straight railroad track through academia to scholarly success. And my dream to be a full-time writer is not laid out on a set path. It can take many twists and turns, and being self-employed means that my income will be uncertain. I guess I’m just worried that I will spend so long supporting him that my dreams will be put off for the next seven years he is in school…and then maybe longer, indefinitely, after that.

As I’m thinking through my self-definitions and trying to rationalize all of this, I keep thinking about setting. I love Kansas. It gets a bad rap from the rest of the U.S., but it’s actually a gorgeous place to live with plenty of culture and entertainment when you know where to look. I’ve always been a “Midwest” girl. Who will I be in Connecticut? Will I be the token “Dorothy?” Will I stick out like a hick with my “Southern” (totally not Southern) accent and my non-designer clothes? Will changing locations change me in any way — good or bad? I don’t know. I have traveled a lot, and every place I travel teaches me something new about myself and broadens the way I see the world — but traveling somewhere and living somewhere are two different experiences, and I have no idea what to expect from this one.

So — how do I feel about our upcoming adventures in New Haven? Proud of Daniel. Excited to live in a new, seemingly idyllic location. Nervous to be away from family and on “our own.” Worried about how I perceive myself in all this. But, mostly, good. I think this is going to be a positive experience for both of us, and I’m just going to try to relax and enjoy the ride.

39 thoughts on “New Adventures in New Haven”

  1. First off, a huge congrats to Daniel! What an amazing accomplishment. Yale. That’s…insanely awesome. You must be very proud of your hubby!

    You have laid out all your thoughts and feelings so clearly, and all of them are valid. It is hard moving, even if the move is an exciting one. I’m sorry you can’t bring Thomas with you. That stabbed me in the heart. I can’t imagine having to leave behind a beloved pet. It’s great your parents will take him though! He’ll have a nice warm home with a family he knows. Of course you will visit and get to snuggle him.

    I understand your feelings around your identity, especially being the breadwinner. It’s probably not going to be easy, but I don’t think you will get boxed in either. You seem too tenacious to let that happen, or to let it happen in a way you aren’t comfortable with. There is no clear path with writing or self-employment, but that does not make it less valid.

    I don’t know what people in New Haven sound like, but I saw your video interview and I heard no accent. Maybe Canadians sound like Midwesterners? I’m not convinced we have an accent lol. If you do end up being the token Dorothy embrace it!

    Living in a new place is scary and much different than travelling, but you will get used to it and soon it will feel like a home, maybe not “home” but still a good place to be. Explore, enjoy, take advantage of living in a different city. Don’t worry about clothes and labels and junk- the people who care about that aren’t people you want in your life anyway.

    I can’t wait to hear all about your moving adventure! It’s okay to be sad and nervous but always remember to be excited too! One way or another it will be an amazing experience.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, Amanda. You are so sweet, and this is exactly the pep talk I needed. All the feelings — good and bad — are still so fresh, and with all the logistics still to figure out, I know I am not thinking as clearly as I will later on. But you are right — I just need to focus on my goals, Daniel, and our lives. And yes, I’m very excited to share more about this journey on the blog as well!


    2. As the subject of this article, I just wanted to express my thanks to the wonderful community here on Kate’s blog. Your love and support means the world to her. Thank you for encouraging us on our next big adventure. It means a lot to me and to Kate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha maybe so! That’s another issue I’m having: to get the book out before August or wait until after the move? Kinda thinking I’m using the move as an excuse to accelerate my timeline…lol


  2. Kate, I am excited about your and Daniel’s new adventure. I happen to LOVE New England (as I live in Maine), I find it to be a beautiful place to live and to have a much more relaxed and breathable lifestyle. I think you, as a writer, will particularly find it inspiring. The culture you find in New England and the atmosphere is unlike anything ive ever encountered and I can’t imagine writing anywhere else. As for other views of you, I wouldn’t worry. Although I’m not familiar with the attitudes around the campus housing at Yale, people up here seem to be more relaxed and to really appreciate the arts. I believe that people will be not only respectful of your decision to follow your dream, but also i believe people will be supportive. I have chosen to put off grad school but my wife is currently doing it, and I have found no negativity towards that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Zach. New England certainly does seem like a beautiful place, and everything I’ve researched so far makes me very excited to try it out. I think all the “Ivy League” stereotypes from movies are just messing with me right now. But hearing your experience makes me hopeful. I would love to find a community with more writers and support for the arts, as where I live now, there is not much of one!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Kate, I have no personal experience with New Haven, but I have friends that lived there and ive heard that it has a large art and music community. I think you’ll fit in just fine. And even if the stereotypes are true, screw them…you know who you are and what you are capable of. You’ll find a group that will accept you and help you further your writing. Besides, you’ll always have your online community.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve moved cross country in dire circumstances and in better times, I moved in with my fella last year. I moved to an entirely different town, away from family and we redecorated his place and set up a new life, merged finances, new routines, new life plans, everything changed. I loved my old town, being near my family and being plugged into a town full of culture and memories – that was a sacrifice!

    The good news (and the bad) is that stepping out of my self perceptions and starting over was tough as it was liberating. It took a few months to settle. But now I have settled, I grew so much and it did wonders for my writing.

    My advice is; retain your curiosity for all the facets of yourself that you’ll encounter when you move. You’re not just Kate from Kansas, stepping into all the uncharted inner territory that appears when you move towns; that’ll be a goldmine for your storytelling.

    Also, I studied Theology and I’m envious of your hub, wow, what an opportunity he has. I pray God blesses you both.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I love your word choice: “liberating.” I truly hope so! And I agree with you — I think this move will do wonders for my creativity and give me a lot of writing material, both nonfiction and fiction, to explore down the road. Thanks again for your support!


  4. I’ve lived in a few New England states. New Haven is a great place to live. I’d say stay yoursef, “Kate from Kansas” and people will love you. It will be a plus being a writer in any group. You’re going to find like people where ever you go. The Arts & Academia will be a good mix. Good Luck on your new adventure. Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Kate! First of all, congratulations to your husband! Just the other day I was wondering what it would be like to be in New Haven. It was because of the MOOC I was doing on Classical Music that was offered by Yale. Now, I’ll get first-hand info! Be sure to check out the keyboard collection as the professors say it is the best in the world.
    I really respect how you’ve shared your personal concerns. Not many would admit to it. I hope I can offer you some advice. Of course, my academic life so far has been a cautionary tale, which you might tell from my frequent bouts of existential crisis. But, an important piece of advice which one of my professors gave me on the first day was, treat your M.Phil/Ph.D exactly like a marriage. Even on the best days, when you feel you’re on to something, it will be hard. Therefore, it is best to wait for when the time is right, to research what is right for you.
    Therefore, my personal advice is, “This above all: to thine own self be true.” I think it is so exciting that you are not only being a wonderful wife but are setting up your own business. And, oh, you’ve written( imagine “written” is italicized) a book that is about to come out this year. And if all this wasn’t enough, you are rather young! If there is anyone who cannot see how remarkably accomplished you are, or give the impression not to, they are either blind or jealous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Amrita! I will be sure to check out the keyboard collection and send you some pictures! I really appreciate your encouragement and your advice. I’m sure that Daniel and I will both stay true to ourselves. And you’re right — I need to focus on how much we have both accomplished in such a short time and take pride in those deeds. Thanks for the support. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Kate,

    Thanks for your incredible openness! I’m really impressed with your self-awareness, and how you’re able to hold all the happy and sad and hopeful and fearful parts of this complicated experience at once.

    I can really relate to the complicated fears and opportunities you’re facing. I’ve faced stages of life where my only writing was from my income (and it wasn’t enough, and my wife had to support us, and I wondered if I’d ever be able to make any real income writing) and where I’ve had a stable income and a good reputation in other positions, but in a way that threatened to eclipse or even snuff out my identity as a writer.

    Based on what I know of you, I’m not worried. If there’s one thing that will defuse a lot of the risks, it’s persistently adding word count over the long term. Even if you’re more visibly several other things and your identity as a writer hovers under the surface for a while, even if you put lots of your time and attention into other areas of life, that will anchor your writing career. And finding some other writers won’t hurt.

    I’m confident you’ll keep writing and taking smart steps to get your books seen and sold. And I’ve seen your writing. I don’t think you’ll manage to remain in obscurity. (Was sad to hear about Thomas, though. Glad he’s got some cat-grandparents to take good care of him.)

    Big congratulations to Daniel! And I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in New Haven. I’m in Baltimore, so if you need anything, you know…I’m closer now. [:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and encouragement, Ben! I really appreciate your perspective and the idea that the writing career will always be there, just perhaps under the surface. And your vote of confidence means a lot, too. Now I just need to get on with proving you (and everyone else who has been kind enough to comment) right! Thanks again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s absolutely NOT too much to ask! First, as I’ll be living there, there will be pictures. Second, Daniel and I have been meaning to use our nice camera more, so pictures will be taken!


  7. Hey Kate, I was genuinely moved by your post and the way you described your conflicting emotions and thoughts. I’ve only come to know you through the medium of the internet, but what I experience of you is someone who is determined to make things happen and is generous with her support. Both qualities will stand you in good stead in following your writing dreams wherever you happen to be. Well done to Daniel and good luck to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

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