Merkleys on the Move

If I had written this two weeks ago, or even yesterday, it would be a different story than I am writing now. Things have been changing multiple times a day but the moral of the story is the same: we are moving to Houston, Texas!
On October 29th, Sam received an offer letter for a position in Houston. When he was recruited by SLB, he was told that he would be offered an international position within the first three rotations. SLB changed their policy on that about a year ago so we had been preparing ourselves for a stateside position after Williston. But the reality of it happening was maddening. He had been promised!
After a lot of prayer, discussion, and salary negotiations, Sam accepted the position on November 10th.
There were several days where I imagined that we would be telling the story of how he turned down the offer and we chose to stay in Williston. But that didn't seem right. Even though Williston is our home right now and I would not trade the people we have met for anything, it is our time to go.
Was it a waste of time if you are just going back to Houston?
First, we are not moving back exactly. We lived in a suburb of Houston last time and living in the city this time will be an entirely different experience. Second, I would never consider our time in Williston a waste. We have learned and grown so much and the confidence I have gained during my time in Williston is invaluable.
Are you sad?
I feel like I am living a double life. Of course I am sad to leave my friends. But this move isn't a surprise to me or them. It is long-awaited. I have not had friends as amazing as I have now since high school. I was nervous to tell them we were moving because I thought I would be immediately dismissed. But the last few days of telling people about this move has been a very eye-opening experience. My friends did not dismiss me and their reactions have mirrored my own: excited, and sad, and "now we have to spend every moment together before you leave!" I have incredible friends.
Will people remember me?
No one else asked me this question but I ask it of myself. I invested in people in Williston and they invested in me also. I want everyone to get on a plane with me and we can live in a neighborhood somewhere and eat at real restaurants and shop at real stores and go see movies at theaters that don't charge 3/7ths of your arm for entry. But that won't happen. I hope to reunite with as many people as possible in the future. These people have been my family during our two-and-a-half years in Williston and that (I hope and pray!) isn't a bond that can be broken.
How did the boys react to the news?
We asked, "Do you guys want to move to Texas?" And they yelled, "Yes!" I was shocked and told them, "But none of your friends will be there, you will go to a different school, and live in a different house." Alex, ever resilient, replied, "Okay. But can it be a red house?" I did not realize that Alex was passing this news on to other people. I told my friend Stephanie that we are moving and she said, "I already knew. Alex told me last week. He said, 'We are moving to Houston after Christmas.'" And that was that.
Are you going to buy a house?
Earlier today I would have said, "Yes!" But now the answer is no. SLB offers a really great lease incentive so we plan to rent for a year and then look for a house, or maybe rent some more. No promises. We leave on a house hunting trip to Houston on Sunday. My parents were planning to come help us look for a house but now that we aren't buying, and the decision is not so significant, they are not coming. Declan will come with us and Alex and Edison will be staying with their buddies, the Hiatts. Texas is always on my mind. I cannot think about or do anything else because my brain is trying to work out the logistics of this move. Hopefully the house hunting trip will resolve some of my concerns.
When do you leave?
This really depends on when we can get into a house and when the movers can pack and deliver our belongings. Sam's initial offer letter had an effective date of December 28th. Then after the salary negotiations, his second letter said January 11th. Effective dates are pretty arbitrary so it will be whenever we can get there. Probably around the New Year though.
What will Sam be doing?
He will be a Compliance Analyst. He will be working closely with the HR, management, and legal teams for the United States. He will help ensure that all actions taken by company representatives are in compliance with company policy and state and federal laws. He will no longer have to fire people's daddies though! He won't be customer-facing at all. It should be much less stressful.
Have you told your Texas friends you are moving back?
Well, no. I have told two friends there that we are moving to Houston but one of them is a friend from Utah who now lives in Spring and another is a friend from Ithaca who lives in Richmond. I have not kept in touch with any of my Sugar Land friends and since we will not be living in the same area, I don't think we will overlap very often.
How long will you be there?
Forever. That is what I am preparing for and I would be fine with that. We will consider other offers but we are not pursuing any at this time. We are settling down in Houston.
The weather! You lucky dogs.
Not a question, but this is a common response and I cannot contain the exclamation points when I think about it! May I be able to soak up the beautiful sunshine and never complain about being cold again!
Does this mean you will have another baby?
If we did, we would name him/her Nunya. I do hope to buy a minivan though which will basically be my baby.
Is Alex going to stay in preschool or go into kindergarten?
That's an important question. Alex missed the kindergarten cutoff in North Dakota of July 31st by one day. However, the Texas cutoff is September 1st. So if I do not put Alex in kindergarten, I will be making the decision to hold him back. That decision is a weighty one, and I need to think about it a lot more. However, I need to think quickly.
I have to wrap this up with a few thoughts about Williston:
Williston will always hold a very special place in my heart. The turnover here will help me calm the ache to return; as my friends move away, I can visit them in their new cities where hopefully the temperatures are meant for people and not polar bears.
I will miss living right next to a small airport, running into friends at every turn, my workout clan, and bombshell summers that I want to passionately caress. I will really miss how I feel here. Like Williston is my town. I helped build it into what it is for me. No one handed me my life here; I made it myself. I feel like I was a real part of Williston, not just a resident. I witnessed a transformation, not only of the city but in others and myself.
Moving so often gives me the ability to mark my life by location. For example, "Alex started walking when we lived in Pennsylvania." Williston contains so many of those moments and I am sure it will never be too far from my heart and mind.
I will not miss the ice, frigid winds, and suffocating exhaust. But even with that, I find myself not counting Williston out of our future. Maybe we will move back one day. And coming from someone who despises being even a tiny bit cold, that shows a lot of love for this little boomtown.


Olivia said...

Yes, I cried. I love you. That is all!

Geevz said...

What exciting changes! Best of luck!

Paxton said...

Hooray for warmer temperatures! I still remember your awesome advice about keeping a cooler in the back of your car for ice cream and milk when shopping!
I hope this move is fast and smooth (as no move ever is)

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