This post is part of #the100dayproject that encourages creatives to do an action every day for 100 days. I've chosen to write an article or blog post every day. Previous posts for this project can be found here.
Today marks five years since I made Marfa my home. Five years since I hopped off the Amtrak train in Alpine. Five years since I packed as much as I could in two suitcases, two bags and a backpack for my summer internship with Marfa Public Radio. I had no idea what I was in for.
I applied for the internship because I was getting ready to (finally) graduate from Texas State University with a journalism degree after dropping out. I walked the stage at 30 years old and as the first person get a college degree in my dad's family. I knew I was done with Austin. After years of reporting on the local music scene, I was ready to move on. I just didn't know where I would go next.
Dan Schumacher, the faculty adviser at the college radio station, KTSW, forwarded me an email about an internship at Marfa Public Radio. I had heard of Marfa through my friends' Instagram feeds but nothing more. To me, it was the ticket I needed to leave Austin. I knew once I left, that was it.
I emailed my application right before I got dressed for graduation and heard back that they were interested on my 31st birthday. I got a phone call days later to confirm the internship and I decided to move to Marfa. However, once I hung up, I had an email in my inbox from SXSW wanting to schedule an interview for an internship.
SXSW was always a part of my life reporting in Austin. I've covered it in an official and unofficial capacity. While the internship was unpaid, I was willing to meet with them to learn more about it. I liked what it entailed, including a platinum badge, so I took it.
It meant that I had to figure out what to do about my Marfa Public Radio internship though. Should I stay in Austin for SXSW or should I go to Marfa? I never thought my life would become a Clash song.
Luck would have it that I got to do both. A month after I finished my SXSW internship (which turned into one of my many jobs), I hopped on the train and moved to Marfa. Then-General Manager Tom Michael and News Director Rachel Lindley picked me up and brought me to Marfa.
CineMarfa was wrapping up and Tom suggested I check out the local films screenings that day. My first impression of living in Marfa came from watching a short film by David Fenster about local Lineaus Lorette.
Marfa was supposed to be a four month stint. I would do this internship and move on to the next adventure. But halfway through it, I got a job at the Big Bend Sentinel newspaper, balancing both publications until my time at the radio station came to an end.
It blows my mind to think how different the girl writing this now is so much different than that girl who got off the train five years ago. It was my first time leaving the nest and it was a hard adjustment. My intern housing didn't have internet and T-Mobile didn't have service yet, so I spent too many nights with my thoughts. I was homesick. I read a lot of library books that summer (as Taylor Wilkins joked/warned me I would do). I attended as many community events as I could because after all I was a journalist and needed to learn about the place and the people I covered.
Living here without my family at arms reach forced me to become a functional adult (for the most part).
I became a dog mom!
I bought a car!
I own a business!
Most of this wouldn't have happened if I didn't force myself to get over my pride and out of my comfort zone to ask for help from this amazing community.
There are times when I need to get off the island and that's when I see my family in Austin, but it's been an ongoing struggle trying to decide when and where I'll head next. I know I'll never return to Austin, but I'm still attached to Marfa. My experiences here far outpace my experiences outside of Marfa. A part of me can't fathom leaving the sunsets, this small town pace or the amazing events I get to attend. Most of all, I can't imagine leaving my friends.
We're like a family. There are days when I can't stand to see anyone, but I had a dream once that I was leaving Marfa. I cried in that dream, not because I was leaving the town, but because I was leaving this family behind.
And I'm not ready to do that just yet.