“Dorothy… You’re Not In Kansas Anymore”

My first alarm sounds at 5:57 am. Bleary eyed I press snooze before another one goes off at 6, then 6:05. I always set multiple alarms on two phones because I kind of have a problem getting up. I mean the early wake up call is jarring to anyone who didn’t come home from work until after midnight. And the anticipated sleep deprivation subconsciously jacked up my dreams.

It’s Tuesday and it’s the start of my unexpected three day “weekend.” So I’m headed home to Maryland. I made the decision and bought my train ticket less than twenty-four hours before, text a few friends and family and spent about twenty minutes total between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning packing a duffle bag. THIS is my new reality.

I didn’t just get a new job in Philadelphia, I got a new life!

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All I’ve ever wanted was to be able to tell people’s stories as a journalist, get paid a fair wage that allowed me to not only pay bills but also enjoy life while being close to family. For so long I thought that meant working at a station in D.C. Despite relentless efforts D.C. never called, Philadelphia did and I suddenly realized THIS has been my dream all along. When I was 17 years old and made a decision to become a journalist THIS is the very opportunity I was praying for. It’s the reason why I incurred more expenses to attend grad school. It’s the reason why I accepted an $18,000 a year job in Macon, GA where I met Jesus as my sanity was pushed to the ultimate limit. It’s why I packed up every two years and moved my life to places where I hardly knew a soul. It’s why I kept going after failing over and over and over again.

So where were the trumpets? Why wasn’t “Movin’ on Up” playing while I was unpacking my boxes? Why wasn’t I blasting “Happy” while shimmying down South Street to grab a bite at Whole Foods?

Change is hard, even if it’s the very change you’ve used to justify so many decisions up until this moment. I arrived at NBC 10 right after the Pope’s visit and during what’s being described as a “very interesting time.”

Sometimes moving, especially in news, feels like you’re dropped in an episode of the show the Amazing Race. You show up to a place that’s completely unfamiliar. You get clues that lead you to challenges that help you reach your goal. But while you’re there, you can’t possibly take into account the nuances of the environment… like the traffic. My commute could take anywhere from twenty to forty minutes, not because of an accident, just because everyone and their mother may decide to go the same direction at the same time while honking and cutting you off in the process. At work there are just so many people, so many names to remember, not to mention titles I’ve never heard of in my life that don’t always explain their job functions. Let’s not forget about the equipment and systems that are new to me.

By day two I was on the air. By day five I was on the street talking about the Eagles and fantasy football, topics at the time I knew little about. After long days of trying to figure out who is who and how to fulfill my responsibility I would come home to boxes.

This was going to be a process!

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But every single time when things seemed too overwhelming, there was a glimmer of familiarity. My high school best friend invites me over for a “Welcome to Philly” dinner. I run into a college friend randomly at the grocery store who I didn’t even know lived in the city. Tenikka, one of my best friends who I haven’t hung out with in years, is in town and has time for dinner. Marcus, who lives in Baltimore, has a random Tuesday off, gives me a call and shows up within a few hours. My parents come and help me get my place together. My General Manager, News Director and co-workers stop by my desk just to check in and see how things are going. I get an unexpected three day weekend and I can very easily pack up and go home! Things are slowly but surely coming together.

In the last six weeks since leaving Nashville the word comfort zone has often replayed in my mind. To be honest my day-to-day in Nashville started to require little to no effort. I know nothing grows in those spaces.

Contrary to popular belief I didn’t accept this position because of the proximity to my family, although it’s the biggest perk. I’m here in Philadelphia for the challenge. I signed up to be stretched. I’m here to get to the next level in my development, not just as a journalist but as a person. For me a new job opportunity was the catalyst.

As I approach week five on the job I’ve switched schedules, found a bearable route to work and am starting to get an overall rhythm. I’ve also started to look around and take in so much of the beauty, from the historic buildings downtown to the beaches on the Jersey shore.

My theme music is coming back ya’ll!

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So when someone asks me, “how is it going,” my answer will be “great!” Because dreams are not necessarily easy or comfortable. I’m not naive. This is a fickle business and I don’t know what the future holds. What I’m sure of is this transition has deepened my faith, revealed even more true friendships and pushed me in ways I needed. No matter how long this opportunity lasts I’m already better because of it!

Thanks for reading, caring and cheering me on! In future posts I hope to bring you along as I explore my new digs!




  1. Neysa
    November 2, 2015

    I love this post. I love you! This came right on time. Be blessed my friend.

    • admindreatvadmin
      November 2, 2015

      I love you!!!! Thanks for being you!

  2. Annisa Cline-Thomas
    November 6, 2015

    You are an amazing young lady Aundrea. Keep hope alive. It will all wrap up into a best seller one day. I pray to live & see it happen. Love you lots???

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