Here’s the thing about home

Sometime last year I sat down and counted up all the times I had moved since I graduated high school. The grand total was thirteen and since then we can add to that moving from one apartment to another (directly next door – my new bedroom looks right into my old kitchen), moving to Indianapolis for five weeks, and then moving back to the DR, giving us a grand grand total of 16 moves in the past 6 years.

Bananas.

The thing is, though, I like to move. I like house hunting and packing up my stuff and unpacking it again somewhere new. I like dreaming about how I am going to decorate and then moving before I get the chance. I like seeing my old, beloved things in a new environment. I like showing off my new house or apartment and figuring out the particulars. I like that I had a very efficient system for packing up everything I owned (including my beta fish, Bella) into my ’97 Geo Prism. It was like a 3D jigsaw puzzle of suitcases, crates, a laundry basket, and a microwave box (for the books, of course).

Moving to the Dominican Republic was hard and different. This time I didn’t have a whole car to fill, but rather two suitcases and a duffel bag. Nuts. Can you imagine fitting your whole life into two suitcases and a duffel bag? Now I look around my room and wonder, Where did all this crap come from?” Turns out I’m excellent at accumulating a lot of stuff in a short amount of time because there is no way in h-e-double hockey sticks that all of the stuff in my bedroom today could fit into two suitcases and a duffel bag.

During those years of constant movement I was always looking forward to the next thing. I looked forward to working at a church in Maryland for two summers in a row. I looked forward to living in a bigger dorm room, then to moving off-campus, then to moving to Springfield. I looked forward to student teaching overseas and school breaks and graduation. I looked forward to YouthWorks and moving to the Dominican Republic to finally be a “real teacher.” (You know what? It wasn’t too long after I became a “real teacher” and a “real missionary” that I realized I had already been a teacher and a missionary for a long time.) Now I’m here with nothing really to look forward to. It’s strange.

Now, it’s like I’m home. And that thought both comforts me and freaks me out. The fact that I own so many items that would never fit inside a ’97 Geo Prism makes me feel secure and also claustrophobically tied down. I mean, today I bought a big girl bed, you guys. A real live queen size bed that like, a real live adult would own. And it’s sitting in my room with the dresser, desk, and bookshelf that I also own. In this, my apartment, you could also find two couches, a refrigerator, and a washing machine, all of which I own. (Actually, the couches and the washing machine are partly owned by my roommate from last year, Nicole, but I have plans to buy my share from her when she comes back to the DR in January – just so you know.) It’s like I actually am a real live big girl, an adult!

Can you believe it?

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Every time I call my new bed a “big girl bed” I think about Michael Bluth telling me how the mere fact that I call in that shows how I’m not ready for it.

I like that there are a lot of things I take care of on my own. I like having a home and we all know I really like my stuff and my cat. However, without having the next big thing to look forward to, I find myself feeling a little lost. Without purpose. Looking at a lame-o, boring future, filled with the same routine over and over again. I think the realization of all of these things, the coming back to the same job and the same apartment (at least the same apartment building) for the second year in a row, the already thinking about next year, the dreaming about buying a house, have got me feeling “toned down.” (My friend came up to me after church last night and asked if I was alright. She said I seemed “toned down” which was the perfect way to describe how I had been feeling for a week or so.)

I think all of these things together are also what feed my desperate longing for a husband. Dating someone and planning a wedding and getting married and finding a house and all that jazz would certainly be as exciting, if not more so, than a summer in Maryland! (Guys, I think that finding the man of my dreams and getting to marry him and execute the wedding I have been planning for a year would totally be more exciting than a summer in Maryland. Obviously. Although we did have some good times in downtown DC in the middle of the night…)

I don’t really have any profound way to wrap these things up. I’m not sure that’s necessary. Here are the facts:

1. I consider myself an adult now and while I am 100% okay with it there is just a little part of me that mourns the fact that I can no longer, at a moment’s notice, fill my car with a bunch of crap and drive away to live somewhere for a few weeks.

2. I can accumulate stuff in surprising amounts of time with surprisingly small amounts of money. (Bonus fact: Another thing I liked about moving so much was that I could get rid of everything and start over again after I had moved. That’s why I always buy such cheap stuff.)

3. Even though at the end of the summer I told everyone who asked that I was not going to do YouthWorks again despite my love for everything YouthWorks (Hey, have you heard of YouthWorks? It’s not too early to start thinking about a summer job for 2014!), lately I’ve been daydreaming about taking off the last month of school in order to do another full YouthWorks summer. It’s totally not gonna happen (probably) because it would not be the responsible choice.

4. Maybe I’m not an adult yet, but am actually in this weird limbo time between college kid and “ma’am.”

When did you start feeling like an adult? What do you think it takes to become an adult?

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