Home is a funny concept for me right now.
Rick and I just moved out of the little Queenslander we called home for almost two years. It was stressful to move out and into a spare room in our friend’s apartment, but we knew it would allow us to live a more liberated existence in our last days in Australia. I have to admit that it’s hard to say goodbye to a place like that, where we lived together for the first time and decided to share our lives together. It housed us in a transformative period and will always be the spot where we laughed at our free pink couches while snuggling together for warmth in the cold Australian mornings, or where we bought our first surfboards, our first joint insurance policies, and our first washing machine. For me, it will always be associated with the immense growth I experienced as I truly let go of my past relationship and let Rick in, and for him it was the place where he decided to try a different path in life. Of course, it will also always be the home where the 4 am sunrises woke us up and the bird’s relentless squawk was a soundtrack to our lives; where the spiders were the size of your hand and the possum invasions seemed constantly imminent. It was an adventure, and we’ll definitely miss our little home.
But, now home is an evolving thing. I say this as I sit on my parent’s couch in their great room, listening to Lake Michigan and the breeze through the trees. The summer lushness, the smells of dirt and lake, and the fecundity of the ravines that surround me are home and probably always will be. I missed these things down there, where the eucalypts dominate the nasal palate and the soil smells of foreignness.
Last night, my aunts threw a couple’s shower for Rick and me. His parents flew in and all the faces and spirits that shaped my childhood showed up for a cocktail, a hug, and a chance to express their good wishes. I can’t imagine feeling more loved than after a night like that. I barely saw Rick – hell I barely even ate – all I did was soak in the exuberance of a gorgeous Midwestern summer’s evening, a bonfire, and the love of a community that has been there with me from before I could remember. And when I’d catch his eye across the crowd, up to his neck in my relatives and family friends, I’d see the man that I will be spending the rest of my life with, looking strong, confident, engaged, and sexy as he recalled the names and histories of my convoluted family and charmed them as he has charmed me since the beginning. I am so proud to be with him and excited for our future.
Being immersed in the community that made my home as I grew up, and sharing it with the man who will be my home going forward, I can’t help but think a lot about what home is to me. For years I felt a bit unmoored, and it wasn’t until finding Rick and a sense of grounding that I realized it. As we look forward to where we’ll go after we move home, I recognize, as I have slowly learned over the last two years, that home is your community plus your environment. I’ve lived in some beautiful places and I’ve lived among friends, but without both there will always be something missing. Rick and I are weighing our options – whether to be city dwellers or do what we both are inclined to do and move off into the country somewhere. Surrounded, as I was last night, I recall that people make a huge difference and that wherever we end up, we better have some people around us who we love.
The jetlag is gaining a hold on my brain and the flow of my words is beginning to gel up. I better get to sleep. Goodnight friends. We can’t wait to make our home amongst you.