The Secret to Making a New Place Home
We drove away from our home in Mississippi 3 weeks ago. It had been our home for less than 2 years and it was a full 12 hours away from our family, but there were tears in my eyes as we pulled away. It had been home.
When you move a lot it is easy to stay withdrawn. I think we naturally feel the urge to protect our hearts. Saying goodbye to people and things you are attached to is hard. We don't want to feel that pain so if we know it is only temporary there is a natural inclination to hole up and get through it. I urge you not to do this!
Now we are getting settled in our fifth city. It is the fourth for our kids and it is hard. Moving is hard. Being somewhere new where everyone is a stranger and you don't know where to find the really good pizza is hard. Getting lost on a daily basis is hard. Missing people is hard.
So why do it?
Why get attached to people?
Why fall in love with a new city?
Because it is worth it and if you know the secret anything is possible.
My husband and I were both born in Milwaukee, WI two blocks apart about a mile from Lake Michigan.
*where our parents live and dear old friends
*a city filled with things to do and great places to eat
*situated along the huge Lake Michigan that I still miss every single day.
*home to the world's largest outdoor music festival (Summerfest) and the world's largest Irish fest (aptly named Irish Fest).
*proud of its beer
*home to the stunning Burke Brise Soleil at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
*amazing to visit in the summer.
Milwaukee is where I took my first steps, fell in love, and enjoyed childhood. A part of me will always think of Milwaukee as home. First homes never truly leave you.
At 18, we both moved to the Twin Cities to go to college and ended up staying for 11 years. It is where we both graduated from college, where we had our first apartment together, and where our kids were born. The Twin Cities are made up of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and we had the pleasure of living in both.
The Twin Cities...
*Feel even more urban, although together they are smaller than Milwaukee.
*Are home to amazing restaurants, theater, and the best ice cream I have eaten to date.
*Have smaller lakes that are delightful for walking, beaching, and boating.
*Have great pride in their ability to withstand terrible winters.
*Have darling neighborhoods and quirky areas. Something for everyone.
*Still holds some of our favorite people.
The Twin Cities are where I learned to be a teacher, got engaged and started life as a married woman. The Twin Cities are also where I survived infertility treatment and gave birth to my beautiful babies. The ups and downs that go with all of that and the dear friends that supported me and celebrated with me are irreplaceable.
Shortly after our children were born, we moved back to Wisconsin but to a small town in the middle of the state. Baraboo is where I learned that I can learn to love anywhere because I truly hated it at first. I hated the isolation. I hated the lack of Target. I hated getting lost on farm roads. But somewhere along the way, this too became home.
*is the home of Devil's Lake State Park, one of my favorite places on earth.
*is surrounded by farms and winding roads that I learned to love the peacefulness of driving.
*is near the Dells which holds more character and contrast than one can really explain.
*is the birthplace of the Ringling Bros Circus.
*is home to my favorite librarian, other sweet friends and the best yoga teacher I have ever encountered.
Here I learned how to be a mom and watched my kids take their first steps. Here I learned how to make mama friends and live in a small town (which involves lots of ordering online). Here I learned the joy of exploring a new area. Here I rediscovered my love of libraries, especially with kids in tow.
When my husband came home and told me he had been offered a position in Mississippi I honestly wasn't sure what to think. Northerners tend to have an attitude about the South and I'm sure it had influenced my perception. However, I had learned from living in Wisconsin and Minnesota (rival states in many ways) that perceptions are almost always wrong.
*is the most family friendly place we have lived.
*has almost perfect weather year round (if you don't mind some heat).
*is driving distance to the Gulf of Mexico.
*is surrounded by fascinating cities and states I'm glad I got to visit.
*is so much greener than I ever imagined.
Mississippi is where I learned about the South and a whole different perspective on life, where I saw more new states than any other place we had lived to date, where I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis and where I met some of the nicest people I have ever known.
In the middle of May we arrived at our new home in Brooklyn. It is smaller than our old one and the sounds outside are definitely not the chirping birds from my old backyard. My kids aren't sure what to think or how to act and I haven't found a good pizza place. But that's okay.
I don't know what we're going to love about life here or who we're are going to meet. It's a little scary to be sure, but it will be okay because I know a secret.
I know that every place has wonderful people who will make you laugh and help you when you want to cry.
I know that every place has fun things to do and new things to discover.
I know that every place has good things and bad things.
I know that every place can be a home.
I know that I just have to walk outside and start exploring.
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