Moving days are coming
For the past four years, I have been expecting to move away. My hopes have wandered all over the country as my husband interviewed for teaching jobs at universities and colleges. You may be able to imagine how thrilled I was–my shock and joy, but not without some wariness (what if they changed their minds?)–when this February, my husband got that elusive job offer. We have been excitedly preparing for the move from southern California to southern Connecticut ever since.
But. There looms a sort of sadness, a kind of regret about leaving this home. It’s understandable as we have lived here for 8 years. I feel very comfortable. I know where things are. I still haven’t gone places and done things in the area that I heard were super cool. I have close, wonderful friends. My children, my husband, all of us have wonderful friends. And though we’ve said goodbye to good friends every summer, one of the hazards of living in the graduate student community, we have never had to say goodbye to everyone. Suddenly I’m not sure I want to to move anymore. I was desperate to have a good reason to leave this place that I knew would be only temporary. And now that it’s happening, everything has shifted. Part of me (about 51%) doesn’t want to go.
I have shifted from thinking about all the exciting things there will be to discover in our new home to all the unknowns that scare me. I have shifted from my constant stream of mental criticism of the Orange County lifestyle to savoring the weather and feeling nostalgic about the short drive to the beach even though I never felt like I owned it the way I did with familiar drives in my Utah home. Here, I have always felt more like a visitor than a resident–not ever quite at home (the general atmosphere is rather vacation-like). I’ve never felt like a true Californian, but now I’m afraid I will only feel like an outsider in our next place.
My only other big move as an adult was from Utah to here. We were moving away from our families, but we had a couple of friends to look up. This time, I absolutely don’t know anyone out in Connecticut–no family or friends to speak of (although I did meet one of my future neighbors on a short trip to our new place a couple of weeks ago). Naturally, I am nervous. I tend to think a lot about place, belonging, and how geography affects my sense of self. I want to make this work. So I am asking those of you who have moved recently or frequently–and anyone else–for advice. What do you do to feel part of new places? How do you settle in and make it your home? Is there a specific geographical place where you feel is your home and is that place where you live now? If not, how do you deal with feeling displaced?
Also, is there anyone out there living in Connecticut who wants to be my friend?