Home x2

I know I’ve written on this topic before, but I realize that, two-plus years in, I am still very much learning how to navigate the tango of having two places I whole-heartedly call “home.” I am the first to admit I am still figuring out how to gracefully move through the steps of this dance—of taking the now-me back to the place where the then-me lived for so much of her life.

Home home can be complicated. So much of it is cozy and comfortable and indulgent and love-filled (reunions galore!), and I am so grateful to have “problems” like not knowing how to fit in quality time with so many people there whom I love. Even so, it’s a (sometimes draining) juggling act, especially for someone who hates to ever feel as though they’re letting anyone down.

Home can also sneak-attack upon you a lot of old “stuff.” It’s frighteningly easy to fall back into old patterns, old roles. It’s all so familiar, sometimes I swear I could hop on the orange line back to my N Street apartment; for fleeting moments, I forget I have built an entire life out here waiting for my return. It’s odd. I see things with new eyes—a bit differently now, and I can relate to certain things/mentalities/customs/etc. even less than I could two years back.

Plus, with each visit, it is inevitable that I realize some people I love so much are thriving and doing wonderfully. Others are working through rocky patches, going through tough transitions, slightly floundering…. I know that this is normal. This is life. But I prefer when all is peachy-keen. (I am a Pisces, after all:)) And even though I know logically that my physical distance makes no-to-little difference on everyone’s current happiness, it is hard to feel removed from it…from them. At times, I feel guilty for being so dang far.

That said, parts of this past visit were really, really great, and I’ll try to post some of those photos soon!

But tonight, I’m cozily tucked into my apartment, which is warmly lit by the teeny-tiny, fake alpine tree I bought today at Fred Meyer and is making me very, very happy. (The little things!)

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I am really super excited to have my parents heading out here in only two weeks, and I am content after a day filled with some of my ideal neighborhood staples (a warm welcome back from my yoga community, pho with one of my Seattle BFFs, a stroll through the Sunday Fremont Fair). Today, I began to feel much more settled in.

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Last night I saw a concert in an amazing setting, St. Mark’s Cathedral perched on Capitol Hill high above the lake dotted with twinkling boats. It was chilly in the church, and at first, I was feeling a bit disoriented and jet-lagged and “off.” But overall, the night was really special; I heard some stunning voices echoing throughout this beautiful space, as I sat sandwiched between some of my most favorite Seattle people.

And I thought, “Yes. This is a good, good home.”

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Home 1 + Home 2

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I sit here, back in my compact, quiet apartment. Tonight I am admittedly needing to fill the empty space with music, as I attempt to relish the tranquility and the unfamiliar solitude. (It’s working, slowly…) I’m unpacking gifts, stacking my shelves with shortbread wafers and chocolate Santas… fastening holiday cards of my friends’ adorable kiddos to the fridge with new funky magnets. I’m sipping a cuppa and catching up on my favorite blogs–ones I haven’t opened for weeks (and, man, did that feel good). I’m slowly easing my way back in.

The first night back, I always feel a bit fragile, a bit disoriented. I miss the hustle and bustle of my parents’ house, the copious tins of cookies, the boxes of teas, the glow of the Christmas tree, the presence of those people and those voices, that cozy warmth that can only be found, it seems, in that secure place we call home. Here, I’m happy to be back; I really am. (I smiled to myself at the airport earlier, as The Head and The Heart played overhead at baggage claim, and outdoorsy-clad folks around me, who seem to smile easily, drank coffee drinks from recyclable cups.)

But my heart hasn’t quite made the journey west with me yet. It’ll happen soon; I know that. Tonight, though, I’m still slightly suspended between the two worlds–my two homes.

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So for now, I’ll hold onto the magic of the season a wee bit longer. Shortly, I’ll fall into bed exhausted (I’m going googley-eyed as I type this, I’m afraid….), feeling immense gratitude for the gift of togetherness I enjoyed these past weeks with my wonderful family and friends back east. It was a fabulous Christmas. A really, really good one.

I hope your holiday seasons have been lovely, too. 🙂

In between

When I first arrived in DC two weeks ago, I was half still here in Seattle/half there, happy happy happy to be home. Slowly, gradually, I morphed into being fully present there in the DC/VA scene, remembering the rhythm of that life and the rhythm of those people.

I even slid back into my old shoes, literally, finding myself (Twilight Zone-style) sitting at those very desks and typing on those very computers where I once worked for five years of my life. That temporary re-enactment was sometimes good, often stressful, mostly surreal and, above all, wonderful confirmation that I made the leap/change at the exact moment I should have. I am grateful to have been given that unexpected perspective. That gentle reassurance.

After a week of hard work, whirlwind social visits and too little sleep, I allowed myself to totally decompress for the second week I was home. I was lazy and indulgent. I fell back into old routines and old behaviors (admittedly, not all ones I’m 100% proud of…why does that inevitably happen? It frustrates me to no end.). I ate well and slept soundly and relished time with my beloved parents and friends (those who actually still live there, that is…I feel such a void when I walk around those city streets and remember the mass exodus that befell our tightly-knit crew this past spring/summer. It still makes my head spin, to be honest. ).

All last week, I was busy visiting and being visited. I was thrilled to see some people I care about thriving and sad/concerned to see others struggling. The only thing constant in life is change.

Now I am back in Seattle–happy to be here, but of course, missing those from home. Half here, half there.

Two homes. A blessing and a curse, at times.

I was greeted last night with open arms (and heaps of Thai noodles), and today I’m being productive and indulgent back in the coffee shop zone that now feels so familiar to me. Mostly, it feels really good to be here.