Thursday, May 13, 2010

The deep feeling of home

Since we moved up here we have already made the beautiful drive between the Cities and Grand Marais two times. Every time we come over the hill and into Duluth, on our way north I get the same feeling in my stomach that I only get with two other cities. Flying up the gorge to the Portland Airport, any time I see the Manhattan skyline (from above or viewed distantly from Jersey), and now as I crest the hill into Duluth and get the first glimpse of Lake Superior…I feel like I’ve come home!

I think I probably couldn’t pick three different majestic views to summon this awe that comes from the core of my being but they all do it. The incredible peaks surrounding Portland, the majestic skyline of Manhattan as seen from afar, the enormity of Lake Superior stretched out before me with no end in sight…I guess maybe they all put me in my place in one way or another; make me realize how small I am and how much there is to remain in awe of. I just love that feeling.

I think I particularly love Duluth because the feeling of coming home is two-fold. When I was a little girl the town I grew up in was in a valley just south of Portland. We would often end up coming home from some adventure and be driving down the hill into Newberg late at night. Every time we began to crest the hill and turn the corner for our descent into town my nephews and I would play the same game… the winner was the person to triumphantly call out “I see the lights of Newberg” first.

Our small town grew as we did and it was incredible how it seemed every year the lights of Newberg were finding us up on the hill sooner and sooner. I still can’t drive into my town without thinking “I see the lights of Newberg”. It’s how we knew we were home, safe in our little valley cocoon. I feel so blessed to be back in a place that feels similar to that cocoon.

I also feel really lucky to be beginning to build a feeling of home and belonging for E. I’ve been really hoping that we made the right decision in coming here. That in 14 years she says jokingly, rather than hatefully, “I could have grown up in Manhattan and you brought me here.” These are the memories and feelings that give me hope that this was the right thing.

I feel good about E building her base in a place that can be hers, building her own history in a place filled with beauty and discovery rather than fitting into a mold history has dictated in an overpowering mecca.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

not so much

So I've been thinking a lot lately, in my experience this is something that comes naturally with major life changes...
The weird part, or weird for me anyway is that I have no desire to talk about what I've been thinking about. I especially have no desire to talk about work, at all!
I just walked away from my career of 13 years, a very hard move, a very disappointing leaving experience. Everyone wants to know about it, but I don't want to tell, I don't want to vent, or share or commiserate. I just want to know it's over.
I'm starting a new job, something exciting and totally different. But, I don't want to theorize, ask for more info than I've been given, or even enthuse (is that a word? you know what I mean right...) about the job.
I'm excited to go to work on Monday and start a new job but I'm sort of hoping this bizarre indifference means this job will not be my life like my job always has been. I'm counting on this as a sign that I'm ready to be defined by something other than my work.
I think I may also be ready to be defined by something other than my child. Being E's mama is the best thing I've ever been but I think I may need something more. This will definitely take some figuring but I'm ready.
So far I'm thinking... sewing, cookie and bread baking, I may cook a few dinners, I think I may want to run again (sometimes), hiking, and whatever else comes my way!
This list is definitely to be continued.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In the Beginning

One thing has always been consistent in my life... well my life ever since it was my own anyway. I've been off on adventures. Small adventures, not nearly enough trips to foreign countries or far reaching lands, but PLENTY of moving around.
Tons of, "well...I'm not sure this is the right place for us", lots of "yes we really like it here but"....
To help you understand I'll give you a brief history of the last ten (okay maybe it's been closer to twelve) years.
I graduated from college just outside Boston, moved to Indiana for a job (worst decision I ever made), left Indiana after 6 months, moved home to Portland (OR) to recover, moved back to Boston a year later, got engaged and a year after that moved to Minneapolis, after three years there we decided a change was in order and moved to Phoenix, AZ, after nearly three years in AZ my husband's return to grad school took us to Wisconsin (turns out that was the worst decision we've ever made) after 8 months there he decided to finish school in Manhattan.
I need to interrupt this great flow to tell you, of all the places we've lived we most loved Manhattan. Once you're there it's not actually overwhelming, every area is it's own little neighborhood, you walk everywhere, you see people you know, you can shop at the market for your fresh fruit and veg every day if you want to (at least if you live near Chelsea Market like we did). It was great, we didn't really want to leave...
But then this great job came along, one we couldn't turn down, a great fit for our whole family.
We've been living in Center City Philadelphia for two years now, I'd be lying if I didn't tell you it's had it's ups and downs... we love the area, we've made amazing friends, we've begun to raise our daughter here, our jobs have been heartbreakingly hard, and our marriage has been stressed beyond all previous bounds.
Which has led us to the conclusion that yet one more change is necessary. The scary thing is that we're making a big change on a lot of levels.

For about the past seven years my husband and I have had our eye on this small town in Northern Minnesota, just before we were married his family bought a vacation home there and we fell in love with the town. We never go for short visits when we go it's for two weeks, or more if we can manage it, at a time. We hike up waterfalls, slide down waterfalls, shovel amazing amounts of snow out of the driveway, cross country ski, snow shoe, we even had to hitch hike into town once when our car broke down in the middle of winter.
We've thought and thought about moving here but it never seemed feasible, after all we just spent 10 years learning that we are city people, city is one place that works well for both of us... or maybe not...
So we're jumping in feet first. If you know us at all it's not easy to tell that I am the one the city REALLY works for, I love knowing everything is right outside my door, I love walking everywhere, I love knowing the people I pass on the sidewalk and just having people drop in because they were walking by or in the area, I've worked in corporate america, about as corporate as it can get, for 13 years. What would I possibly do in this small town?
Then I uttered the fatal last words "Sure honey, you find me a job and I'll move to Grand Marais". Sure enough the next day there was an ad for a new Retail Manager position opening up.
I got the job and the rest is history, my daughter and I leave on our new adventure this Monday and my husband will join us at the end of the summer.
I'm well aware that this will be a big, interesting, possibly scary, probably hilarious at points adventure. Definitely all the makings of a blog... so here I go.