This month- August 2010, marks the first summer in 3 years that I’m not moving. It also represents the first time in 8 years that I have actually stayed in the same state for over two years. This month we celebrate our third year here in KC. I’ve never stayed anywhere that long since college. It kinda makes a girl nostalgic.
After college when I moved to Panama to teach I had no idea that I would end up where I am today. Thus…it’s time for a trip down memory lane- time for most of you to click away from this page for fear of boredom, but some should stay in case there’s a shout out from yours truly.
I still remember heading to school for my first real teaching job in Panama- in a flowered bandana and rolled up khakis. My new friend Jess called me granola girl (not to my face) and we insta-bonded…mostly because I was cutting her large multi-grade class in half. I miss the simplicity of that life…a community that thrived on one another…wine and cheese nights with Triki…and fresh tropical fruit smoothies from the ghetto smoothie joint. I would do anything to transport the “Chinese market”- a small, local fresh fruit and veggie stand down the road from my apartment, to Missouri. However, I don’t miss the sweltering sauna called wet season or the cockroaches jumping from dark places within our home…hmm surprising?
Now, during many summers before and after college, I worked at a christian family camp in Cannon Beach, Oregon- one of the most beautiful coastlines in the US. I got to live a block from the ocean and work with kiddos and people my age all summer long. I miss Bruce’s Candy Kitchen, where you can watch them pull fresh saltwater taffy through the window and what I wouldn’t do for a long walk to Haystack Rock with coffee in hand. It’s such a peaceful fun place that holds such amazing memories with incredible people…it’s also where I learned to experiment with smore toppings and got to transform weekly into a clown.
Sadly, my 9 month stay in California only lessened my desire to ever be a California girl. I do miss some special people there- one in particular being Marci- a parent (of one of the first graders) turned friend who brought me Starbucks lattes every week. She knew how to brighten up my days…and so did In-n-Out burger. The best thing about being in Cali was that I was close enough for my little sister to visit from her college several times- so we have lots of fun memories of San Fran, Lake Tahoe, Thanksgiving alone…those were precious times.
My all time favorite move was New Jersey. Having only ever seen the east coast once before moving my life out there, I was surprisingly excited to give up my “west coast” status. It took awhile to re-orient my inner compass to not automatically equate the direction west with ocean. Living a block from the Jersey shore with Jilly was by far my favorite place to call home. Having such a great group of friends and daily trips to the beach definitely made the long grueling trek x-country worth it…and of course, it’s where I fell in love and married my favorite roommate of all- Bart. I was on roomie number 21 by the time he came along- since moving away from home at age 18, and I’d like to think all those girls taught me how to be the best roomie possible…they all played a part in preparing me for living with my super clean, neat freak (in a good way) husband. Back to Nj tho, I miss being able to strap my beach chair onto my back, complete with a towel and a good book, grab a iced coffee from Dunkin donuts and waste the day away at the water’s edge. I miss the crazy kiddos at Tower Hill and the best boss I’ve ever had- Joe Cole. And I miss Wegmans trips with Djer.
When I travel anywhere now, it still doesn’t feel right to answer the question “where are you from?” with “Missouri”. I often find myself saying Kansas City, because somehow I think that sounds cooler. But inevitably I try to throw in my true roots…Seattle, Washington. Okay, and for those of you Port Angelites…most of the rest of the US and world doesn’t know that life exists northwest of Seattle…so I just round up to the nearest big city. Plus it’s a nice conversation starter, since people always comment about how they want to travel to Seattle, right after they ask if it really does rain all the time. I’m proud of my roots… because there really is no place like home.
So, three years and counting here in Missouri with my 22nd roomie…and 23rd and 24th if you count brinks and josiah. I don’t know how long we’ll call this place home, but I do thank God for every place He’s led me to rest my head. And this summer, I’ll revel in the beautiful reality of not having to pack up everything I own…phew.