Last week was so crazy that I am still recovering. The work part was gogogogogo and exhausting but also great. The home part was mentally draining without Kamel but lovely being able to spend time with my family. And the weekend was so incredibly fun it left me with a fun hangover.

Yesterday was really hard. Working and playing and living for a week like a normal person (vs a holiday-ing person) in Seattle made it even more clear to me how badly I want to move back. My family is all there, 2/3 of my best friends (who are truly my family) are there, all of my memories live there, and the vibe in Seattle is just so… lovely. I can’t even really explain it. When I think about Seattle everything sparkles: the water, the trees, the seasons, the skyline. Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle. And yes, it rains and it is cold and it is dark, but there is also snow and the leaves changing color and those sleepy sundays where you can hear the rain outside and you burrow deeper under the comforter. I want it all.

I’ve wanted it all for a long time. All through pregnancy I moaned to Kamel about wanting to go “hooooooome!” I thought that once the baby was born I might be able to make my great escape, but it wasn’t meant to be. Then last week and this last weekend happened and it made it ever more clear that my life is happening in Seattle, and I’m still in the Bay Area… missing it. Being back here makes me sad. Kamel tells me to focus on what is happening now and not to worry about Seattle, that it will happen eventually. But it is really hard to continue to focus on making the best of being here.

I’m sure once we move into our new place things will settle. Once I get some distance between myself and last week things might not ache so much. Maybe. Maybe not. I want to go home. Kamel says home is where we are, but that doesn’t always work. Home is also where the rest of my people are, where we got our deli tray every single Christmas Eve (until that one time there were bugs in the parsley and then…. never again). Home is the same walk along the rocky coast I’ve taken since I was 7 when we moved to the brick house. Follow-The-Leader on the logs washed up on shore. Home is the smell of the sea on foggy days. It’s the hubub of downtown during the holidays. It’s the Catholic schools I grew up in, happy hours with the girls, barbecue chicken on Sunday with my parents, having my kids grow up with the people I want them to see as auntie and uncle, not just there mom’s crazy friends.

I had my 10 year high school reunion on Saturday night. It was spectacular. Most of the people I really wanted to see all came. And only a handful of the people I work hard to never see again were there, but I was very happy to not have to speak to them. Win! There were hugs, and catch-ups, and karaoke, dancing, and drink specials. At one point when I was getting anxious that I should have probably headed back to Kamel and the baby, Maris turned to me and said, “This is NEVER going to happen again! STAY.” Best decision ever. I worried the reunion would be lame but it was so not lame. Looking at a large chunk of my classmates all in one space made me feel like it had only been a month since graduation, and at the same time being a grown up with less drama and a lot of distance from the petty day to day of high school… such a surreal and lovely feeling.

I guess I have never really said, on this blog, I want more than anything to move home. Right now there are no plans because jobs dictate we stay here, but maybe even just putting it out into the universe will cause things to align. Who knows. Like Pip in Great Expectations, it is so much harder to go back home than you would think.

14 thoughts on “Home”

  1. I totally get this. I have it for the Bay Area, and have been trying to figure out a way for my school path to bring me back (best possibility right now- grad school at Davis in 2 years. Not quite Bay, but…). I’ve been in New York for 6 years, and every time I come home to visit, it just seems more and more crazy that I’m not there. Maybe begin a plan, talk to Kamel about a timeline for moving, 2 years, 5 years from now, and figure out what you both need to do careerwise to angle towards that.

  2. Where “home” is has been one of the few real struggles in my relationship, and it’s hard when both parties love different places. Right now life in general has dictated that we move to the city where I grew up, to be near jobs and family and while Bunny loves it here I hate it just as much as I did when I moved away to university and swore never to come back. Toronto for me felt like home, and every time I so much as drive through the city I ache to go back. It’s a hard feeling, and where we live is not an easy compromise to make even when it’s the right choice.

    1. Toronto feels like home to me too. Whenever I round the corner from the 427 to the Gardiner and I can see the city skyline in the distance, my heart melts a little. I now live in a small town where it’s very fashionable to hate “the City”, so I’m always on the defence.

      1. It’s so fashionable to hate Toronto if you live anywhere in Canada BUT Toronto and it drives me nuts. Where we live is a bedroom community of Toronto and people will go on about how people are friendlier here, and there’s more space (I’ll give them that, I do enjoy the yardspace) and living costs are so much less expensive and all these things that are awful about Toronto.

        Except half the population spends three hours of their day every day driving back and forth to Toronto because that’s where the work is. That’s where the culture is. That’s where they go out to lunch at all the amazing little hole in the wall restaurants that make it possible to deal with the overwhelming blandness here. It’s a city where everyone puts so much value into not being Toronto but where life still kind of revolves around Toronto – except no one wants to admit it.

  3. Oh home. This is so hard. I long for going back too…. ” Home is also where the rest of my people are”. We are supposed to move as well at some point. At the same time, we are always there for holidays, and it is always amazing, but I am not sure I would be able to fully adapt after being away for so long. Still I really long to be close to my family and friends on a regular basis (though it is actually mostly family,as a few of my closest friends have also moved away).

  4. Home is such a difficult concept for me. My family immigrated to the US from another country when I was eleven, and I’ve never been back. That used to be home, until we moved. My family has settled in New York, but before they “settled” in their current house (where they have been for about 10 years now), we moved around a lot. We moved to a new apartment every 2 years for about 10 years. And then I went to college before they bought their current place, so I never even lived there, I just visit.

    I try to tell myself that home is where the family is, but whose family? My husband’s family is here in Boston, where we live. His parents live in the same house they bought 35 years ago. So I imagine he has similar kinds of memories that you do with Seattle. I’ve also done my share of moving around in my adult life, and even though we own a place now, I still don’t feel settled. I really WANT to feel settled somewhere, but I think that will only come with time.

  5. Aww, I feel ya. Being in a graduate program, a lot of people here act and feel like this is their “temporary” life…. do their six years and then get to where they REALLY wanna be (either back home or some other part of the country). I’m lucky that I’m only 5 hours from home and 3 hours to my college town (by car, obvs) which still holds many of my friends so I’ve been able to “continue” my life and not feel like everything else is on hold. But a lot of people here feel like they’re on hold until they can get through and back to where they wanna be. (I think there’s a song in that….) Good luck!

  6. This is a super timely post for me, as I just applied somewhat on a whim for a job in Jami’s hometown of Portland, ME. She is beyond excited about the possibility of moving home, while I feel more conflicted (and also entirely unsure that I will get an interview, much less the job). It would mean being physically close to all of Jami’s relatives, as they all still live there, which would be nice (free babysitting! no wasting all vacation time to visit family!) and also stressful (lots of in-law interaction. Jami’s mom drives her crazy after a while. Lots more listening to folks opine about when we will/should have another kid). She has lots of (great) friends up there, but I don’t have any that are just mine, so things will feel quite unbalanced for a while. I remember moving to DC and how HARD it was to make friends and I’m not looking forward to even the possibility of reliving that. And while I like Portland a LOT, I love DC and DC definitely feels like home to me – and is a place that I am excited to raise a kid – lots of museums, fun kid stuff! We know lots of families with toddlers here. We are inching closer to that free, universal preschool. It’s way more diverse than Maine. We have great neighbors, etc, etc. So much to think about. So many feels. (And all for a resume submitted. No actual decision need be made.)

  7. This past week made me miss Seattle SO much. Its hard- I come home, and its all family! friends! brunches and bbq! and my city and all of the familiarity and history and I only get it once or twice a year for such a limited amount of time… I love Chicago a lot, I have a great job here and I feel like this city really fits me, but it just isn’t the same without my family (which, obv, includes you guys and Gabe). I’ve actually decided that I’m glad we are here for at least three more years- every year that goes by makes me want to move home even more, and maybe by the time those three years are up, we’ll know for certain what we want to do. Maybe 9 years in Chicago will be enough for us.

  8. “I want to go home. Kamel says home is where we are, but that doesn’t always work. Home is also where the rest of my people are…”

    Yes, exactly. Virtual hugs and hopes that the career stars align and take you back home.

  9. I’ve never even been to Seattle, but on Those Days when I need a “What If Everything Were Different” fantasy, I always imagine myself living in Seattle. It’s got some kind of magic. I can imagine the intense pull if you’re actually FROM there, and wanting your little one to have some of those lovely childhood memories, too. I hope a homecoming is not far off for you!

    It’s hard. I grew up in the Bay Area, many of my people are still here…but it’s never felt like home. And still doesn’t, now that I’m back. It feels necessary, and nice to be in the loop again, but on the gut level it feels yuck. Here in San Jose/Santa Clara/Campbell/Sunnyvale-Land, anyway, feels so sterile and unreal, just like it always has. The only thing that helps is remembering that however ick it is now, it’s a real place, with a real history. That there were once fruit trees, and before that, oak trees, everywhere. It doesn’t feel as real as our town in Oaxaca, where we can literally see Zapotec ruins through our bedroom window, but it is real. Maybe not home, but a real place, and I/we can have a real life here, as long as we have to be here.

  10. I have to say that home is not the same without you too. I long for a time when we can have Sunday dinners, walks on the beach, gabe knowing where the cookies are kept and going home is just a short distance away. Seattle misses you too. Love you tons. DB

  11. I feel the same way, especially since having a baby. The pull of the places of your own childhood can become stronger and stronger. It is next to impossible for us to go “home”, though, because we have that two-body problem where it’d be next to impossible for us to both have jobs in that place. Opportunity pulls us further and further away from that place I still think of as home.

  12. I read this yesterday and was thinking that I couldn’t really relate. We ended up coming back home years before we really wanted to, and that’s been another kind of disappointment (even while it’s been great in some ways!). But I can definitely relate to that feeling of just WANTING. And waiting. And feeling like everything is in limbo. I get that so hard.

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