I’ve been reading through my blog posts from last summer. Remembering how it felt to slowly say good-bye to Abilene, which had been home for eight years. Looking around our apartment, at the sun-spangled hardwood floors and the twinkle lights framing the windows, at the shelves of books and the sink full of dishes, and wondering how it is that we’ve been here a year.
Didn’t we just pull up in that moving truck the other day? Didn’t we just start settling in, finding the library and the grocery store and a new church, dealing with the mound of paperwork required when you move halfway across the country? Didn’t we just learn to navigate the T, and build mental maps of Quincy and central Boston and the greater Boston area? Didn’t we just learn to shovel snow, buy down coats, collect all the tips we could for surviving our first winter?
Well. Yes. We did. A year ago.
A year ago this weekend, we moved into our apartment with the help of three dear friends (one of whom carried our loveseats up the stairs on his back). We spent our first Sunday morning at Brookline. We set up bookshelves and bedframes, arranged our dishes in the cabinets, began organizing the books. A year ago today, J started his first real, full-time, grown-up job, and I began six months of exploring the city and looking for work. (Six months ago, I started my own full-time job.) We’ve survived a full cycle of the seasons here (and I believe everyone’s comments about “seasonal amnesia” – the summer and fall do make you forget, for a while, how brutal the winter can be).
We’ve struggled, at times, to make our way in a culture and city so different from the place we came from. We’ve missed being known, shaken our heads at the expense of living here, adjusted to commutes and the sad lack of Tex-Mex food and two months of frequent snowstorms. We’ve fought to make a place for ourselves, to draw together a circle of friends, to live here now instead of mourning the friends we left behind or the ease of life in Abilene, or worrying unduly about the future.
Perhaps that is the gift of this time in Boston – to be here now, to embrace each moment, each struggle, each inconvenience or tough experience or unexpected joy. To let each day, each event, be simply what it is, rather than letting it all overwhelm me. To treasure the new friendships we’ve gradually made, while acknowledging that our community here will always look different than our community in Abilene. To appreciate what’s available here, instead of wishing for what’s not. To let life in this new place open us up, let it become part of who we are, even if we don’t stay forever.
It’s been a difficult year in many respects – requiring equal parts bravery (my word for 2010) and comfort (my word for 2011). I don’t expect I’ll ever describe life in Boston as easy. But it’s been instructive, exciting, rich with new experiences, full of challenges and unexpected twists and opportunities (though at times they’ve felt more like trials and obstacles). In short, it’s been an adventure – which is what we were looking for, after all, when we left Abilene.
More than once over the past year, I’ve wished we could spirit ourselves back to Texas, back to the church and the university and the friends and family we left, back to the ease of familiarity, back to the comfort of being home. Sometimes I still wish that. And I think – and hope – we’ll go back someday.
But the story of our lives in Boston isn’t finished yet. This chapter had a rocky start, but it’s by no means at its end. We’ve renewed our lease and committed to stay a while longer, to keep meeting the challenges and embracing the joys. To keep finding out what it means to make a home for ourselves up here, and to know and be known in this place we’ve come to love.
Here’s to another year – at least – in Boston. And to all it holds for us, however difficult and scary – and rich and exciting.
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