But, like every life transition, it has been riddled with emotions; both highs and lows. On the up days I feel so happy to be back in the US, in a lovely city and in a nice apartment, going to school full time. On the down days I wonder why we moved away from New Zealand to a place that is so cold most of the year! I miss friends who were practically family and the beach and my motor bike. Things that seemed to have happened a lifetime ago.
But we are slowly settling, me more slowly than Kevin, as per usual. I find the first 8-12 months in a new place to be the absolute hardest of all. It's the time where I think I should be mostly settled, but I find that my mind and heart are still in the last place we had been. I remember this so clearly the first year we were in NZ. I missed my friends and family from home so much that I didn't want to meet anyone new or form new friendships because I didn't want them to take the place of the old ones.
This is the stage I am in now. We have met so many lovely people here. Mid-westerners are a different breed. They are kind without being overbearing, and welcoming and accepting of people from all walks of life. This has been such a beautiful environment to be a part of, yet I still feel myself being closed up. A bit like a house that's boarded up when a hurricane is on the horizon. There are still people inside, but no one is going in or out. And not much sunlight is coming through.
My personality makes it hard to get to know people quickly. It's more of a slow burn that takes time before anything deep or interesting takes places. I know this to be true, but I frustrate myself. I wish it were the other way- that I could naturally 'click' with new people and places and situations. But this is not me. Its like I want a Rembrandt masterpiece but only want to put in the time and effort of a color-by-numbers. Ya feel me?
And I know that good things take time. I am slowly dipping my feet in the water. Taking down the nailed up boards from the windows. And I am reminding myself that new friendships do not take the place of old ones. That they can happily co-exist and even feed from each other. The more places I have been and people I have met all lead me to the knowledge that no one is the same, and that everyone has a story to tell. I hope to meet some of those people and hear their stories. And learn and grow from them.
If I am a house I'd like to be a conservatory. With glass on all sides and the light shining in. A place with not one single window boarded up. A place where growth is endless and life thrives. This is the goal.