Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Migrations of My Youth

My husband and I have made some relatively significant transitions in our young lives thus far. Apparently I had a secret yearning to live the life of an Army brat - though my parents are teachers - considering that I have moved all over the country since leaving home after high school. First came Boston, then Moscow, Idaho, then Austin, Texas. I feel fortunate to have sampled so many diverse regions of our great country; I have rubbed elbows with cowboys and cowgirls, Mormons, Mass-holes, hippies, and yuppies. From the East Coast to the Third Coast, I have become well-versed in moving my life around and making big transitions.

What does it mean to move? To migrate? To transition? I have found that it has most often refreshed my spirit and forced my eyes to see new things I may have missed before - about life, people, my country, etc. Any notion of a schedule goes out the window for those days/weeks/months during which you make the transition. It is also a perfect way to break down any semblance of a comfort zone one may have instituted during a settled period.

Likewise, in migrating, I have met many migratory people. These people, including myself I'm sure, seem to view life from a wide-open perspective, allowing people into their lives with ease knowing that to make the time in a certain location memorable, you must "love the one you're with," so to speak. My migrant friends also seem to be very good at staying in touch, perhaps more than my more settled friends do. We are invited to each others' weddings, send each other Holiday cards, and make the occasion phone call just to talk. Oftentimes, I end up speaking with a far-away pal more frequently than one who lives just down the road.

What is an aspect of moving that I am not so fond of? Potential for years of something best expressed in Portuguese: saudade, an amalgamation of longing, nostalgia, homesickness, yearning, particularly in regards to a place one may never return to. I knew that I would return to my roots from time to time, for visits and vacations, but would this place always linger in my heart in such a way? Would I ever be successful in moving back for good? And would it be all that I had hoped an dreamed it would be? For there is a certain romance and mystique surrounding a place for which one might experience saudade. I feared that I might return to this place and find myself wanting to leave again, forever searching, longing, and migrating.

So far, my transition home to Mercersburg, PA, to this place I have longed for, though I cannot always explain why, seems more resolute than others, especially now that we are moved into the farmhouse. It is a rental house, but a house nonetheless, one where we could grow a family, live below our means, and save for the future. There is much promise in this house. Whether my Army brat tendencies will start to itch, only time will tell. For now, I just want to be here, sit in this quiet, spacious house as the world spins around me, walk along horse pastures and watch deer as they watch me, unblinking - let my late 20s be a time to contemplate migrations of the past and the stillness of today.

Ryan and I play with Sadie during our first snow

Our new home!


Chloe said...

Oh Larissa, what a wonderful post! I can totally relate to the feelings of saudade. Hence our move back to NH in the spring (though not to my hometown, it is too small and rural, at least for now). I fear I may be expecting too much out of this physical relocation, in terms of feeling happy and settled. The proximity to my family is really the driving force to move back. That and being close to the coast again in a place with seasons! I went to college in Boston and lived there for 6 years total and I find that even though I couldn't wait to leave it 4 years ago, the idea of being close to it again makes me really happy. We shall see!

kinkybootbeasts said...

Girl, are you serious?? That's the farmhouse?? that place is HUUUUGE. It is all yours? that's craziness and awesome. Congratulations to you both! You seem so happy.

I have to say, I lived in only two different houses from age 0-18 and they are about a mile or so from each other. And since I have moved living spaces basically every year in six different cities including two foreign countries and I have no desire to move back to the city where i was born. But my parents still live there, so it's a little bit different for me. If they moved to a different city, I would certainly get nostalgic for it. But I'm lucky in that I can go back and visit whenever I want and even sleep in the same bed I slept in 20 years ago.

Larissa said...

I'm so glad you liked the post and thanks for letting me know. I'm excited for your move back to NH. I think what we have to keep in mind about our fears about transitioning is that we can be happy anywhere we want to be, it's just a matter of the perspective we keep. There is something wonderful about being close to an area of familiarity. Childhood and growing up, being as intense as they are, have a way of keeping a little part of our hearts in those places. Maybe not for everyone, but I know many people who have returned to the area in which they grew up. Keep me posted on your move and happy holidays!

Larissa said...

Yep, the farmhouse is all ours. But it's not too huge inside, you'd be surprised how cozy and contained it is. We love it - and it's very affordable, much less than our tiny apartment in Austin.

You are so lucky to be able to sleep in the same bed in which you grew up. I lost that luxury two years ago when my parents moved to NJ from Mercersburg. I had a big, old, four poster bed, but I think it's up in my grandmother's attic now. Thanks for commenting and happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

Salut Larissa,

I learnt a new word today thanks to you : "saudade"
I felt nor nostalgic or homesick when I was in the US... Now I'm trying to get out of Rennes and move to Paris in April.

Hey, your house is even bigger than the mansion of the Senator downtown Austin! What a great place.

Thanks for sending me your address!

Talk to you soon :-)

Larissa said...

Salut anonymous,

Ça va? Thanks for writing! I don't know if our house is quite as big as the Governor's Mansion in Austin, but thanks for the complement! That is so exciting you are trying to move to Paris. I think that would be a great place for you, aside from the US and Texas of course! Rennes is not quite as cosmopolitan and I think you will find great things for yourself in Paris.

I just sent your family a Christmas card!

Ricky said...

hey larissa, love the pics that ryan snapped, i hate how he always gets the great shots haha. Yes your huge bed is here in the attic. Want it back? lol

Ricky said...

i get to visit next month!!! woot woot!