Jeffrey and I moved to Portland in the dead of summer. I remember standing in my parents' front yard, saying goodbye to my in-laws and my mom (my dad took the cross country trip with us, bless him) in the sweltering Florida heat. I've never minded the heat, although my husband would say otherwise. He says that I've complained about it countless times, and perhaps I have, so I guess you could say that I've generally never minded the heat. When we moved to Portland, the heat was oppressive and there was no escaping it. Our house doesn't have air. I remember laying in bed with little more than a sheet, cursing the fact that I couldn't sleep with the weight of a comforter. The temperature on our thermostat (which we have for heat only), rose up and up and up, and I couldn't believe how hot is was.
2015 was a challenging year for me. Dealing with the difficulty and hardship that comes with a move across the country was unexpected and knocked the wind out of me for several months. There's also the challenge of taking on a new job and trying to fit in with a new place and new people. There's the longing for the school I left behind, the familiarity of the people and the location of simple things like the copy machine. Change isn't bad, it's just different. I lost the physical closeness of friends and family and found it overwhelmingly hard to make new bonds and form new relationships.
I spent a lot of time dwelling in that lost and sad place. It was a cycle of wake up, feel sorry for myself, go to work, feel sorry for myself, repeat. It was a cycle I didn't enjoy, but from which I couldn't break away. It was suffocating and terrible. As someone who has experienced little loss in her life, I was shocked by how deeply I grieved a loss of place.
Eventually, it wasn't hot anymore. In fact, it became unbelievably cold. Both Jeffrey and I remarked over the fact that we didn't experience many "open window" days here. It was really, really hot and then it was really, really cold. The sun started going down at 4 in the afternoon. At first, I found myself in a mess of emotions. Blue ones. About two weeks into the dark and cold winter, the fog in my mind lifted. I have no idea why or how. I'd like to believe that it was because I willed it away. It's probably much more likely that something else (something like divine intervention) shooed it into oblivion. Either way, I was grateful.
All this to say that my word for 2016 is fun. Jeffrey and I explored Portland for our honeymoon almost three years ago. We were enamored by its richness and fullness — the city felt alive and bursting with energy. I remember feeling so much love for this city, even though I had hardly spent any time here. In the midst of moving and dealing with big emotions, I forgot to enjoy this city again. I forgot to love it the way I had when we visited here, newlyweds with stars in our eyes. We're still newlyweds and we still have stars in our eyes. I want to squeeze the joy out of this place, experience my life instead of watching it pass me by. There is a time to be sad, but there is also a time to take back happiness, to feel proud of myself for making leaps and embracing change and reveling in the fact that I can do hard things. So here's to 2016, my year of fun!
(Taking back the fun in my life may or may not include documenting some of that here. Thanks for my small but devoted readership, who continues to visit this space, even when postings are sporadic and wordy and not filled with pictures. You are appreciated! xo)