For the last five years I have been a Minnesota resident. I’ve loved the city, bemoaned the heat & humidity, braved the winters, enjoyed the arts, frequented the parks & libraries. I’ve gone to school, to work, to church, to classes, to meditate, to picnic, to play, to pick. But somehow, in the midst of all this, it’s never entirely felt like home. I had an absolutely fabulous group of girlfriends in San Diego and the hole they left in my life has been empty for a long time; I have some marvelous friends here but not nearly as many as there – and let’s be honest, it takes time. And, well, we have been through a few changes since we’ve been here (careers, schools, becoming parents, need I say more?). So.
This past month, though, I’ve settled in. Something finally crystallized for me. Maybe it was getting to show off my city to some dear friends this week and see it through their eyes. Or maybe it was one of these:
- Olive’s first “real” movie, Madagascar 2, at dusk, cuddled on blankets and munching burritos, chips & sodas (which were free from Chipotle. Yahoo!) at our neighborhood park.
- Walking through nine neighborhood gardens with a tremendous group of neighbors – admiring people’s handiwork, sipping wine, enjoying Sonny’s ice cream. The Lyndale Garden Tour was awesome (even if I didn’t win any door prizes). People even helped me maneuver the stroller up and down stairs – without my asking!
- BBQing on my neighbor’s back patio with another couple we adore, eating shishkabobs and fresh peach pie while Olive drew chalk masterpieces and admired the fire for what felt like mere minutes but was actually 5 hours.
- Pulling weeds. There is no better way to meet neighbors than plunking down in your yard for hours. And there is something amazingly restful about doing it, too.
- Our weekly trek to the Minneapolis Farmers’ Market. Olive & I have been going for three straight summers now and know lots of the vendors – we’re always greeted with hugs and smiles and we eat our turnovers and roasted corn with relish.
- Gardensitting for our neighbor, and then helping her get ready for a Japanese exchange student to come stay with her (who is going to cook us good Japanese food! I’m so excited!).
- The Uptown Market – a once-a-month artsy-fartsy and farmer’s markety type place. We bought Olive a darling kitty painting for her room and made lots of new friends with the artists.
- New neighbors – we’ve got two little girls downstairs and one across the back alley and they all play together wonderfully. We’ve been trading kids and going to the park and playing in the yard – we even have patio furniture!
Or maybe something about it being 5 years just makes it feel settled. I don’t know.
But I know that I’m home.