A couple weeks ago, I passed the one-year anniversary of my graduation from Luther College. And today marks the five-year anniversary of my graduation from Mercer Island High School. That’s long enough to have a reunion, although I don’t think that’s happening, unless I’m entirely out of the loop. Which seems to happen quite often. I check my Facebook news feed only twice a week now, and I’m not in touch with the people who’d be most likely to plan such a reunion. And, not like I live close enough to attend. So we won’t worry with that thought.
May was quite the month, as seems to be a growing trend for me. I moved to my new apartment basically on my own, although I’m eternally grateful to my boss and her husband for the pick-up truck that moved my bed in and to my manager at the music store for selling me a crap ton of furniture for cheap. They were life savers. Otherwise, I moved everything myself. Naturally it was exhausting, but I love the new place. It’s big, quiet, and close enough to everywhere I need to be. I can even walk to the music store with my cello. I still have no TV, but that’s it. My kitchen is becoming well-loved, just as I’d hoped for. All is well on this front.
I also took my first trip back to Seattle since I moved out, which I’d been anticipating since January. It was lovely, but… weird. I’d feared when I left that I wouldn’t want to return, as I felt during college sometimes. But I was ready to come back to Rochester when it was time. I spent some good time with my parents, visited my grandma in the Norse Home, drank way too much Starbucks, and heard my cousin Jason preach at North Seattle Alliance Church. Plus I got to visit Fusion Beads, a store that advertises in Bead Me! I chatted with the marketing manager about possible collaborations we can do coming up here. It’s a great company, and just happens to be in Seattle! Love it.
Overall, Seattle felt less like home to me than I’d thought it would. I read through some of my older posts earlier today, where I talk about how happy I was to be there during the summertime, and wishing I was there during my time at Luther. It confuses me sometimes that I wanted to come back here so badly, then. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that I don’t live there anymore and am okay with that. In fact, I’ve felt more Minnesotan since returning from my trip than I did previously. I have connected with this land on a deep level. Perhaps I developed that connection during school and just never realized it the way I do now. What I love most about this area (true in Decorah as well) is the wide open-ness of it. There’s something about agricultural land space, especially when it’s green, that calms me. It is a home for my spirit. Combined with the truth that the Driftless Region was where I first lived on my own and became an adult, that’s why I claim the Midwest as home.
I had an experience over the weekend that helped clarify this. I was invited to a concert in Decorah last Friday night – the Bread and Butter String Band performed at Arthaus. My longtime friend Lucas is one of the original members of the band and invited me. He’d talked to me about the group before, so I thought I should go see what it was all about. I had no idea they were such rock stars! The audience was so impressed, myself included. I was sitting next to his parents, and at one point, I was telling his mom about how I’d moved to Rochester and was going to drive back that night. She quickly told me I didn’t have to do that and could sleep on a couch at their house. I agreed to it, grateful for her spontaneous hospitality.
After staying out for awhile with Lucas, we headed back there. They live on a farm a bit west of Decorah – I had to drive on gravel roads to get there, which was the first time I’d ever done that. We stayed up for a little bit eating cake and ice cream (his idea) and I fell asleep fast. When I woke up in the morning, that’s when everything hit me: it was bright and beautiful and sunny and GREEN. I hadn’t seen what the farm actually looked like in the dark, but in the morning I could, and I loved it. I spent the morning sitting out on the porch with the family, eating fruit and drinking coffee and being at peace. It felt like home. It reminded me of what I experienced arriving in West Sussex 3 months ago – complete calm of the mind, when you know you’re in a good place where you can be your whole self. And that’s what the Blekebergs’ farm was. For a city girl like me, it’s a stunning realization to see that the country is perhaps where my heart loves most to dwell. Rochester is by no means rural, but it’s not far removed from it. The Driftless Area is sunny and green (during the summer, at least) – I can’t ask for much more than that.
I’m still working hard to stay positive every day. It helps that I’ve joined a health and fitness challenge where positivity is the focus! Not only have I lost weight, I affirm myself more. I know it’s worth it to take care of myself, both mentally and physically. That’s true for every person on Earth. At the very least, sleep as much as you can and drink plenty of water. Don’t fight your body – give it what it needs! Several of my family members have taken part in the challenge as well. It’s been inspiring!
Well, it’s almost time to head off to work. It was 90 degrees a couple days ago, but today it will be stormy and hovering above 60. Gotta love those Midwest storms. 🙂