Home Is Where You Feel It

A little winter update on why Seattle finally feels like home:

It’s the season of giving, of spreading extra love, of merriment and family and friends. And we are in the thick of it right now. Holiday parties, end-of-year wrap ups, gift giving, planning travels to see loved ones, trying to make our tiny home feel warm and jolly without smothering it in greenery. We are lucky this year, our home is bursting at the seams, in a good way. We are living the typical Seattle life currently in our 810 square foot, two-bedroom rental home while we figure out where we want to buy our own small piece of Seattle. Our little home is especially warmer this year because of some house guests, one of my best friends, Kathryn and her dog Scarlett. Kathryn and Scar were at a crossroads a few months ago living in the Midwest, and all of the sudden the timing was just right for them to move out West. While Kathryn was job hunting and getting used to her new city, she moved in with us in our second bedroom. It’s been so fun having extra friends and dogs fill up our home.

Jake has turned into some sort of Seattle pied piper, encouraging his best friends to move across the country and join us here (which as of now, the count is at 7 – I don’t know how he does it!). I hadn’t had much luck with any of my close galpals picking up and moving to the PNW but was fine making friends here, when out of nowhere, Kathryn’s move just felt like the right place, right time. Having someone who has known you for years, who just already gets you, who has been next to you in good and bad, permanently here is amazing. We’d been in Seattle for three years prior to Kathryn moving here, and if I’m honest, I was still feeling on the fence about being grounded in this city. A little indifferent on “loving” it. In late August I flew on a one-way ticket to Chicago on the same day I received an interview for a new potential job. Kathryn and Scar picked me up at the airport and we set out West. I’ve driven from the Midwest to the East Coast a handful of times, but I’d never driven farther West than Colorado. We covered half the United States in two days, the plains gently morphing into mountains as we pushed through, blasting girl power anthems, and stopping in the Badlands to get some sun on our faces and look out at that crazy, vast landscape in the middle of nowhere. It was a monumental trip of moving across the country, of female power, of learning how to shed things that no longer server you or you need, and the overwhelming feeling of taking back your own power and strength.

Now, a little more than three months since we pulled into our driveway with a best friend and her dog, and a month into my new job – I told Jake last night as he drove us around our little neighborhood above the marina looking at all the Christmas lights – this place finally feels like home. I can’t really describe it, and maybe my heart has different ways of categorizing “home”, but for some reason Seattle took longer than the other new cities I’ve moved to in the last ten years. I think I just needed the right cocktail of people, love, curiosity, career and purpose to feel it. (Now if we can just convince our families to move, we’ll never leave.) It didn’t take Kathryn long to find a job, and it turned out we both got new jobs at the same hospital and started with hospital orientation on the same day. (Helllllooo signs from the universe.)

So while our house might be a bit full at the moment with people and three dogs (it’s a constant zoo and it’s awesome) and all the stuff that goes along with all of that, I am immensely grateful to have a life-long girlfriend just steps away, a roof over our heads, a job that I feel truly blessed to serve, friends all over the city, the goofiest dogs to keep us entertained, and all of the love a house can hold. We hosted Thanksgiving again this year for all of our friends in town without family, and it felt so good to look around our living room at everyone laughing and know that Jake and I had a little hand in the love and camaraderie of twelve strangers who weren’t strangers anymore. And it felt like home.

So this is just a long-winded way to say, if you’re feeling the need for a change – do it. It’s scary, expensive sometimes, and it’s not going to be all rainbows and butterflies. But if you stick it out, and let happiness flow to you, it might just end up better than you could have ever imagined. Welcome home, Kathryn and Scarlett!