Okay, I admit it. A born-and-bred Wyoming girl who spent the last 10 years in the Midwest, I cannot figure out to live in California. I put on socks that are too cozy because the house is freezing, when the afternoon outside heats up to 70+ degrees. I stare into my closet on November days, wondering what the heck to put on. All of my jeans have holes in them. (I should fix that.) Capris and a sweater? Does that seem hypocritical? I try it. Not bad.
One day not too long ago, I dressed my son in a button-down flannel shirt with a moose on it (for those chilly mornings). I wondered if he would get made fun of at his daycare – because, let’s face it, people just don’t wear flannel shirts here. When I went to pick him up, his teachers were in awe that he knew what a moose was. Obviously he’s not from around here, they said.
And neither am I.
My family moved to Orange County, Calif., in July of this year. We were coming off of eight months in Kansas City (our second time living there), which was preceded by 15 months in Omaha. My husband is an engineer, and his job takes us wherever the next power-plant-related project springs up. That means we move a lot.
Sometimes I think we scream FOREIGNERS, louder than a robust Russian in a southern Baptist church. It’s uncomfortable (especially when my feet are sweating in those uber-warm socks when we’re at the playground and that relentless sun is in full glory). But I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
What’s more, I think I am learning to embrace it.
Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in everything that sucks about moving all the time. It seems like every time we start to go deep with the new relationships we’ve cultivated in one place, we are yanked to another place where we know no one. And it sure gets tiring courting Google Maps for the millionth time, trying to figure out where the heck the nearest Target is, or where my new Spanish-speaking friend, Ruth, lives.
Yet I can’t help but think God is working. We are learning patience and respect, for ourselves and others. We are learning that most people aren’t all that bad. (You know how your mom always said never talk to strangers? Yeah, well.) We are learning the ins and outs of numerous places, what makes them tick and how they live and breathe. Western Wyoming. Southern Minnesota. Western Indiana. Kansas City. Omaha. Los Angeles.
And you know what? All of these places are breeding grounds for opportunity. I can say with absolute confidence and honesty that I have connections – deep connections – across the country.
And here is something else: All of the upending, adjusting, and re-orienting that come when life throws a hurricane at you is fodder for story. As my life keeps moving, I can hardly keep up with the story material that is flying my way.
*What life experiences have proven to be wells from which you create your own work?