The spaceship has landed

Moving to a new place is a little like arriving on another planet. 

We had a family discussion some time ago about what changes when you move and what stays the same. The kids came up with a great list of things that would be new: new friends, schools, house, church building, neighborhood, library, climate, and so forth. And they were reassured to consider all the things that would remain constant: old friends, church/faith, family, pillows, clothes, dishes, traditions, language, etc.

With some difficulty, we separated ourselves from our little yellow Vermont home and said our goodbyes to so many people with whom we had shared so much. A part of our hearts will always remain there. We packed our van too full and entered some kind of weird suspended state between homes. We traveled west via Ottowa, Wisconsin, Minneapolis, North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho before driving up to our 40 year old ultra-modern house in Utah.

My sister calls it “the spaceship”.

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Coming back to the area where you went to college is a bit strange. Coming back with a full family and as a homeowner causes moments of jarring contrast as I drive past landmarks of personal significance which mean nothing to the rest of the passengers in my minivan. Weirdness. The culture shock has not been as great as I had feared- for any of us- but then again, school hasn’t started yet. There’s still potential. Vermont and Utah have very little in common unless you want to count the love of skiing. But let’s not compare ski resorts, okay? Or snow conditions….

We do not miss the taxes, the mosquitoes or dripping-wet humidity, but I do miss cloudy days. My neighbors, my friends, my berries, the plentiful water supply… there are many things to miss. And I do. But I don’t let myself dwell on it because it gets in the way of what I’m supposed to be doing: living and loving where I am.

I am in a place where many friends from various phases of our life have landed. Friends from Stanford, from Vermont, extended family members on both sides, people we’ve known forever. We’ve enjoyed the generosity and hospitality of many of these friends. It has made the transition easier knowing we have connections with people who already know and love us.

Tonight we had one such family over for dinner. We’ve known them for about 15 years and kept in touch- more or less- despite many moves and all the children and busy lives. Some people just stay in your life.

On the menu was Turkish raisin rice, Turkish zucchini fritters, a spinach & watermelon salad with Sriracha-strawberry grilled chicken and my friend’s amazing, amazing rolls and homemade apricot jam. Yum. But dessert was also good.

IMG_0343We had a s’mores party! On the table: marshmallows (next time I might try making my own), graham crackers, Hershey bars, Reeces Peanut Butter bars, York Peppermint Patties, homemade chocolate walnut fudge, orange-cardamom caramel thins, chewy peanut brittle squares, and strawberries. There were some very creative combinations and we got to use our little fire pit for the first time. Conversations lasted a long time and it was good to know that our friendship with this family has been so consistent over so many years.

As they left and I began the dishes, I was grateful. Life may be as different as night and day when compared to our former place, but a few things remain the same: love, old friends, the spirit within me and The Spirit which speaks to my heart, and my joy in living.

Life is great… even on this vaguely familiar semi-arid planet called Utah.

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