So I realized today that we’ve officially been living here in Washington for a full four months. Four months doesn’t sound like a long time, in some ways it feels much longer, but the time has really gone by relatively fast, and it’s hard to believe that its going to be Christmas soon. We had a great Thanksgiving… my sister Katie flew-up here for the week to visit, and we had an awesome time just hangin’ out and catching-up. Evelyne loved having someone else to play with and read to her, and it was nice for her to get to spend so much time with her Aunt “Tay-Tay.” (She’s not so good with her “k’s”) We were very blessed to have friends invite us over to eat on Thanksgiving, and although it was a totally different experience celebrating with non-family, we had a fantastic time and loved the opportunity to get to know them better.
Four months. Let’s see….60 more to go? 84? I realize that sounds pretty negative and like I can’t wait to flee this place…which really isn’t entirely true. But I do have my moments. I cried on the way home from the airport after dropping-off Katie the other day because I was sad she was leaving, and it just felt so strange that she was going back to where I consider home and here I was in this dreary, wet place. Indefinitely. And it’s not that I don’t enjoy being here…most of the time. But there are some definite positives and negatives to each place, and right now it feels like Memphis still has the upper hand. Let’s see:
*We really like our church. We love what its about, its distinctives, how it’s choosing to live-out the mission of Jesus in the world, particularly among the hurting and disenfranchised.
*Clay loves his job. It’s exactly what he thought it would be…which is good since that’s why we moved here! His potential for growth and learning far exceeds what he could’ve had in Memphis. He’s being challenged and loving it.
*It’s been good for our marriage and family life to be more on our own rather than surrounded by family. We love our family, but the growth in independence has been healthy and good.
*I’ve met some super-nice friends and am enjoying the weekly activities Evelyne and I are involved in. (MOPS, etc…)
*We love living in a more racially diverse area. We were pretty tired of how homogenous everything was in our circles, and it’s refreshing to actually know and be in relationship with people of other ethnicities.
*Um. Uh. Lemme keep thinking…
Positives about Memphis
*Family. Evelyne’s fourth cousin was born on Thanksgiving Day, a beautiful little Caitlyn Jewel Taylor. We won’t even get to meet her until March. Family is super-important to us, and it’s hard to miss-out on watching our nieces grow-up and seeing Evelyne grow-up with them. She LOVES her cousins, absolutely adores spending time with them, and there’s just something very special to us about watching that.
*Friends. We had a pretty good thing going by the time we left. Friends with whom we were consistently sharing lives and time. We were growing together in the same direction, moving toward a vision of community that was bigger than ourselves. We understood each other, even where we were different. Now it seems we’re back at Square 1. There were also those lifelong friendships that can never be explained or replaced. I was so blessed to live near several of these friends, and that kind of thing is never the same.
*Sunshine. I feel pretty cliche and predictable to already be talking about the dreariness that is Seattle weather, but c’mon, people, you knew it was coming. And it wouldn’t even be that bad if it weren’t for the fact that our house is surrounded by super-tall trees that pretty much block any direct sunlight. So my house stays dark and cold most of the time. By 2 o’clock, it’s a dark cave. By 3, I’m turning-on lamps. I realize that it’s also this thing called Winter that I’ve dealt with all my life in Tennessee, but I don’t recall the sky having such a thick cloud cover on most days, and I certainly never lived in such a dreary house. Call me the quintessential suburban girl, but I rather like my old neighborhoods that were relatively new developments and only had a few medium-sized trees in the yard. Sunlight streamed-in through the windows, even if it was freezing cold outside. Remind me to never buy a house with this many trees, no matter what state it’s in!
*We loved our church. It seems like several of the things that we really appreciate about our new church were things that bugged us about our old one…or let me rephrase that… things for which we saw the potential for growth. But there are a few things that we absolutely loved about our old church that our new church has some room for growth in. (at least in our limited experience) Either way, they’re pretty similar in a lot of respects, and I still miss and appreciate the old one.
*Cheap housing. Just for grins and giggles, I was looking at houses that are currently for sale in the Memphis area online the other day. A word of advice to people living in areas with a high cost of living: Only do this if you want to be seriously depressed. I’m sure it also has to do with the state of the real estate market right now, but I was shocked at the kind of house we would be able to buy in Memphis. Here we can only afford to buy a 2-bedroom condo, there we could buy the kind of house that should last us the rest of our lives, upgrades and all. Not that it’s all about bigger is better, but if you’re gonna pay the same amount of money, don’t tell me you wouldn’t prefer something that actually gives your family a little room to grow and is more aesthetically pleasing. (And a master bathroom that would allow a husband to walk behind his very pregnant wife while she brushes her teeth without accidentally pushing her forward into the sink because there’s only six inches of space between her back and the wall would be nice, too.)
*Better shopping. OK, now when I say shopping I’m not talking about some swanky stores that I’m sure Seattle has that Memphis doesn’t. I’m talking about some normal places like Old Navy, Gap, and Target. I can’t go to any of these without driving to the next town over. This coming from someone who used to live within 10 minutes of 4 Targets…. it pains me. I’m sorry, but Fred Meyer just doesn’t cut it. There are just more and cuter stores at home than in my neck of the woods out here. Not like I ever shop anyway, but it’s nice to know they’re there when I need them.
*Sadly, although it can be beautiful at times, I’m not swept away by the mountain scenery here. (certainly not like Clay who about drives off the road every time he sees Mt. Ranier) I mean, yeah. It can be really pretty in certain places with the right weather. But the fact is, take away the mountains and I’d rather live in Cordova. (Yes, people, I said Cordova.) And you can’t even see the freakin’ mountains on most days because they’re behind the clouds!!!!! And the trees… I mean, they’re tall. So?
OK, now I’m just gonna stop because it’s almost 2 a.m. and this is getting really long and kinda depressing. It’s not that I’m unhappy. Truly, I’m not. On a day-to-day basis I’m enjoying our life here. But it does make me sad to think that this is it. For the foreseeable future, we will be here. Having more kids and raising our family in this dark, cold house surrounded by tall trees and clouds. Whoo-hoo. Sometimes I feel like this has been a nice vacation but I’m just ready to go home now. And it’s weird to think that my son will be born here (in about 5 weeks or so!) and know nothing else. Oh well, I’m sure we’ll keep adjusting, and I know these things take time. It’s just hard when it feels like we left so much… it’s gonna take a whole heckava lot to even somewhat replace that, ya know?
So, whoo-hoo, go Seahawks or whatever!