A little over a year ago, John and I decided to test the limits of our true adoration for one another by sharing a tiny we’re-sleeping-in-the-kitchen studio apartment, while house shopping and wedding planning. It was John’s first year in his program, and I had just started a new job. It was an exciting and exhausting experience; we were slowly building our adult life together, while simultaneously facing the stress that results as other people came to the same conclusion. Am I being too opaque, dear Internet? The line between being-an-interesting-blogger and sharing-too-much can be so blurry on the interwebs (don’t you think?).
Let’s just say… some people took our co-habitation better than others.
John and I enjoyed it though.
The point is, a year ago we were packing up our lives for a moving truck, which means our little cottage turns 1 (+some 50 odd years) on Saturday, which further means that I’m no longer a recent transplant in this tiny city, I’m a full-on resident.
I’m a bit befuddled by the passage of time and all it means, to be honest. I still get homesick, although the home for which I’m missing changes frequently. At the same time, when I’m gone I’m always ready to come back to the cottage, despite it’s unfortunate attraction for neighborhood cats and dead animals. And perhaps because the transformation of the house has happened so slowly, and seeing as I am the type of person who is continually adding to a must-do list, it still feels as though we moved in yesterday.
An old friend once told me that it takes a full year for anyone to feel settled in a new place, and honest-to-Petes, I think there’s truth in that. I have spent the past year digging out a space for myself here, and it has been really hard and not-always-fun and a bit lonely, but here I am, on the other side of 365 days-or-so, and I’m feeling more victorious and present and invested – not only in the cottage, but in the whole tiny town. It’s refreshing to run into people you know at the supermarket, especially after a season of being a stranger to everyone but the boy you live with and a dog.
Building a new life in a new place takes time, and you probably knew that, dear Internet, because you’ve likely done it yourself. But in case no one ever told you that truth, perhaps you can digest it enough for yourself, and then a little more to make up for my past ignorance. Settling takes time. It’s hard work. If you think any less, you’ll be disappointed.
But eventually … it happens, and you’ll find yourself chatting with the new neighbors over the fence, clueing them into the neighborhood vibe, telling them to quickly befriend Martha-next-door and she’ll leave bags of home-grown vegetables on their fence post, warning them of the chickens down the street lest the birds catch their German Shepherd off guard – or horrifically – off leash. The new neighbors will mention that you seem to have a lot of people over, and you’ll think, “Yes, I suppose we do!” It all happens, eventually. You just have to be patient, and let the first year play out.