In an effort to force myself to get into the habit of writing with more consistency and frequency, I decided to take on a little challenge today.
The challenge is simple: show us your place in the world; where you belong.
The answer? Not exactly cut and dry. I don’t know that I’ve ever truly belonged anywhere, but I have left pieces of myself all over the world.
Here are a few:
My parents, I have mentioned, immigrated from England before I was born. They, and my entire extended family, are from England. It is a huge part of what makes me who I am. I don’t feel particularly drawn there, except every time I realize I could have been part of the Harry Potter movies if I lived there so THANKS FOR NOTHING MOM AND DAD jk you’re amazing. I have been there, I visited my aunt, uncle, cousins, grandmother and great aunt when I was 9. That’s actually pretty much all of my extended family, that I’m aware of. Everyone else is has either passed on or are not talked about for various reasons. That’s enough of that soap opera. The point is, it’s a part of me, and I feel like part of me belongs there. Somewhere.
I was born in Wichita Falls, TX which makes me unique from my two older siblings who were both born in Hutchinson, KS. My dad used to refer to me as a Texican, which sounds vaguely racist and please tell me if it is, but I’m pretty sure it’s because of this movie.
And even though I cannot remember a single thing about Wichita Falls, TX (I wasn’t yet 2 years old when we left and while I think we went back to visit once when I was a bit older I don’t remember any of it), it still feels like an important part of my identity. I’ve never felt any particular pull to go back, except when one of my college friends revealed that he was also from there.
It was like…oh my god…there’s two of us!
But I haven’t been back.
When we left Texas, it was to head back to Hutchinson, KS, where my family had lived prior to moving to Texas. I lived in Hutchinson until I went away to college. It is absolutely part of me. I met my husband there. I had Ethan there. It’s where almost all of our memories as a family have been. I will always think of Hutchinson when I think of home, and I know a part of me will always be there.
I went to Southwestern College in Winfield, KS. College was a place where the highs were very high and the lows were very low. I learned a lot about myself, I grew up a little, I was given some amazing opportunities along with some bad advice. But the good memories outnumber the bad, and that’s what I took from there. Of course, I also left a part of me behind.
While I was in college, I lived in Chicago for a summer. Hyde Park. It was, without a doubt, one of the greatest experiences of my life. I felt at home there. My stay was brief, but that city will always have a piece of me.
After I graduated, we got married and moved into our first little apartment together in Manhattan, KS. #EMAW
I loved our time in Manhattan. I loved K-State. I loved the town, and the people, and the campus. I love going back to visit. Hell, I even love going to football games as long as they’re there. Manhattan is where Ethan was supposed to be born, and it’s where we started figuring out this whole parenting thing. It will always have a piece of me.
After I graduated with my Master’s, Ryan was offered a job in Hays, KS. Our entire time in Hays was a constant financial struggle. A lot of that we brought on ourselves. I’ll go into a self-blaming spiral if I continue down that path, so let’s just say it was rough. It wasn’t all bad, though. Hays gave us Logan. And so another piece of me is left behind.
We moved back to Hutch for work, again, and stayed for just over 7 years. But it became clear as the years progressed that it was not where we were meant to be. It wasn’t where we belonged, and the message was received loud and clear over and over. We love Hutch. We will always love Hutch, and it will always feel like home. But we don’t belong there.
That brings us to where we are now: Ogden, Utah. It’s beautiful here. It’s bigger than Hutch, and it certainly feels bigger than Hutch. It’s growing. It’s thriving. There’s a solid arts community and so many things to do. We are surrounded by mountains, museums, national parks, theatre, music – all of it easily drive-able. It is an amazing town, and I love it here. I will admit, it took some time to get used to such a huge change. Ok, a lot of time. Still working on figuring out who I am and how I fit in.
We’ve been here for five months, and I have completely fallen in love with this place. I know that if we leave, a part of me will remain. This was our first big adventure, and it’s been jam-packed with mini-adventures so far. But I don’t know yet whether or not I belong here, or if it’s just another pit stop along the way to our ultimate (not to be confused with final) destination.
Here are just a few of our amazing adventures in and around Ogden so far.
So many things are always up in the air these days, I’m tempted not to finish unpacking. But I know that even if I don’t belong here forever, I certainly belong here right now.
It’s nice here.