Yesterday as I walked “home” from the park, I had the first notion of feeling comfortable in my neighborhood. All the plants and sounds that have felt exotic are suddenly starting to look normal as I begin to forget about pine, oak, maple and elm trees and adapt to eucalyptus, jacaranda, and palms. Armadillo roadkill is replaced with squished water dragons, robins in trees for cockatoos, and squirrels for possums. I’m adapting.
As we begin our fifth month in this house, however, we only have one thing on our mind: find a house that feels comfortable. We spent years renovating and refining our home in the States to make it just the way we wanted it. By the time our daughter came along, it had almost entirely been redone, and after her birth we went ahead and renovated the only room that had been left untouched. D. and I both spend the majority of our working hours in our home, and the comfort of home is a value we both enjoy. Yet, here we are living in what D. affectionately calls “student housing” with noisy neighbors, a railway running practically through the back yard, and a thin layer of coal dust that accumulates every week. Besides college football, the only thing I truly miss about being back “home” is exactly that – our home.
Now that we have had time to acclimate somewhat here, however, we have the luxury of choosing another place to live. For me, last weekend was a sort of “rediscover your town extravaganza” which we used to explore different suburbs that were more peaceful, even if further away from my job. No matter – there were ocean views and breezes, not to mention the fresh air. There is a whole new world out there. But to get there, we have to pack up our suitcases again and re-acclimate to another neighborhood, child care facility, daily pattern and so on. And six months after that, we’ll get to do it all over again.
If nothing else, the search for a comfortable home is keeping the luggage light and the compulsion to accumulate at bay… for now.