When someone asks where I'm from I always have to consider where I am first...
In Chicago I never say that I'm from Chicago, because then I would get twenty questions asking about which neighborhood I live in when the truth is that I do not live within city limits and would therefore be yelled at for the grave Chicago-sin I have committed.
In Philadelphia I say I'm from Chicago and I get big eyes asking why I moved and why I didn't stay at home to continue seminary where it would be convenient?
In California I say I'm from Chicago, but then someone asks about my flight and I tell them that I flew from Philadelphia because I go to school there...to which I get more big eyes, some more confusion and a "wow" reaction which I still don't know how to respond to.
Traveling has always been a dream of mine and not only visiting places, but living in them and learning about the reality of life in new places I would never dream of going. This has actually been my life for the past five years. I decided for a summer job to forego working somewhere close to home and decided to fly halfway across the country to work at a camp nestled in the Redwoods. Then for seminary I decided that I wanted to try out the East Coast and try my next adventure in Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Devotion.
These decisions have changed my life and I would definitely do them over again. I would never give up these places and these people. I had a professor once give me some advice in college when I was considering the job in California and she told me that she believes every Midwestern girl should really live on both of the coasts. It is vital to get out and see what the rest of the country has in store...and I did. Yet there is one part of this that no one told me about...heartbreak.
As I move from place to place and continue on my journey I meet incredible people. I have met people who have changed my life forever. Due to my travels I have people in my life that I don't know how I ever lived without. Yet the problem is that at some point I always have to say goodbye. No one warns you with traveling like this there is heartbreak because you never know when or if you will see someone again. There is always an expiration date on spending time together and then you are gone.
There is always a countdown to leaving which I never get used to. Getting excited about a new place is a double edged sword because sometimes getting excited can seem like I am happy to leave, which is not the case. I cherish the time I spend in each one of my homes and I try my best to live where I am and be present with the people around me while keeping in touch with those in other places.
Winnie the Pooh tells Christopher Robin, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” (A.A. Milne) The truth is that hard goodbyes, as heartbreaking as they are and as difficult as they feel are truly some of the biggest blessings that we have. Difficult goodbyes happen because there was something or someone who touched our lives and have forever changed us. Maybe the heartbreak from this type of traveling is felt because the heart must grow to reach those faraway places...or maybe a piece of heart stays as our feet move on.
I hope as my life continues and my journey moves forward that pieces of my heart are scattered throughout the world and that my heart becomes a patchwork of those incredible people who have forever touched my life.