Three years ago today, I packed up the last of my bags. I picked up my dog from the Kennel and brought my host daughter to the airport. I drove home to my new house and my new life.
The first night was the hardest. At some point, I sat down in the middle of the kitchen floor and I bawled. I cried for the life I had “lost,” the future that I would never have, the loneliness that filled my heart, and for the emptiness that filled my house. Over the summer, I spent my time fixing my house into a home, filling it with my own upcycles and creations, and redefining my life and my story.
I’ve never looked back…
Until a few weeks ago…
A few weeks ago, the very exchange student that I dropped off three years ago today came back home to visit me. It was an amazing twelve days and it went by too quickly by far. However, one of her desires was to go back to the town that we used to live in to see some old friends and to reminisce.
I almost said no.
I decided, however, that it would be good for me to go back to the scene of the crime as it were to see how things have changed in three years. It turns out that everything and nothing has changed.
My former house has changed colors. Gray instead of tan and the berry door I painstakingly painted covered over with an aqua/turquoise. The backyard sports a new pool, and the fence we installed for the dogs is still up. In the front yard, the three rhododendron bushes I transplanted to keep away from the dogs are also thriving. The house, like me, has moved on.
The little diner that we used to frequent for burgers and ice cream is still there. It has new owners, but the menu is essentially unchanged. The picnic tables were a little dustier and the drive seemed a little longer than I remembered.
Everything seems more spread out and farther away. This was a town of 9,000. I now live in a town of 44,000. It takes me five minutes to get to the store. It used to take at least twenty there. The drive is beautiful, the air fresh and the people friendly. When I lived there it felt like a prison.
I had anxiety throughout our stay and was exhausted on my arrival home that evening. Mentally, I felt relieved, sad, proud… well let’s just say I felt all the things.
Overall I am happy I went. It was a great time and it brought me some closure on that chapter of my life. In the words of Edna Mode: “I only look back dahling, it distracts from the NOW.”