So far, I’ve moved 17 different times and lived in 17 different homes. No, I wasn’t a military brat, nor was I raised by a band of roaming gypsies or a pack of hungry wolves. Though, that might have been fun, too. Instead, early moves often occurred out of necessity (displaced by war) or, later, from my own uncapped wanderlust (prompted by Siberian-esque Midwest winters). Every few years, like clockwork, I sported a new address and a new home phone number.
My parents’ first house had white vinyl siding with faux black window shutters, along a quiet tree-lined street outside of Chicago. I remember thinking our modest home was a modern day castle. All that was missing was a moat. “Someday, I’ll build one for them”, I thought. Whoever said little 6-year-old girls aren’t ambitious? I walked 1.5 blocks to school and skipped home at high noon to watch Mighty Mouse, while mah mah, my Chinese grandmother, prepared lunch – usually leftovers of rice, soup, stir-fried greens of some sort and steamed fish, from the night before. Every gloriously hot summer, I chased down the unmistakable anthem of the neighborhood ice cream truck and pledged my allegiance to Firecracker Popsicles. Hours later, I fired squirt guns, ducked incoming water balloons and hurdled through our oscillating sprinkler, until I had outlasted the sun. Then, wide-eyed and jaw-dropped I sat, as my lightning bug friends transformed the entire front yard into a flickering-pixie-dust-night-show-extravaganza set to the tune of their own silent symphony and choreographed routine.
So many small, magical childhood memories. I thought I’d come home to that house forever.
As I log yet another new address for now, Move #18, I’d love to be able to tell you I’ve been away circumnavigating the globe Up-style or that I’ve been held under strict rules of a Witness Protection Program –as the reasons for my prolonged radio silence. Alas, the only thing that is true, is that I’m terribly sorry I’ve been away so long. Thank you for the cornucopia of kind emails. I’m touched and I’ve missed you guys too. This unexpected move back in the Bay Area feels good. Real good. Nearly a decade ago, I met my husband here. We went on our first date here. We fell in love here. Back exploring our old stomping grounds, everything is oddly familiar, yet shiny and new. There’s hot air balloon rides, beach picnics, county fairs, bounties of local food, wine, and of course, a backlog of new recipes to tell you about. I barely know where to begin.
The love of my life is next to me, as we sit at the hem of the big blue Pacific with the hills of Mt. Tam behind us and the fog humming towards the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
I am home. He is my home. The one I’ll come back to forever.