My Place in the World

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As a kid, moving from town to town and state to state was my normal, my sense of familiar – like lollipops from a bank teller or the sound of the ice cream truck in summer. We moved dozens of times. From Alabama to Tennessee. From Tennessee to Arizona. From Arizona to Tennessee. To somewhere else in Tennessee. To yet another tiny Tennessee town. To the Netherlands. Back to Tennessee. To South Carolina. And so on. And so on. And so on…

I envied kids who grew up with the same group of friends, going through life together. Riding bikes and skinning knees. Acne and first kisses. Getting older, growing into long limbs. Becoming who they were meant to be and remembering what one another looked like when they were awkward and pimply and wearing braces.

Somewhere along the line, something shifted in me though. And while a large part of me still loves the idea of stability, of an unwavering, unchanging day-to-day, an even larger part of me loves a new setting. A new challenge. New faces and places.

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My absolute favorite thing in the world is going somewhere new for the first time and meeting the people who call that place home. Whether it’s a quaint village nestled on the hilly Italian coastline or a one-stoplight town smack dab in the middle of Wisconsin. There’s just something exhilarating about discovering, about being my own brand of diplomat, bringing stories of where I’ve been and looking to meet people who can tell me their own.

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This wanderlust is why I thought I might never want to put down roots somewhere. I mean, putting down roots just sounds so permanent, right? A plant, a tree, a shrub with roots digging deep into the soil and keeping it grounded, keeping it in place. Being kept in one place is a notion that frightens me. What if I can’t fit this place? What if this place can’t fit me? What if my leaves don’t flower and bloom?

But planting roots is exactly what I did. What we did. What I couldn’t have done had it not been for the other part of that “we.” Because I finally decided that wherever my husband is, well, that’s really my home. That’s really where my roots are. And, if I’m being honest, Wisconsin has grown on me.

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Milwaukee’s become a place I can’t imagine not knowing. A place I love being a young professional. A place I feel like I just might matter. Plus, I really like the beer and cheese here. And the people aren’t so bad either.

Here’s to one month in a house, planting my roots.

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