“So where do you plan to go next?”
I was having coffee with my Grandpa, who ranks up there with my brother Zeke on my list of favorite people ever. A die-hard republican and retired lawyer, my Grandfather finds my life amusing. He e-mails always began with, “Dear Peripatetic Kara.” I had to Google what peripatetic meant.
“I can’t decide. I’ve been on a Denver and Austin kick lately.”
“Well, I’m not sure I’d like Denver with all the flooding they’ve had—“
My grandfather evaluated location by its weather and tax rates.
“—But it seems to be a nice location for those who enjoy smoking pot.”
I’ll be sure to note that on my pro-con list. “But honestly, if I had to make the decision today I would go back to D.C. so I can be back with my friends. I just don’t think I can move to another city not knowing anyone.”
My grandpa stopped being phased by the things that came out of my mouth ages ago, but this got to him. “But Kara. One of the best parts of life is making friends.”
^ That conversation happened almost a year ago.
When Iowa went 10-0 last weekend (now 11-0, holla) I truly felt jealous of everyone back home. As my phone blew up with Snapchats of the scene on Melrose, I texted my brother, “I know I have one of the worst cases of FOMO in the world, but I hope in ten years I don’t regret all I missed out on back home.”
Then I went back and explained to Zeke what FOMO meant.
When I first moved to D.C., I hated it. I absolutely hated it here. I’m shocked I made friends those first six months because I must have been miserable to be around.
No one was overly surprised when I left a year and a half later. They were surprised when I kept coming back.
When I was still living in Pittsburgh, I came back from a weekend trip to D.C. My roommate asked me where I had stayed the past few days.
“My friend Keena’s.”
“I thought you said she was gone for the weekend?”
“She was. I have her spare key.”
“So you just…stay at her place without her there?”
“Is that weird?”
“No…it’s just…your friends go above and beyond for you. But I guess you go out of your way for them.”
I believe people gravitate toward scenes and situations most familiar to them. I was raised in a community where my parents were friends with their neighbors for 30+ years. I honestly think any one of them would drop everything for my parents if they needed them. I found a group of people who would drop everything for me, which is partially why I came back to this city. It’s a city where we bleed rent and get hammered from brunch instead of Busch Lite on Saturday mornings, but the people make it feel like home.
Due in part because I was such a piece of work the first time I lived here, I owe it to them to let it be my home for right now.
I am a grass is always greener person. Last week, I made a terrible mistake of browsing online for apartments in my neighborhood. I ended up wishing I had found a better deal on my own place—even though my apartment is one I happen to love.
I know I could own a home and have my own yard if I still lived in the Midwest, but focusing on that is making me forget I already live in my favorite city in the world.
The problem with being an anywhere-but-here girl is you never fully catch up to where you want to be. Therefore, you miss out on all the things surrounding you until the moment you leave. It’s fine to wish I was sitting next to my brother in Kinnick, but Iowa will always be there. I live in a transient city, and many people say it will never be home to them. I honestly think any place—even one you’re not fond of—can be your home, if only you let it.
From 17 hours away, I’ll still be praying for 12-0.
P.S. My friend Keena, who I mention in this post, turns 29 today. Everyone say happy birthday Keena.