Where is home?

by Kim on February 22, 2012 · 53 comments

Like any big life change, leaving Oregon has filled me with a mixture of anticipation and nostalgia.  I want time to speed up and slow down simultaneously. Like some cartoon road race, I envision myself hitting the gas and then slamming the brakes, my neck flying forward then snapping back again as I take off in a jerky hobble towards the setting sun.

As excited as I am to start this next chapter of our lives, I am so sad to leave Oregon.

People ask us: Will you come back?  We don’t know.  I can’t imagine living anywhere else.  And yet, our parents are getting older, perhaps we should move nearer to Ohio?  Or, maybe we’d like a place with mountains and year-round sunshine: Denver?  Boulder? Maybe we’ll find some mountain town or beach oasis somewhere else in the world?  The possibilities are wide open.

Brian and I both grew up in SW Ohio, only 45 minutes apart from each other.  We met in college at Ohio University.  We fell in love and moved across the country together to Portland, Oregon.

Ohio is where I was born, where my family lives.  Oregon is where I came alive, where I began to understand that my life could be exactly as I dreamed.  Ohio is where my roots are. Oregon is where my heart is.  Which is home?  

For a long time we struggled with the decision to sell our Portland house.  It wasn’t the money we’d inevitably lose or the work that needed to be done to get it on the market, but rather, the thought of giving up ownership of our own little piece of Oregon that was so hard to come to terms with.

Our families will always call us back to Ohio, bleary-eyed and jet-lagged, no matter where in the world we are.

But if we sold our home in Portland, what would bring us back to Oregon?  What would physically tie us to this place we dearly love?

We eventually decided to sell anyway, choosing freedom over the security of a home that would bind us to one place.  But I love being bound to Oregon.  I could live here forever and be happy.

13 weeks left and I’m mourning our loss, even temporarily, of this wonderful place.  I’m going to miss our amazing friends, whom I’ve grown to love as family.  I’ll miss the beautiful mountains and the great beer, the forest runs with my girls, the walk home from work, the blissful, youthful energy that beats through this city when the sun starts to shine.

When people ask me, as they certainly will, where I am from- what will I say?  Am I from Ohio or Oregon?

The real answer, I suppose, exists somewhere in the middle.

But unless they have the time to hear the story of how I am from two places, a midwestern girl with a west coast spirit, I believe I will answer Oregon.  I’m from Oregon.  You must go there, I’ll say.  It’s a magical place.