Growing up, I never wanted to move away from my town. I grew up with friends whose parents had grown up together here, went to high school together, were related to people around the block and across the street. I wanted that connection to a place. I thought my friends and I would grow up, go off to college and come back here to become the new generation of grown ups who grew up together.
I wanted to have roots somewhere. The kind of roots my dad had wanted when he picked this area, out of all the towns in the country, to move to when he came to America to start a new life over 30 years ago when he was not quite a child but not quite an adult yet barely 20 with a wife, a baby and barely speaking a word of English. My mother came to America when she was 15, used to a strict catholic upbringing in a country I've only read about and have yet to step foot in.
When they met and married they settled here in my town, built a life together, and put down roots. Over the years we moved five times, always in the same town. I grew up here, have friends I've known over 20 years, see my former teachers when I work in the elementary schools, have has kids who were my campers now come back this past summer as counselors. I can go anywhere here and be guaranteed to bump into a former classmate, coworker, parent, random by association acquaintance. My boss now has known me since I was 5 years old and attending the recreation program I now work for.
This is what I always wanted when I was growing up. To live in a town where everyone knows each other, to be around people who have a history together, to be able to grab a cup of coffee with a friend who has known me since I was three feet tall and send my own children to the same elementary school I went to.
Then the summer before my sophmore year of college I decided that I wanted to transfer and go away to school. On a whim I went to an open admissions day in Providence, RI and the rest is history. Living away from my hometown changed me. I learned a lot about myself but mostly I learned that there was a whole world out there that I wanted to explore. I never wanted to move back. At first I was all set to stay in Providence after graduation and find a job in Rhode Island or commute into Boston. My then boyfriend was from Massachusetts and we got the idea that we'd move back to his hometown, into his family home after his parents retired to Florida. We made plans about what we'd change about his childhood home, where we'd apply to work, just all those random decisions you imagine making when you decide you are going to have a future somewhere.
It didn't work out that way, obviously. We moved back here because I got a good job offer that at the time seemed worth it. We always planned to stay just long enough to work, get promoted and be able to transfer somewhere else.Truth is, not all of my old friends have stuck around here, and the ones who have aren't planning on staying. Neither are my parents or my brother. So what's holding me back then? My relationship didn't last but my desire to move somewhere else has .Some days I can't think about living anywhere but here....but those other days?
I want to go. Explore the world. Visit Europe again. Move to Italy or Spain. Head back to Rhode Island or find a place in Boston. Find a job in Brazil and go. Move near family in Virginia Beach or Austin or Dallas. Au Pair in Prague or Budapest. Head back to where my dad grew up and live more simply in Uruguay. Lately, since I've started blogging and also looking into different career opportunities, I've learned of all these other wonderful places that never occurred to me before as options for me...random cities in Arkansas, Nashville & Memphis in Tennessee, Denver Colorado, Louisville Kentucky. Teach English in Venice, Verona or Vienna. Finding a small home full of southern charm in Charleston, South Carolina.
I want to go. Who knows what's out there just waiting for me? How will I know if I never try? Years ago, my parents both took their chances leaving what they knew and starting over in a new place, and they were both much younger than I am now and started out with much less. I'd like to think that they both have never regretted their decisions...and I'd also like to think that neither will I.
Besides, you can always go home again, right?