To move halfway across the country feels like being permanently lost. It is a leaving behind and a starting anew at the same time. Moving halfway across the country is one big, expensive, stressful adventure. Innumerable new sights surround you and you can only wish for one small, familiar thing – like that restaurant down the street that you used to visit every week. But at the same time you know that those familiar things, those things that you left behind, wouldn’t belong here. They can only exist in that place you left behind.
I have traded small, cold towns and cornfields for big heat-besieged cities, a new language, and palm trees. I have traded a big brick house at the end of a country road for a small spanish apartment with decorative but protective iron crisscrossing the windows. I have traded silence only broken by crickets to a ceaseless cacophony of spanglish and car horns. The clear night sky has been replaced by a burning sol that never sets and a heat that turns every distance into a mirage.
I have an Indiana-sized lump in my throat and an Indiana-sized hole in my chest. However, as the days go by, the continuous Florida rain slides down the windows outside and washes the Indiana dust out of my heart. And as the lizards skitter across the sidewalk to avoid my footsteps and my bike tires while I explore this new fantasy-land full of towering, vine-covered trees, stone fountains, and cars that never slow down, that Indiana-sized hole is starting to fill up with a new, Florida-sized acceptance and curiosity.
“If we only had a little bit up here that was familiar … then we could make room for al that’s strange. But when everything, every single thing is strange, then it takes forever to make things familiar.” – Ray Bradbury, from the “The Strawberry Window”