I have less than two weeks left in Charleston.
That’s 13 days,
and roughly 312 hours until I pack up and move back to Kentuckyland.
I do love Kentucky. I love my family and I am excited about being home for a few months. I’ll be able to see family and friends that I haven’t seen in a while (or never met before, like Shellie and Rob’s little Harper). It’s cliche to say, but I know that no matter how far I go and no matter how long I’m gone, I will always be welcome at home. That little old dot on the map in the western corner of Kentucky will always be my “home”. However, I have felt that for a long time the need to go, to explore, to do something with my life, something that I feel I can’t do in that little pocket of Kentucky. And for that reason, sometimes Kentucky doesn’t really feel like home.
“You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone. …You’ll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something. I don’t know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.”Andrew, Garden State (2004)
On the other hand, I sort of feel like Andrew in 2004’s Garden State. I don’t really know where my “home” is. Now, I don’t mean to say that to make me sound ungracious or that I never miss my family back in Kentucky or the familiarity of places I’ve lived (and if you know me at all, you know I’m nostalgic), but there’s a feeling that I haven’t come into my own yet, so I keep looking. Nomadic, more or less. Surely I’m not the only person who goes through this. I think your 20s especially are a time when you try to find where you fit and who you are.
Moving back to my parent’s house in Kentucky temporarily is bittersweet. I will be sad to drive over the Connector, past Charleston harbor, and up I-26 one last time. I will miss the people who have been my Charleston family–The Christophers (Steve, Liz, Corinna, Sydney, and precious Luke), Jena and Patrick, my zombie/geek-loving/wine night friends (Jared, Niquie, Tessa, Lindsay, Chuck, and Tucker), my Coastal Community Church family (headed by Pastor Chris), any of the Grice marine biology people, my roommate the artist (Amanda), and some of the people I’ve befriended at the MG&C law firm (Bethany, Ashley, Julie, Catherine, Amanda J., Amanda B., Tee, Ashton, and Katie). After living in Charleston for three years, there are a lot of connections I have made that I will miss. And the FOOD! Oh my, the food. They don’t have the same variety back in Princeton like they do here, and that will be sad indeed. I will also miss the beach being a short drive from my house and movie nights with Disney marathons or zombie flicks or shows or books that only a few of my friends love to watch and talk about.
I will miss the children.
I have about four or so families that I’ve come to be the chosen babysitter for here. Most notably, my nanny charges, the Christopher children. Corinna, Sydney and Luke I will miss the most. I babysat for them last night while their parents had a date night. I’ve watched them grow up over the past year, especially Luke. Babies grow up so, so fast. He was just pointing and grunting at things when I started and now we’re at the dinner table and he’s saying things like, “Napkin, please, Rah Rah.” GAH! He then proceeded to wipe down his entire body with the napkin, not just his hands.
Sydney wanted to show me how much better she was at painting now, and painted me a picture. Corinna was playing a spy game and had to take our fingerprints on paper by dipping them in paint. Luke is now using big-kid toothpaste; instead him just brushing, he’s using the kind where he has to spit and swish water (which he did all over the bathroom). We had a “spa night” after Luke went to bed in which I gave them a facial and put cucumbers on their eyes and painted their nails green for St. Patrick’s Day. I asked them if they knew I was moving away from Charleston soon, and they did. I told them we could talk on the computer and see each other that way. Corinna said, “Yeah, but it’s not as good.” I could’ve cried, but I held it back. (I actually am now as I’m typing this). She led us in the “now I lay my down to sleep” prayer before they went to bed, as usual, with a “…God bless Daddy, Mommy, Corinna, Sydney, Luke, and Ms. Sarah, Amen.” They think of me as an extension of their family. How do I leave that?!? Maybe I can rationalize what I’m doing in my mind, and it is really what I want to do, but I don’t know how to explain that I want to find place and I want to travel to them. Hopefully Luke will still remember me; after I had stopped nannying for them and being there every day, he was mad at me the next time he saw me–he thought I abandoned him!
Likewise, I can’t say enough about Jena and Pat. Jena has been my best friend since we both moved into the Grice dorms to start the marine biology program. She dragged me to social events even when I vehemently did not want to go because I am such a homebody. I got to share in being in Jena and Pat’s wedding last October. We’ve consumed copious amounts of coffee, wine, margaritas, bourbon, pie, and meat (since Pat is a vegetarian and hey, somebody has to eat that stuff). We’ve fan-girled together over British television and Sci-fi, both of us having similar likes and dislikes. We had a period where we would inadvertently dress alike. We complete each other’s sentences. We joke that we are the same person. Patrick rolls his eyes at us simultaneously. I have the pink Princess key to their house, not that I need it because I’m there almost as much as I’m at home.
The Christopher’s, Jena, and Pat all let me celebrate my first Christmas away from home with them. I missed my family and our traditions, but I knew I was home here too–because of them.
But this particular chapter is ending, and a new one is starting soon. Sometimes life moves so fast that my brain and senses can hardly keep up and before I know it, I feel this part will fade into my memories of when I lived in Charleston. I will finish up my last week of work at MG&C this week, greet my Mom, Dad, Aunt, and Uncle when they arrive, and live it up in Charleston as much as I can before I head back to Kentucky. I hope to see all my Charleston family again soon.