update from the east

What a quaint college town.  In the summer. Which means this town is probably a pretty buzzing place during fall and spring.  But starts to close at around 7 p.m.  Some places stay open till 10:00.  There is certainly potential…

I’m sitting in a coffee shop: Uptown Espresso Bar.  You can probably guess: old wooden tables and chairs, and mismatched lamps, some on, some not.  A vague breeze blowing through the windows.  The (male) barista keeps dashing into the bathroom.  Totally normal.  Wasn’t all that hungry, but I think I’ll have to come back and try the quiche.  And the cookies. Both smell delightful.

This is a town full of pizza places.  I guess that’s also to be expected.  But I haven’t tried any of them yet.  I’m also a little nervous to try the Mexican restaurant.  I’m sure it’s fine, but I just left Texas and the disappointment would far overshadow the appreciation of melted white cheese and brownish-grey beans.

My first meal in Kutztown was at the Airport Diner, the only 24/7 establishment in town.  The menu is basically a binder and everything is the specialty.  I had some sort of chicken sandwich–good but ultimately forgettable.  My boss introduced me to the Pennsylvania German anomaly of “hot bacon dressing”.  Drenching iceberg lettuce.  Delicious, yes, but I’m still convinced I was eating iceberg and bacon grease.  Nothing “dressing” about it.

Went to the local farmer’s market/antique hall on Saturday.  Enjoyed an Italian Pretzel roll.  Meat and cheese in a pretzel.  Pretty sure I burned my tongue on the first bite, but also pretty sure it was worth it.

There are Mennonites everywhere right outside the town.  I took a pair of pants to get hemmed at a Mennonite Dry Goods Store (on reference from the department secretary).  (Yeah, I accidentally bought Long-Length pants.  Thought I could pull it off.  Nope. Just not that tall.).  The last few mornings after leaving the building in which I live (on campus), I turn around to hear the clop-clop, and see the black shape of a horse and buggy.

Not sure what I’m going to get used to first, the ubiquity of the horse-and-buggy or having an office.  Both are pretty damn cool.


I should know.

Moving ought to be old hat for me by now.  Four years in and out of college dorms, three years in and out of seminary dorms (well, one dorm, one room, three years.  Small miracle for this girl), two summers back and forth for internships, ten months of long-distance cavorting, and a move to the Lone Star state.  I ought to have this down.  Five days and 1645 miles later (who’s counting) I’m face-to-face with a summer of boxes, suitcases, and hauling junk up staircases.  The moving, the goodbyes, the transitioning, as routine as it is, never feels ‘normal’.  At least this time I could admit to being bad at change.
I fight it with every fiber of my being.

It always sounds like a fine idea; oh, sure, I’ll pack up and drive several hours away and start something new. I love meeting new people, I say.  I’ll get to know another town or city.  But then I get there.  And it’s not home, and I realize that my car was full of my stuff.  My people are back where I left them.  And it sucks.  Like a punch in the gut.

Forcing the strange to feel familiar to ease the dissociation.

The first time I moved to DC I had my own place and the silence was (pardon the cliché) deafening.  Oh, how I cried.  Museums will crowd you out with the loneliness if you let them.  I laugh at myself remembering that summer, though, because the first two weeks compared to the last couple months were like night and day.  I remember it now as one of my favorite summers.  Once it felt familiar, once I found my people.  Sometimes, though, even people can’t help the suck.  Moving to Waco should have been beautiful.  Living with friends, knowing people around Baylor and Waco.  The hard part would already be done.  I couldn’t let myself feel at home, though. Not in 105 degree heat, and not in wide-open, flat, awful Texas.  Not without him.  Oh, how I cried.  Fought hard.  I fought allowing Waco to become my home, and to allow the new people in.  But Waco won.  A week ago I drove away from the heat and humidity.  And drove away from home and family.

Change is hard.  Transition sucks.

But this time?  This time will be different, right?  Because this time I know.  That’s what I keep saying.
Here, let her tell you:

The only time that change was not so hard was starting seminary.  I loved it.  It was easy.  Some of the best friends I still have were some of the first friends I made in that perfect northeast town.  So this time, in some small way, feels like a return.  Closer to that place that settled immediately into home.  But it’s not Princeton, and my friends are closer, but not down the hall.

But I’ve come by faith.  Following opportunity and calling and the peace of ‘knowing’.  Still fighting, finding, searching, allowing home to be here.