two weeks ago my dean at the school of public health asked me if i thought i made the right decision in accepting the job here in NYC. i didn't really think too much about it when he asked; i just replied with how happy i was working for him, which is true. but that transition has been hellish at times. and i definitely didn't take the decision-making process lightly. one year on, i can hardly believe that i'm here, on the other side of the transition.
the main thing i know is that i definitely have two homes. i still feel at home in sydney, even though i'm not there. i feel at home here, and laugh at myself when i think about how scared i was of NYC. but i don't feel so much like i have one foot on each continent any more. i feel settled here. i feel like i know the groove of work, the yoga peeps, how to navigate the commutes (except when i trip and fall on my face), and where to go for the best bagels or brunch. it's comforting to know i can be at my parents' house after only a few short hours on amtrak; it's heartwarming to know i've already spent time with my new nephew three times since his birth less than 10 months ago.
as someone who has spent her entire childhood moving, i know what it's like to have to pack up. feeling at home in a certain community or city is something that is less familiar to me. sydney was the first place i really remember feeling that, and i think it's kind of like letting go of a first love to admit that i feel at home here now. it took me about six years to fully let go of my first love, and that relationship was less than a year. so i don't expect to be able to let go of the heartbreak of loving another city just yet.
last night adi asked me why i was so upset about a fight with a friend. i thought for a moment, and came up with two reasons: i don't like giving up on people; and i've spent my life losing friends--i'm not interested in losing more. i was kind of shocked when i heard myself say it, but i know it's true. i've left behind more best friends than most people have in their entire lives. writing hand-written letters as a child was hard to keep up with. i would always do it for a few months and then eventually lose contact. sure, online social networks have helped me reconnect with some, but it's not the same as having a continuous long-term friendship.
i know i'm also lucky; i can visit friends in most states and continents. but i think this is also why leaving sydney was the hardest. i had been there so long that i felt at home in the city and in my friendships. i know that i haven't "lost" sydney, or the friendships there. but they change. and this girl that was so used to moving away didn't want to have to be used to it anymore.
but after the last 8 years, i'm now used to something else: making my home through non-traditional methods. my friends and family that i hold in my heart are there most often through Facebook, Instagram, Skype, email, texts, Twitter, FaceTime, Snapchat, Tumblr, WhatsApp, shared photo clouds, etc.
and so i'm home here now. my virtual home surrounds me and all of my best friends live in my heart; regardless of their physical location. just call me a turtle: i'm carrying it all with me, it all constantly swirls in and around me, and that is how i feel at home.
so to everyone who keeps asking how i feel here: home, i feel home. if you're not here physically, i am excited to be in the same place as you soon. if you are here, thank you for helping make this my home.