Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Slowly, very slowly... I begin to really like our new house. Not that I didn't like it before, it's just that it is hard, nearly impossible, for me to imagine how it feels like to live in a place for many many years... and I am beginning to think that maybe we will live in this house for a long time (we will? really? the skeptic in me cannot reconcile to this idea).

You see, that never really happened in my life... I've never had a "hometown," I've never known what having a family home (where you spent your childhood) to go back to feels like. A good metaphor for how  "unsettled/unsettling" my life is and has been is my "birth country" trauma, caused by the fact that I was born in a country which doesn't allow me to have its nationality.* And then there are the many times I moved (either places or from one rental house to another. Five years was the most I ever lived in one house (I did live in the city of São Paulo for 12 years, but moved a few times during this period). For my husband's family it was worse. We calculated once that in 20 years K's family had moved, I don't know, 13-15 times (including a house or apartment a year in one city).**

A few months ago I was having a hard time thinking that we had finally "settled down" somewhere, but I didn't blog about it at the time because I didn't really know how to say this (not that today I'm going to be any better). In fact, the idea of settling down sounds nearly incomprehensible to me after so many years in my life -- actually, my whole life, all 40 years of it -- moving from place to place and not knowing where I would end up. Unconsciously I keep thinking that we'll sell this house again and move elsewhere and start from scratch once more... because this is just what "normal" is in my life.

The funny thing is that when I met K, my biggest desire in life was to be able to have what I never had -- a stable place, give my children a "childhood home" and roots. However, in these 21 years together, I seem to have changed and become just like K was/is: he has always said that after the first traumatizing move he remembers in his life -- when he was 6 years old and followed by many others -- he just can't stand living in the same place for too long, that he needs new adventures. I had a hard time adapting to that kind of thinking, but when we left Brazil and moved here, I think that changed.

So... as I contemplate many years living in this area, having the boys grow up here (OK, they're pretty grown up by now, poor things, having moved a lot too), I feel torn between that old desire I had of putting down roots somewhere, and the impulse to experience new things.

Ultimately, I don't know what will happen (and sometimes I fantasize about K getting an offer to go somewhere after he gets tenure, but that's sooooo unlikely!)... so the best I can do is to enjoy this house, this region and let those roots grow... after all, we should "bloom where we're planted," right?

* I probably blogged about this before (at least in my 50 things about me posts), but if you don't know the story, I was born in Geneva, Switzerland when my dad was studying in France (right on the border) and my mom was doing an specialization at the University of Geneva. There's only one small detail... Switzerland refused to give anyone born there their citizenship... they're just "too good." As a result, I spent my whole childhood being told "Oh, you're Swiss" and replying angrily -- no, I'm not!! I'm Brazilian!" Sigh...

** Of course I know that it's even worse for "army families" because then it's around the world...

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