One year ago today I left my beloved Salt Lake City and became a permanent resident of Arizona. A few weeks prior we had unpacked the moving van, but I had a few work responsibilities to wrap up before I could leave. I packed up my Mini Cooper, said goodbye to the dear friends who had been housing me, and sobbed as I drove south. Twelve hours later I pulled into my driveway and a little welcome party that Blue Eyes and his kids had been planning, balloons, streamers, cupcakes, big signs. It was tremendously sweet and the best thing to come home to, I’m sure I cried all over again. The last year has been full of so many adjustments, learning to live with Mr. Blue Eyes, trying to navigate my role as a stepmom, adjusting to working remotely and then re-adjusting to my new Arizona office. We’ve painted all the walls in our house, I’ve hung art and filled up the bookshelves, we built a backyard and have set off on adventures near and far.
I still don’t feel like Arizona is home. This valley is a harsh mistress, the sun and the heat continue to suck my soul (yes, it’s mid-December and I still have the air conditioner on), it has been slow going in making new friends and I have no family here. Our suburban neighborhood has been a huge adjustment from my downtown Salt Lake life. When I think of all My People who I left behind I still get a lump in my chest and tears in my eyes. I know, technology, we talk and email and text and heart things on social media. But, it’s not the same. I don’t know if this cracked earth will ever feel like it’s mine. And perhaps it doesn’t need to. Most people have one place they consider “home” above all others, sometimes it’s their childhood house, or their hometown, or their grandparent’s farm that they visited every summer, or something, somewhere.
I am not happy here.
There. I said it. There are good moments, good days, and sometimes even good weeks, but I am not happy.
Most people tell me that the first year is the hardest. My heart of hearts hopes that they are right. I truly hope that the next 12 months will have more acceptance, fewer days above 120* F, and more happiness.