Today is kind of a special day for me. It is the anniversary of the day I left Portland and moved to Philadelphia. There was no significance to the day when I picked it back in November 2001. I just went for the cheapest plane ticket I could find. It’s the only time in my life that I only used the first half of a ticket. I remember when the return date came and went, thinking that was it, I was now a Philadelphian.
I think back to the girl who just knew that moving to Philly was the right thing to do, and marvel at her conviction. There have only been two times in my life when I just knew what the next right step should be. The first time was when I was applying to college. I didn’t do a college search at all. When I was a junior in high school, I got a postcard in the mail from Whitman, and said, “this is where I’m going to college.” It was the only place I applied and I went. The second time was this move. I’m waiting for the next time I will know something with such certainty.
Last night I asked my mom what she thought when I first told her that I was going to move here. She said that she felt like it was the right thing to do, that the absoluteness with which I had announced the plan had made her accept it without a second thought. She said that she was also grateful, because my grandmother had been so alone since grandpa Sid had died, she needed someone.
The first eight months I was here were really hard. I didn’t know many people, I didn’t like my job, and my grandmother died. Then August arrived, and I met my friend Seth. Then Devon, Ted, Ingrid, Ellen, and Cindy. I started to feel really comfortable with Shay and the rest of the bookclub girls, and suddenly, I had people, community, friends, a life. A life that was good and of my own making.
When I first decided that I was coming here, I figured I would be here somewhere between 3-5 years. Now that I’m starting in on my fifth year, it doesn’t seem like nearly enough time. I really can’t say what the next year will bring, what kind of changes my life will go through, if suddenly I will know that it is time to leave. All I do know that my life here is good, and I’m deeply grateful to have listened to that voice in my gut that told me to make my life here.