When I moved to Philadelphia back in January of 2002, I thought of the move as a temporary. I figured that I would spend three or four or possibly even five years here before heading back out west. I had been a west coast girl my entire life and the idea of making myself at home anyplace else didn’t seem possible.
But then years passed and I started to really dig in to Philadelphia. It became so that I had far more friends here than I did back there in Portland. I started to establish some professional networks and discovered that Center City was really my own little small town. My church became like a second home and now I watch the three and four-year-olds running around after the service, remembering when they were anticipated concepts, stunned at how fast they’ve grown up.
From time to time, I read Robert Fulghum’s online journal. He’s the one who wrote “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Before he found fame with that book, he worked as a Unitarian Universalist minister and art professor. It’s no wonder I like him. His occasional posts always interest me, because he has the ability to find inspiration and beauty in the very small, everyday tasks and activities of life. I aspire to see and capture the world in the way he does. It was his entry entitled “Wandering Home Wondering” that inspired me to think about home, because he opens that essay with the question “where’s home for you?”
For a large portion of this fall, I thought that I would be leaving Philadelphia to pursue more grad school when I finished my current program in December. I was excited by the idea of more education, but really struggled with the thought of leaving this city. While I haven’t given up on the concept of further school, I’ve come to realize that I’m just not ready to leave. This feeling has been further cemented recently because one of my favorite one-removed first cousins and her partner have decided to move to Philly to be close to their new grandbaby. They’ve been living in Portland, but come May they’ll be east coasters and I can’t wait to have them around.
I still don’t know if Philadelphia is for me forever, but I also know that I don’t have to make any decisions right now. And right now life here is really terrific. So I’m calling it home.