We have officially been at our current address for one year.
Unofficially, it was really a few days ago, since we got the key and spent the last 2-3 days of February moving in. As far as the paperwork is concerned, we have been co-owners of this complex for a full year as of today.
It feels kinda good.
I still don't get any sense of permanence. With so many of our moves being totally unexpected, I don't know that I will ever feel that way again. After all, even if nothing bizarre happens again, eventually the kids will move out and we'll have no need for such a large place. Even if we end up moving into a smaller apartment within the complex, it's still a move. I sometimes wonder, though, if we'll ever have that permanent place that will be totally and completely our own? I thought we had that when we moved back to my home town - both times - but ... well, life happens, right? *L*
One thing about all these moves - my definition of "home" is a lot more flexible. In one way, "home" will always be the farm I grew up on, but it's also wherever we happen to be living at the time. While I still feel vaguely transient, even after being here for a year, no other city we've lived in has felt so much like "home" to me. Youngest and I got to meet up with a local family that just started home schooling and was looking to connect with other hs'ing families. The mother is originally from Norway, has had a few trans-atlantic moves over the years, and has been living in this city for about half the time that we have. While we were talking, she happened to comment that, of all the places she's lived, this was where she felt the most at home in! It was interesting to hear someone else using the exact same words I have in the past about this city. I've lived in interesting, diverse and downright enjoyable places before, but somehow, here is where I've felt the most... well... at home! There's just no better word I can think to use. I hadn't noticed the lack of this sense in our previous moves, but after moving here, there was an unexpected feeling of comfort. Like putting on a soft, cozy sweater and suddenly realizing how my other ones were actually rather stiff and uncomfortable.
There's a strong and active arts community here; a wide range of ethnic diversity, and an acceptance of a variety of lifestyles and religious beliefs. There are the back-to-the-earth granola crunchers next to big industry complexes; luddites next to bleeding edge technophiles. In no other city have I seen so many Hummers and Smart Cars.
While some of these groups may not like the others much, compared to other cities I've lived in, they are remarkably tolerant of each other. There's a general acceptance and "live and let live" attitude that's more tangible than in other places we've lived in. Ironically, this is also one of the cities that I've heard many nasty jokes about how people here are such backwards neandrethals. Mostly by people who've never lived here, and quite a few who've never even visited. Funny, that.
With the first 3 1/2 years in this city spent in a perpetual state of "we're just living in this spot temporarily!" I guess it'll take a bit longer before I get over the feeling that we're just waiting to find our permanent home. Heck, we're still slowly trying to buy furniture without needing to think of having to move it again. It takes a lot longer when we only get things we can pay for in full, rather than on credit. ;-)
Is this move permanent? Probably not, as I mentioned earlier. Still, I do expect to live here for quite a few years, at least.
Who knows what the future will bring?