The longer I live in the city, the more I miss the three towns I call Home. Two are right next to each other and the third is less than 10 miles away. I lived in the two neighboring towns while in college, and would go to the third at least once a week. It took me well into my sophomore year of college to really start feeling at home there, and really start fitting in and being myself. It was at some point during that same sophomore year that I finally felt like I belonged somewhere which was something I had not experienced up until that point (which was a good 20 years). One of my parents still doesn’t get why I fit in there, but am so lost and at odds, and feel like I don’t belong in the city I grew up in. Growing up I never really felt like I belonged, whether it was school, church, or wherever. I could not find a group that I just clicked with, and settled in. Don’t get me wrong I did have friends growing up, but there was always something missing. What was missing was the sense of home, belonging and purpose.
My church family in the area where I went to college became my family, and they are more my family than some of my own blood relatives.
The small rural farming towns in this area became my home, when I finally allowed myself to grasp the fact that I fit in somewhere and that these people liked me for who I am, and not just because of who I am related to. Even though I live where I am, where I lived in college is still my home. They say Home is where the heart is, and I left my heart in those three rural farming towns. Everyday I am reminded that I don’t currently live there, yet it seems like I never left. Even my “sister” had forgotten for a bit. It was sometime after 1 (and I had been there since 11:30) and she came over and was like “I haven’t said Hi to you yet.” not because she hadn’t seen that I was there, but it was more like “Erica’s here, why wouldn’t she be here, Oh yeah, she doesn’t actually live here at the moment”.
Some of the things I love about the general geographic area I live in (ie from Eugene to the Seattle area) is how easily accessible good gluten free and dairy free is. That is also one of the things I love about these towns is that while the are rural farm towns in the middle of Oregon’s farm, wine and hops country, they are only about 75ish minutes from the coast, and about the same travel time wise (as long as traffic is good) from Portland, where there is Bob’s Red Mill, several malls (one in which I am used to, and close to Bob’s Red Mill) and the whole advantages of the big city ideology. At the same time there is a larger college town about 30 minutes from two of the towns that has a Market of Choice (which is similar to Whole Foods and New Seasons). Why all of this is important to me, is because I don’t eat foods containing dairy or gluten.
While I would not be adverse to living somewhere else, knowing where I can find the kind of food I can eat, since I have to be careful about what I eat, and diligent with reading labels having these stores handy makes my life a lot easier, less stressful and more enjoyable. The only reason I am not living there is I haven’t been able to find a job down there.