Sunday, September 17th, 2006 • No Comments on It Feels Like Home
My life at the moment is much like the month of September… preparing for change. I hope my changes are as cheerful and brightly-colored as autumn.
After helping so many other people move lately, I guess the moving bug bit me. We spent some time yesterday house hunting. At first, it was just a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Then, as I found a house or two that I could imagine living in, it became a quest. A hunt for a new home, a place that would really feel like home and not just a house.
There is one coveted neighborhood in Norfolk that reminds me of a real city. Ghent is a far cry from the neighborhoods I fell in love with in Chicago, but it’s the closest thing we have to that eclectic blend of architecture, narrow streets, neighborhood businesses and green space. It’s where the liberals, gays, artists and other assorted oddballs live. Is it any wonder I feel like I should live there, too?
All of the houses I liked yesterday were at least a hundred years old. Our current house was built in 1993 and we bought it in 2000. Our previous house was new construction, also built in 1993. They have been good houses and I have made them homes, but there is no character to a house built in 1993, there is no history. Suddenly, these things feel like a necessity to me. A house with a good, solid foundation, which will stand the test of time (and hurricanes) for at least another hundred years. That seems like home.
After our house hunting excursion was over and we’d had lunch at my favorite local restaurant and settled in to study at the neighborhood coffee shop, I kept thinking about the houses I’d seen—all within a few blocks of where I was sitting. The thought of being able to pack up my laptop and walk a couple of blocks to write, to study, to get coffee, made me want to go knock on a door, any door within walking distance, and make an offer.
In that moment—sitting there in Fairgrounds, the rain coming down in sheets outside, a half-finished iced mocha on the table beside me, a half-read book on Popular Culture in my lap, a dozen people talking and studying while The Beatles sang the oddly appropriate “In My Life”—I felt like I was home.
In that moment, I was happy.