Even after being in Austin for over seven months, I am often homesick. Homesickness, thankfully, isn't debilitating. But it shows up in the strangest ways.
I still love to look at photos of my house in Charleston in Wagener Terrace. Not only did I love that house and lived there for eight years, I adored the neighborhood. I have some good memories of that house. I wrote my first book in my home office in that house. I got my puppy in that house and met so many wonderful neighbors walking that little furball around the neighborhood. I trained her in the side yard. She played with her dog friends in the back yard. Someone else lives there now.
I miss azaleas. I miss Hampton Park. I miss Lulu's dog friends. I miss my family. I miss my sunroom. I miss my sweet neighbor Therese, who used to bring me the loveliest leftover dinner plates with ethnic and organic food. She once cooked me Ethiopian food simply because I mentioned I'd never tried it. I miss Carl and Donna across the street. There was something comforting on weekend mornings about watching them work in their yard or on their house. I miss my monkey, who lived a block up the street after he moved out and used to bring me fresh tomatoes from his garden. I miss Tom and Ellie and Lulu misses Nando, their Havanese - the first dog love she had at only 8 weeks old. I miss my freelancer friends I used to have lunch with at Earthfare's cafe. I miss my BFF, who used to come over and eat Chinese food from Hot Mustard with me at least once a week. I miss Doretha, Angie, Linda, Janet, Jason, Aluette, Jay (and Tater!), Sabrina, Margaret, Ida, Amy, Leigh, Lee, Misty, Archie, Colleen, and so many more.
I never really needed my GPS in Charleston, since I grew up there, but in Austin, Samantha (GPS voice) and I communicate frequently. I couldn't find my way around Austin without Samantha. But I am going to confess for the first time here: My "home" setting in my GPS is still Grove Street in Charleston. I haven't changed it.
I haven't gotten a Texas driver's license or Texas tags for my car yet. My tags don't expire until next month, and my license is good until 2011, so I figured it was OK to wait. If I get pulled over, I figured I'd just tell them I recently relocated. Something about switching tags and getting a Texas license makes it feel so permanent, and makes me feel a little like I can't go home if I wanted to RIGHT NOW. I don't, but I like having the option.
Sometimes when I dream, even now, I dream in Charleston. And sometimes I wake up and I'm surprised to be in a room I don't recognize. Where are my blush pink walls, my 1940s glass windows, my high ceilings, my hardwood floors? And then I remember: I am in Texas.
So maybe I've been dragging my feet a little bit, literally and figuratively. But next month, I'm going to have to go wherever one goes to switch tags. I will also have to have my vehicle inspected, as they do that in Texas. And get a new license at the DMV.
I'm making new friends here, new memories, and there is a strong chance that someday years from now I will look back and feel so much nostalgia for Austin that I can hardly stand it. But it's new to me still and that's not a bad thing. I know it will eventually feel like home. And I needed this change of scenery. I need to be here.