Twenty-three years ago today I arrived in Tennessee in my shiny, bright, blue Toyota Tercel, loaded with most of my worldly goods.
I drove up a big hill and unpacked my belongings into Jill & Jane's place, where I lived for my first month in Tennessee. I secured an apartment for Tammy & I; we had mutual friends and had spoken on the phone. Our mutual friends said we had met at a retreat during college, but on that July summer day when Tammy opened the door to our apartment, we both agreed that we had never seen each other before that moment. A month later, Suzanne would join our apartment, making it a trio.
A year after I arrived in Tennessee, both Tammy & Suzanne had moved back to the Upper Midwest and I would be married to 'my friend, Kip.' When I think of those early days of Tennessee, many, if not most, of those friends have moved away.
Growing up in Minnesota, I had always wanted to move South, where it was warmer. I had wanted adventures, to see places, to live overseas. After college I began my quest for adventure by applying for jobs outside of my home state. I interviewed in California and Michigan. I landed the Michigan job, where I spent my first year out of college. It was a trying, difficult year, but it honed my desires, specifically I realized that I didn't care as much what I would do for a career or what kind of adventures that I would have or where I would live but I definitely knew who I wanted to be with: Kip.
So I swallowed my feminine pride that wanted him to chase me, took a risk, and moved across the country to see if this friendship with Kip Jaeger might work out. And work out it did! We'll be celebrating our 22nd anniversary next month.
I needed to fly away from the home and family that I love dearly to find my own wings and to become my own person. I had no idea all that the journey would entail. Of course, none of us know that when we begin any journey or adventure. The unknown is part of the thrill & the excitement.
During these twenty three years, I have grown roots here in Tennessee and call it home. I have two homes now: Minnesota and Tennessee. Although the picture book Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say depicts a man torn between his two homes of Japan and the U.S.A, it accurately describes the emotional part of my story: both places are home, yet neither place is fully home.
Yet, perhaps that is as it should be. I am an alien and stranger on this earth waiting for my heavenly home, my true home. Although I have never been there, it is more home than any place I have ever been.
Twenty-three years ago today, this Minnesota lake girl landed in Music City to be near the love of my life. My journey here has been so much more but that's how it began and I'm celebrating that beginning today.