Upon coming home and nestling into the comforts of the life I knew for 18 years, it took no time at all to feel like I was in high school again driving a 1983 Subaru with horrible side bangs. Surely, I've noticed and appreciated things about my small hometown now that I've experienced the very opposite of it day after day, but also in falling back into my regular routines I've seen that it's exactly that comfortable routine that is so different than my life in Seattle. In Seattle, every single thing is a new experience to me. In both Moscow and Missoula, my life is already laid out for me. Everything is comfortable. I know those places in and out. I know my place and I have my niches. In Seattle, I eat at different places every single time I eat out. I explore different parts of the city every weekend. I'm always on high alert mode so that I am on track to get to and from where I need to go. Mentally, it's a completely different way of life, too. Seattle requires my undivided attention. It almost feels like a game sometimes as to whether I can really do it all.
One of my closest friends from Moscow is living in a city in France for the summer and for all of next semester. We were talking about how life in Moscow and living in a city is so drastically different from one another and what parts of it we liked and didn't like when she commented on the fact that the biggest shock isn't the fast paced way of life in a city, but rather how it feels to simply not have any ties to the city or much of a bearing on where we are. I know what she means. I feel like I could spend every single day doing something in a new part of the Seattle area without ever getting bored or repeating a day once. I simply can't ever know Seattle as well as I know Moscow or Missoula and surely not in a summer. I feel like I'm running around with my head cut off most of the time without ever really attaching any ties to any one place here. I may like a coffee shop next to my work or enjoy a sandwich at the shop down the block but I have no memories anywhere. Building a new life is so new and liberating but at times emotionally exhausting. I know there have been moments when I just wished I could have a pocket of the city that was strictly my own that I could attach the same feelings of comfort to, similar to the feeling of my mom making me a grilled cheese in the kitchen of the house I grew up in. Which might be asking for too much, however, even in Missoula I have those places I go to that are always a comfort because they remind me of some memory or they're part of my routine somehow.
It's confusing at times. I'm having the time of my life and then I have crippling moments of anxiety when I wish I could just experience five minutes of home. It's pushing me and I know it's making me reach harder than ever to make those ties to my surroundings. At the same time, Seattle seems to be a place that I've been able to see myself thriving in more than any other place I've ever visited. Settling and creating a life takes time. I'm starting to get to the phase of settling with friends I see regularly and places I've started to frequent. That helps. And even being home, I'm reminded that my time in Moscow has expired and my place is in all of the unfamiliarity that Seattle offers.
But sometimes, I just wish those pockets of comfort were as accessible as Moms' grilled cheese. And I've soaked up my time at home as much as possible to take the feeling back with me to Seattle.