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The moving truck arrived today.  It’s the first time I’ve had a moving company move my stuff since living with my folks.  It feels a bit like a landmark in adult life.

Granted, you can move dozens of times as an adult without a moving truck.  I know.  I’ve done it.  Not dozens of times.

13 times to be exact.  In my adult life.

The Big Island to Seattle. Seattle to Lund, Sweden. Lund to Stockholm, Sweden.  Stockholm to Berlin, Germany.  Berlin to Tromso, Norway.  Tromso to the Big Island.  The Big Island to Ithaca, New York.  Ithaca to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Philly to Anchorage, Alaska.  Anchorage to Fairbanks, Alaska. Fairbanks to Portland, Oregon.  Portland to Vancouver, Washington.  Vancouver to Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Not to mention the moves as a kid.

I was born in New Jersey and spent my childhood in Southern Florida.  Middle and high school years were spent in San Diego and then the parents relocated to Hawai’i and I followed.  I left the islands when I was 23.

One of my strongest childhood memories was in Florida.  It was a cool, greyish and probably rainy morning.  I recall using the rows of moving boxes in the living room as my labyrinth.

My friends at school had asked me on the playground, “Aren’t you sad to be leaving.”

I recall my answer.  A very matter of fact “No.”

I liked my school and Florida just fine.  But perhaps even at this early age, my tendency for leaving places was already built in.  Fortunately, I was born to parents who had the same tendency, at least for several years of their life.

Perhaps the deeper meaning to the playground question was “Aren’t you sad to leave us?  Aren’t you sad to leave your friends and what you already know?”

Again, the answer is no. I don’t have a heavy heart from leaving people. I am an avid correspondent and passionate pen pal.  You can always have contact with me. The excitement of experiencing a new place has typically outweighed the sadness of leaving a place, even a place I adored.

And there’s also that adrenaline rush of uprooting.  I’ve noticed a little pattern of magic endings too, not in all places, but enough.  Once I’ve decided that I will be on my way soon, it’s as if a place almost opens up more.  There’s a certain thrill in the last few weeks of being in a place.  I feel blessed in a way to have known so many people who relish in my adventure and staying in touch to hear the tales, as well as knowing many people along the path who are avid movers and adventurers themselves.

“Where are you from?” is the question I face everywhere.  Some people immediately understand the elusive response I’ve started to give- “Nowhere particularly.”  Others press forth.  You must be from somewhere.

One of my  favorite, albeit infuriating, exchanges stemming from this question was with an individual who was simply determined to figure it out.  After I did a quick recap of my moving history to illustrate that really, I can’t really peg a place I am from, they asked, “Well, where were you born? “

“New Jersey.”

“Ah,” they responded, “Then you are from New Jersey.”

At this point, I didn’t bother to mention that I left NJ when I was still a baby.  I returned only once, when I was visiting NYC.  I had some time to kill and decided to board the train to New Brunswick, NJ to see if it “felt” like my roots.

Nope, didn’t feel the roots.

I had even called my parents from the train, excited to tell them about this soul searching mini adventure.  They seemed slightly perplexed. Having raised their daughter in several different towns, perhaps they saw it as some sort of place-identity crisis.  Maybe it was.  But I had to, at least once, visit the city of my birth.  Done.

These days, when I think of roots, I definitely think of the Big Island immediately.  Home.  It’s where my parents have settled and the Hilo airport is one place I arrive and immediately unwind.  Family is a keystone part of the definition of home, certainly. Home is one of my favorite words, perhaps because I’ve spent years seeking it out, only to realize my wanderlust is an engine that drives me on to explore new places.  The places I loved and sensed as homes are places I inevitably left.  But the memories are strong and as sweet as the experience of being there.

I could write for days about “home” but will save some thoughts for later posts.  Now for a couple of photos.

I eloped a few weeks ago.  Some people knew it was coming while it surprised many others.  I’m glad we eloped. All of the detail oriented planning that goes into a ceremony will instead go towards a Big Island celebration at a future date.

Just over a year ago, the hub and I visited the Big Island and my parents.  I rarely do people pictures, but here’s one of us on our first night on the Big Island, dining with my folks.

MikeAnnika2md

Experiencing the volcano on the same trip, November 2008. She’s a beauty.

Volcano1md