On the flight into Sacramento, I realized that I'm not quite coming home, nor have I left home. Rather, I'm a sort of nomad waiting to connect all the pieces of home I've scattered across the country. I've officially moved into my house in Decorah, and hopefully with time it will feel like home. Having Bailey around helps, as well as putting up pictures and deocrations. Now I need furniture, but at least I have the essentials: a bed and couch!
First, I must say that Jenny and Jeremy helped make Christmas really great. I spent the holiday their family and children, eating too much food and enjoying interesting conversation. Playing with her baby stirred something in me that I haven't felt before ... but for now I'll stick to eagerly awaiting the babies of others and knitting cute baby items for said children.
Natalie and I set off on Monday to take Bailey and the rest of my things back to Decorah. Luckily, the weather was fantastic the entire way, and because Natalie could drive a few hours here and there we made really great time. We stopped at the Amana colonies in the middle of Iowa for a little bit to explore German culture by way of tourism and made it into Decorah yesterday. Along the way, we learned that the Midwest really likes Pink and George Michael (much to Natalie's happiness) on the radio, that humming makes you happier and a whole list of 'real dealbreakers' (thanks to some crazy radio station that gave these life types between songs in Nebraska), the BEST Denny's is in North Platte in Nebraksa (Pete our server was awesome because he gave us coffee to 'doll up' for our remaining ride), that the Armenians are starving for toast crusts (we listened to a really randomly weird but award winning book on tape), and that hotel rooms for smokers make you have really weird dreams (having a dog means a smoking room in Cedar Rapids, apparently).
Yesterday we went to the largest Target I have ever seen (it's in Rochester, Minnesota) to get household items, and luckily we both survived. It gets stressful with all the choices to be made and not knowing where anything is, then needing to purchase a substantial number of items. But I have a toaster oven, vacuum, shelves, a toothbrush and plenty of other things so I'm well on my way to making my house a home. No microwave though. I can handle a microwave-less house.
After our Target and Minnesota adventures (which included going to a liquor store called 'Bootleg' and purchasing whiskey and cranberry-moonshine), Natalie and I went to the local sports bar and tried fried cheese cruds. They're delicious - with deep fried cheese, how can you go wrong? We further adventured around Decorah by meeting some locals playing pool at a bar, who introduced us to more Decorah natives and in total, had a fun night out. The bars aren't that bad, pleasingly enough. Natalie loves Decorah - which she should - because I've come to find this part of Iowa pretty damn awesome. This means that all of you should come see for yourself.
Anyway - I'm currently at the public library because my neighbors all password protected their networks and I haven't set up internet yet. I don't know when that will happen, so I'm sorry to say that I still can't show you pictures of my house. But this isn't so bad - by the time I get the internet figured out, my house will look nicer because it will have my things in it.
And lastly, I bought a snow shovel today. I haven't needed to use it yet, but I'm ready. I'm ready for the snow, ready for Iowa, and ready for a spectacular 2012. This last year had many really great ups and many really low downs, but through it all I've ended up here. Here, where I'm living in a new place full of new adventures, starting an awesome new job and making new friends, and living a life I never imagined. Through everything I've become such a different person, but so much better in many ways. Now here, I'm ready for 2012.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS! Let's make 2012 awesome. It could be our last.