This morning I unexpectedly said good-bye to my favorite allergy shot nurse. I have an appointment scheduled in two weeks, but she realized that she would out for the summer by then, and this was our last time to see each other. We hugged warmly and wished each other well. She is always so friendly and bubbly over with positivity, in a genuine and caring way, but also a little kooky too. I thanked her for always being so friendly, to which she responded, laughingly, "But I'm also kinda weird!" She's always asking me about school and my vacation plans, in way that isn't just chitchat but shows that she truly wants to engage with her patients and know them as people. There's a good chance that I may never see her again. While I won't truly miss her, there is still a sadness in saying good-bye to someone that I've seen weekly or monthly for over three years.
And so the good-bye have begun.
The last couple of weeks, it's really hit me that I'm leaving soon. I've frequently felt brief pangs of sadness as I think about the people and places that I'm going to miss. Despite being busy with papers due, I've been motivated to consistently spend time with those who are are dear to me. Living here for almost four years, I've really put down roots in this place, the first home that I've established for myself as an adult. I've found a great community and have my habits and rhythms of where I go and what I do on a regular basis. I truly consider it home, and sometimes experience confusion when people refer to the place I grew up where my parents still live as home. "When are you going home?," someone asked me. "I'm going back to college station Sunday afternoon." "No, I mean when are you moving from college station?" "Oh . . . " Recently I've thought about how "home" is shifting for me. In two and a half weeks, the BCS won't be my home anymore. I don't really consider my parent's town as home, since I'll only be staying there for about a month and a half, so it just feels transitory. Then I'll probably only be living in Kansas City for a year, which seems like too short of a time to call it home as well. DFW will probably always be one "home," but maybe the BCS will be a secondary home, as long as I have people here who feel like family to me.
At times in the past couple of weeks, I've even found myself wishing that I wasn't leaving. Four years ago, I could have never predicted feeling this way! But even if I feel that way from time to time, I know it's the right time to leave. I'm excited about my travel plans for the summer and excited about moving to a new city in a new part of the country. Great opportunities await me that I wouldn't be experiencing if I stayed here. But I think it's ok to both wish to stay in one place and to be excited about going to another. Just because I love living here doesn't meant that I'm also not excited about living somewhere else. It's just that right now, when I'm in the middle of good-byes, what I'm leaving behind is more salient than I'm headed into.
This week, in addition to the impending good-byes, the realization of just how much I need to do before I leave has struck me. Dissertation data analysis, the packing, sorting, selling, throwing out, & giving away of the things in my apartment, and closing the residence hall are the big things. But there's also many little things that really add up, like changing my address, going to the dentist, finding new health insurance, etc. Fortunately, this realization is motivating me to get these things done, so hopefully this next week will be a productive one.