I’m tired of being uprooted. Since my freshman year at Calvin, I’ve packed up and moved into Bennink Hall, back home, into Bennink again, back home, into an apartment, back home, into a house, back home, into my Ann Arbor house, into a summer sublet in Lansing, and back to Ann Arbor.
I’m tired of shoving my clothes into plastic bins and brushing bits of dried kale out of empty refrigerator drawers. I’m ready to stay somewhere and fully claim it as mine.
Precisely one year ago, I wrote about my budding love for Ann Arbor, my grad school home and the only non-Grand Rapids city I’d ever known. Three hundred and sixty-five days have passed since that initial post. I’ve walked along the Huron River on foggy evenings. I’ve plunged through snow drifts and shielded my face against negative-degree wind chills at bus stops. I’ve briefly defected to Lansing for a summer internship with the state government. I’ve written papers about Great Lakes water policy while chugging Earl Grey tea in an achingly hip coffee shop. I’ve cried into lonely glasses of Trader Joe’s wine and laughed with friends over the latest season of Doctor Who.
After a year, Ann Arbor life feels comfortable. I know exactly how long I can stall on Sunday mornings without being late for church. My grocery list rarely changes. I come home every day to a house that I love and chat in the kitchen with my two wonderful housemates. I’ve seen a year of seasons come and go, walked the leaf-strewn streets of October and the soggy mess of March. I can predict how early the first tailgater will show up in my front yard on crisp football Saturdays.
But this town won’t be mine for much longer. Rent payments have nearly wiped out my savings, so in about a month, I’ll be moving into my aunt and uncle’s farmhouse forty-five minutes away.
As I walk past the Little Free Library on the corner of my street, I’m already planning where I’ll park when I commute to campus for my final semester. I’m tallying the pantry items I need to eat so I don’t have to schlep them with me when I leave. I’m steeling myself to say goodbye to the cats curled on my comforter, the easy walk to campus, the spontaneous lunches with friends and Netflix nights with housemates.
I already miss this place.
Geneva Langeland (’13) survived graduate school with minimal blood loss, escaping with her ms in environmental policy and communication. She now works in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as the communications editor at Michigan Sea Grant. There, she gets to hang out with educators, researchers, and communicators who love the Great Lakes as much as she does.