We've moved a lot.
We spent the first year of our married life in Michigan. Then another year in Ohio. Then Brazil - wherein we moved four times.
So we've done the pack-unpack-make friends-leave friends - pack-unpack-make friends-leave friends thing. It's really no fun at all.
And while we always made spectacular friends wherever we were -
none of the places ever felt like h o m e.
When we went on long trips - like, long, ten-hour-plane-trip-trips - when we finally pulled up in the driveway ... nothin'.
Home was wherever My Man and the kids were. The house itself ... they were always just houses. We came "house" - never home.
But now? I think I've finally found it.
Have I told you how much I love Arizona?
I love Arizona.
I actually love the blistering hot summers. I love letting my children run naked all day in the sprinklers. I love swimming practically every day in the neighborhood pool - and the fact that my hair is dry before we get home. I love eating so many Otter Pops our lips never return to normal color. I love the sweltering evenings - the heavy air hanging - the crickets chirp chirping under an immense desert night sky.
I love the beauty of this place. It's a different kind of aesthetic than the leafy green wonder that is Michigan - where I grew up. They both set my heart a-glow. But Arizona - it's different. The strong-lined mountains cutting into the sky - a sky that is always, always blue. And the intense color of summer flowers in full bloom - the deepest of pinks and purples and oranges and reds send me into raptures.
I love the people. People are nice here. They give you directions and help you with groceries and stop to talk to you on the street. Arizonians are colorful - cheerful - they're into health food and citrus and farmer's markets and can be found everywhere running, biking, walking, swimming, moving. Arizonians are outside.
I love that there are so many people of my faith here. I love that on my street of thirteen houses, ten of them are Mormon. And yet - I'm glad we're not overrunning the city. (Though we are overrunning my subdivision.) I love that 85% of people you meet are not members. I love the diversity - the opportunities to meet different kinds of people - the chance to be an example and teach.
I love the community. I love that I can find any class or sport imaginable - available during your choice of times. I love that there are always at least four parks within walking distance, wherever you are - and usually a few pools, too. I love that there are fun, funky shopping areas where we can stroll and absorb the eclecticity of humans. I love that the parking spaces are van-wide, the grocery stores have free child care, and every fast-food restaurant has a playplace.
I love the endless museums within 30 minutes of my house. I love the art - the culture - the theater - the symphony. I love that there is so much to do here.
And I love the winters. I love that the winters here are like autumn everywhere else. I love that I get months of colorful, crunchy leaves - and still get to keep my blueblue sky and lush green grass.
I. Love. Arizona.