This time a year ago I was still in the beginning stages of getting settled into a new home that was more than two thousand miles away from where I’d lived for the previous twenty-two years. The thought of what I’d be doing now was nowhere on my radar; I simply had too many boxes to unpack. And yet here I am - just over 365 days have passed since I walked into our house with the movers, taking my first steps toward establishing roots and planting myself in the midwest.
There have been all kinds of milestones, most of them firsts. I’ve marked the passage of time with these experiences, savoring their newness and, at times, novelty - the first Christmas, snowfall, deer sighting, spring blossoms, bicycle ride, and visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum. Now that I’ve passed the one-year mark, friends are starting to ask questions like, “So do you still like Milwaukee?”, the query tinged with a tone and quality that feels expectant. As in, I get the sense that many are expecting me to reply with something other than my immediate “Yes.”
I suppose it’s natural to think I’d miss the year-round sunshine of southern California, that the cold would have been too much of a shock to my system. It isn’t outrageous to think the distance between me and my people on the west coast would be too much to bear. (In fact, at times, it is.) Adjusting to this new reality has not been without its bumps, but the result of that jostling has been a profound expansion - within my marriage, our family, and my own self. It is as if the distance my husband and I had to traverse to give this wild idea of ours - to move across country - a go pulled things apart, enabling all kinds of possibilities to spring forth.
It has been a year of daring, adventure, and spontaneity, when my husband and I have let ourselves be pulled along the current of each moment. We have laughed and cried and held onto each other like never before, and we’re still, in many ways, figuring out this new life.
In the midst of all that, I managed to write, design, and layout a book, one inspired by my travels to India. I began working on the book in earnest in February of this year, and I just sent the finished manuscript to the publisher today. It has been the most joyful, easeful book I’ve ever written and created, and although it is a book about India, it is also a reflection of the year I’ve spent becoming a resident of Milwaukee. It is a book about home and love, God and prayer. It is a book about all the ways I carried each of those things with me when I was halfway around the world.
I loved creating this book, and I’m so excited to share it. It’s called The Meandering River of Unfathomable Joy: Finding God and Gratitude in India. Head over here to learn more. In the meantime, it’s time to go pull out some more blankets. Winter is on its way.