Candid Camera

There is a process.  To moving away from home.  A psychological process I think.  And when you move to a place that is very different than home there are times you may feel that all your feet are in different ponds and you have nowhere to sit down.  Tricky, I know.

And that’s how I am tempted feel sometimes.  Like there are different versions of me that I use for different situations but at the end of the day nobody knows who I really am because they don’t have the opportunity to see it.

There are 2 conversations I’ve had on this topic recently that really resonated with me. (I’ve noticed that I’ve begun to use this ‘resonated’ word a lot.  I like it.  Especially because I took a speech science class where we learned the science behind resonating sounds.  And basically it’s a lot of speech jargon but using the word resonated really resonates with me.  So I use it. A lot.)

My first conversation was with a friend who is just a little bit older than me.  Just old enough to have been through everything I’m going through now in fact.  And we were talking about what it’s like to move away from home and make your home somewhere else.  And she told me that some day I’ll feel like I can be me in both places rather than trying to be “New York Camille” and “Indiana Camille.”  And that. It resonated with me. ( 😉 )  Because, to be honest.  I had been dreading going home for a whole month.  I had been thinking about all the things I love about NY and how I didn’t really miss that much about Indiana and how taking a whole month off of ‘my real life’ was so inconvenient.  And to top it all off, I felt like I had to somehow get in touch with this “Hoosier Camille” that I didn’t think was a part of me anymore.

Let’s take time now to make it very clear that these emotions were no way imposed on me by anyone else.  I told my mom about my “Hoosier Camille” complex and she said, “Just be yourself.”  Which is basically what aforementioned friend told me.  But for some reason, hearing it from her, like that, well. It resonated. I mean. It hit home and I was able to accept it as truth.

My second conversation occurred once I was home.  With a dear friend who, like me, has the pleasure of visiting home and living somewhere else.  And she said something that got me thinking.  She said, that in our effort to make sense of our different worlds we try to identify their differences and similarities.  But in doing so we can never be true to each place as we are placing the masses of people and experiences into confined boxes, forgetting that not everyone or everything fits in the boxes that we make.  And she also said that perhaps we need to become comfortable with making our own boxes for ourselves.  So instead of feeling like we need to fit into culture A or culture B we can be ourselves- culture C.  Which just happens to be a mix of our personal experiences in culture A and culture B.  Which no one will or can really understand.  But we kind of have to be okay with that because we have to be okay with who we are, even if no one understands it.

And so.  I set out to be myself.  Culture C.  And instead of analyzing all the differences between my homes (as I have previously done) I decided to focus on the similarities.  Because as different as they both are, they both make up a part of me.  And I’m just one person.  So.  Logically, as I don’t have a multiple personality disorder that I am aware of, there must be some way to make a connection between the two.

This mental process was the preface to one of my most successful and smoothest transitions home.  Deciding to be myself and not be threatened by the differences that collide in my kaleidoscope of life allowed me to actually take a break.  The nice thing about having a month long break is that for an entire month I was almost never in a hurry.  I didn’t have to drive fast.  Or be annoyed waiting on a train.  Or waiting on anything for that matter.  I could be entirely flexible with my plans, rescheduling them on a whim if needed.  Because when you have a month off, there is very little that can’t wait till later.

And there was a moment.  Maybe for the better part of an hour.  Where I said to myself, I think I could live here.  Now this is something new.  Because in my analyzing the differences I undoubtedly found things that I liked better about NY and felt were valid reasons for never returning to Indiana.  But in analyzing the similarities, while simultaneously choosing to be me, I found that Indiana is not a place “without.”  Rather, it is a place “with,”  as most places are.  And when you can see the “with”es you realize that they are things you can live with.  And maybe even like.

So that was my trip home.  And on Monday, as I rode to my last lunch with my sisters and mother, I thought to myself about how the worst part about leaving is always the last 5 minutes.  It’s the hugs and the realization that 5 months is a long time to not see someone and you may, in fact, be tempted to miss them.

But then my life took an interesting transition.  After the hugs. The boarding of the plane. The flight delay in Chicago.  The pick up from the airport.  My life went on.  And the interesting thing about coming home from home is that your life is right where you left it.  There are Christmas cards in your mail pile.  There are hugs and “we missed you”s from the people you left behind.  There is a room, full of your stuff, waiting for you to move back in.  And there are routines.  Things you don’t have to figure out.  They just work.  And I realized that I liked being home but I like being back.

And that’s when I realized that I’m me.  I’m not Indiana Camille anymore.  And I’m not New York Camille either.  I’m just me.  And my life is a venn diagram.  And I do have my feet in too many ponds.  But the nice thing about it is that when I take the time to sit, the view from every shore is beautiful.  Different.  But beautiful nonetheless.

Farewell Indiana

Winter socks are so much better than summer socks.

We have reached another milestone.  The part where my Indiana home adventure has ended and I return to the East Coast for my FINAL (I don’t know if you caught that.  I said. FINAL.  As in- LAST!!!) semester of school.

When I started this blog I noted that this blog is about me as I deal with change in my life and well, one thing that amazes me is that my life changes so much.  And here I am, facing another new thing.  Beginning a semester.  Ending a Master’s program.  Finding a job. Traveling.   I’m ganna go ahead a sound old- but I have to say, “wow. Just where does time go?”  (Which is an altogether puzzling question if you really think about it as time is merely a measurement of sunlight and it really doesn’t GO anywhere at all.)

So. Let me paint the picture.  Of what you’ve been missing out on the last 2 weeks.  While I’ve been home.  In Indiana.

It’s snowed nearly every day.  And I mostly stayed in bed until 9:00.  Some days I did paperwork stuff for school.  Some days I hung out with my family.  Some days I hung out with my friends.  Some days I even helped my mom by running errands for the bakery, etc.  Mostly.  When you are at home for a month, you have plenty of time to do nothing, with the people you love.

Like a birthday party for my dad.  With Tasha as our skilled host.

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But I’ve also been getting emails about school.  Comps are in February.  The Praxis is in March?  Diagnostics meets on Thursdays.  I need to meet with HR to get my ID to start my placement.  I took a violence prevention seminar online.  I just have so much to do before I’m done.  Although I am much closer to being done than I ever have been.

Side note: I’m already tired of winter.  So much snow. We drive slowly and walk slowly and wear so many layers because of it. And everyone here keeps their houses at 70*. I can’t handle it. I’m always cold.  And the most ridiculous part?  As I creep along in my car, shivering as I wait for it to warm up, I see some silly person run from their car to a building in shorts and a T-shirt.  It’s just so silly.

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And so I’ve reached the point where I realized that I have greatly enjoyed my time at home.  But I need to get back to MY ‘real life’.  Because it’s waiting for me.

T-minus 22 hours till I’m ‘home.’

Works for me.

A Well Documented New Year

I recently got a new camera.  Her name is Bernadette.  She’s for my summer travels. But I’m also benefiting from it right now as it’s a pretty good motivator to take lots of pictures.  Add that motivation to a week full of photo-worthy events- and you are bound to get one long blog post.  We’d better get this started I think.

Event 1:

I went to Ohio to celebrate NYE with 3 dear friends.  Two of them wore matching outfits:

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We went thrift shopping.  Unlike most Mennonite girls (I would guess) I don’t actually like to thrift shop for clothes. However, I love thrifting for therapy stuff and scored myself several games this week.  Win win.

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Then we went to the mall. And got Jeni’s ice cream. Which. Is only the best ice cream in the whole wide world.  (well. I think it’s pretty close anyways and I eat my fair share of ice cream.)

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Side note: 4 years ago I visited Esther during my Christmas vacation and we went to this exact mall and took a picture in the exact same telephone booth.  There is something very sweet about spending vacation time with the same people year after year.  (I think).   (The picture on the left is from 2010 and this picture on the right is from last Monday.)

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Then for dinner we found another friend and ate wood fired pizza.  We liked that too. ImageImageImageImage

New Years Eve we celebrated like the adults that we are- with a French brunch, running errands, taking a nap (?!?), ice skating (which is teariffying for me), cooked German food for dinner, and played games and chatted the new year into being. ImageImageImageImageImageImage

We also stopped at The North Market. Which reminded me a lot of the Reading Terminal Market in Philly.  And made me wonder why I haven’t found such a market in NYC yet. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

This is Allison.  She is quite tired of me taking pictures I think.  And she would much prefer to be ice skating. Image

Our German inspired meal.  We had German noddles, beef stew, red cabbage, hard bread, and apple strudel.  And we made it ourselves. We also listened to our share of German folk and pop music to create an atmosphere.  I can’t decide if this makes us nerds or just silly. ImageImageImageImageImageImage

Some of us also had coffee like the addicts they are. Image

They acted like they’d never had it before. Image

For New Years brunch we also had German food. This time we had soft boiled eggs and bread with jelly and cheese.  Turns out Germany has some delicious food options.

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Then we bid farewell, like people do. You know, with more pictures and hugs and all of that.

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Event 2: A snow day with Jennifer.  This is my friend who lives in Honduras now.  She never gets snow and I never get to see her.  Jennifer and I have been friends for…. well. since first grade.  So.  A whole day together.  Plus snow.  Means we obviously had a ridiculously good day.  We got coffee and hot chocolate.  We went sledding and discussed physics like the nerds we are (You know, we wanted to make the sled go as far as possible down the hill.  That takes physics.  And makes us wonder how children ever figure out sledding without it.)  And we made snow angels.

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Event 3: A poorly documented friend-family gathering.  Where I got to tour a new home, pet my favorite dog, and play all my favorite games. Yeah. We’ve been friends for a longtime and we like it that way. ImageImage

Event 4: The Zimmerman family Christmas

Since our family is quite large we have our Christmas celebration in a gym.  We always have breakfast.  Then we play games and chat.  Then we have dinner.  And clean up and go home.  This year was no exception.  ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

The end. That was my week.  If every picture is a thousand words you can see that I rather like having a break from school and spending time with my loved ones.  Sometimes I do miss the city.  And sometimes I miss my routine.  But more often than not I don’t.  Instead I’m happy to be here.  With these people. Something about living so far away makes being near so much sweeter.