Monday, August 1, 2016

A year in Bloomington

In the middle of last month we celebrated a year in Bloomington. A whole year!

Moving away from Austin felt like a big leap. We had a great community of friends and Neil loved his job. In short: were happy. But it wasn't the place we saw ourselves raising our family. So where did we see ourselves?  Well, a place like Bloomington. Here are some of the things I love about our new home:
  • Physically smaller than Austin. I have a friend that lives on the east edge of town here and when I visit her it feels like it is so far, even though it is less than five miles from our house. Five miles felt close in Austin, but here I rarely have to bike more than two--a luxury I do not take for granted.
  • Amenities of a bigger city--international food, world-class music at IU, plays, concerts, etc.
  • Small-town feeling, but not too small. Even after only being here a year, I run into same people at the market, the library, or the Y. It doesn't feel confining, it feels like we are starting to belong.
  • Four seasons. Seemingly endless summer, I do not miss you. Fall here is truly spectacular to behold (see photo above for proof). I even enjoyed the winter and snow. It has been particularly fun to experience the change in seasons with HP who curious about everything happening in the natural world.
  • Beautiful parks. There are fewer small neighborhood parks here than in Austin, but the parks they do have are large and include a lot of green space. Lucky us, we live next door to one of those parks.
  • Strong biking community. There are paths and bike lanes, but more than that, I see individuals and families biking everywhere we go. So many cargo bikes!
The only downside to Bloomington I've found so far is that it is not in the Pacific Northwest, which we love. But then again, if we lived there we would be farther from our parents and much of our extended family (though closer to my brothers). Indiana may not be Oregon, but it has its own beauty waiting for us to explore.

We have moved so much in the last decade that it feels good to know that we will be here for the foreseeable future. I still get an itch to go off on a new adventure--maybe a year abroad with the kids when they are in elementary school--but am happy to grow our roots here.

We can be happy anywhere. Happiness depends much more on people and relationships than it does on place. That said, I am glad we took the risk to uproot our family and try something new. Bloomington feels like home in a way that Austin never did. Even though we loved so many aspects of our lives there, it always felt like we had one foot in and one foot out. Now both feet are firmly planted in Hoosier soil.

A few days ago HP asked me when were going to move out of this house and--for the first time in his life--I could tell him that we have no plans to leave. It's a good feeling.

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