Now I feel like I’m settling in for real. It has taken me a while to really convince myself that I’m not on an extended vacation; that we’re actually going to be living here for a number of months. I’m surprised because I thought I had moved through the “vacation period” much earlier in my stay than I actually had, but it isn’t until now that I’m truly feeling that this place could become one of my homes.
This transition was marked by the act of “nesting,” which I practiced yesterday. I decided to dig in and unpack one of my bags that contained assorted items including school supplies that I had brought down and toys for kids that friends had sent with me. I also managed to fit into that suitcase a bulletin board that we had hanging in our kitchen in Medford. The board contains a collage of pictures and memorabilia: pictures of me with Pete and my parents, a pic of my extended family, one with Pete sitting with his arm around his brother, little license plates with my name on them--souvenirs from places that are important to me, a card that my Mom gave me that reads, “Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a method of traveling,” a smiley face postcard which I’ve hung in my classrooms the past two years teaching, a poster with lots of expressive faces labeled in Spanish with different emotions entitled, “¿Cómo te sientes hoy?, Pete’s nametag from the conference where we met in 2004, and in the center of the bulletin board, the word LOVE.
I found a nail to mount that bulletin board in my room and all of a sudden, a sense of home entered the Casa Verde. Next to the bulletin board, I hung up a pug calendar with each month featuring close-ups of adorable pugs, which undoubtedly make me smile. Finally, I rearranged two of the three beds in my room so I am now sleeping next to the wall where I hung the bulletin board and calendar and also turned one of the beds into a sitting area where Pete and I can sit and work/play on our computers (as we’re doing right now,) or play cards, which we do at least once a day--a Monopoly card game that never seems to get old.
I did some clean-up work around the rest of the house too, but most importantly to me are the changes that occurred in my room. Now, when I walk into the Casa Verde, I feel a new sense of belonging in this space. It is now mine, even if just for 7 more months.
The last time that I got sick, Lupita told me stories about how she was sick for the first two months that she came to work at the Casa. She said that one of the keys to her getting well was convincing herself that she wanted to be here. I do believe there is some truth to that in my case too. While part of me being sick was getting adjusted to new foods, another part was getting adjusted psychologically and spiritually to being in this new environment. Thankfully, I’m at a point where I am finally feeling more grounded here, both in our work at the Casa and in our home.