We have been in Eugene/Springfield for six months now.
"Welcome to Eugene - Ideal Home and Recreation Area" the welcome sign brags. I know that someday it will be home… but right now the sign mocks me, reminds me that it is not home yet.
Here the homeless are all around, little tent cities set up everywhere. When we first got here, the tent cities were always moving: two days in a field, three days by the highway, a week by the courthouse. Now they have seemingly found stable spots for the cities.
We also have seemingly found a stable spot. Four years in Arkansas, three years in Portland (both times in jobs we knew couldn't be permanent), four months in the rental house, two months in our new house. I love our new house. I feel a little giddy at the thought of my kids growing up here. The thought of growth charts marked in pencil on a doorframe and the kids knowing every crack in the sidewalk. I am glad for the stability. I just wish the house was in Portland.
There's a niggling question: "Will I make friends here?"
I am beginning to find my way around pretty well. But sometimes I unexpectedly find myself lost. New streets jumble in my head, "Broadway that's the same as 7th, right? Oh wait, or is that in Portland?"
Suddenly the two and a half hour drive to my parents has a become a five hour drive. They are wondering when we are coming to visit and I find myself calculating if it's really worth it for just a weekend.
We've found some good new places. Sweet Life, where tons of drool-worthy pastries and desserts beckon from behind the glass case. They always have a line. Townshend's, a trendy tea shop with over 80 kinds of loose tea (not to mention the bubble tea, kombucha, etc.) It feels like a hip coffee shop but when you leave, your clothes still smell good.
I want to find a new church and get plugged in there. And yet somehow when we do commit to a church it will feel like we have officially turned our backs on First Covenant (our Portland church). The thought of this makes me want to cry.
One morning I wake up with a fear that Ash Wednesday has passed by and I didn't realize it. Will our new church have an Ash Wednesday service? Will they have a Good Friday service?
Perhaps the bigger question is, "Will God reveal Himself to me here? Can I know God and seek God as well here as I did in Portland?"
Someone at the church we are visiting (for the fourth or fifth time) gives me a look because Jonathan is frog-hopping down the hallway. And I am reminded of how much I love First Covenant where people say things like, "I'm so thankful for how free the children are here." as the kids run from "the mouse man."
One week, at a different church, a young family invites us over for lunch. They also have some friends coming, another young couple. All of the men work in Higher Ed. in some way. We have fun conversation and feel a certain kinship with them. We think we might be friends if we went to that church, but secretly Greg and I know we can't go back there.
There are some potential friends around: another mom who brings her kids over for play dates, a couple of Greg's coworkers who have come over for dinner, some of the moms at MOPs.
But still the question: "Will I really make friends here? Deep friends? Always and forever type friends?"