A couple months ago I packed up the room I'd been living in for over a year and a half, and moved into the little studio apartment above a garage that has now become home for Matt and I in this first month of marriage.
I was extremely grateful for the arrangement we were given — in exchange for taking care of a couple's house, we were able to stay above their garage (they live on a large property). But it wasn't easy leaving the house that had so many memories built into it. As my first place that I made my own in Nashville, "the Hamilton house" as it's been endearingly named, and the people in it, are so special to me. I remember all the late night talks in Annemarie's doorframe, watching scary movies in the living room, the roommate council's, the chore charts, the bathroom shared with Janna and Annemarie, the social gatherings, the now empty chicken coop, the usually overgrown yard with the bonfire pit I helped Annemarie put together when I first moved in...
When I was looking for a place to live in Nashville, I had visited so many living spaces — apartment communities, one bedroom, two bedroom, studio — and then a girl from my church congregation posted on the Facebook page that she was considering taking a job in Montana and if anyone might be interested in her room.
I replied right away and set to meet her the next day to see the room. Connecting the dots, I realized that I already knew the house — Annemarie had invited me over for dinner the first Sunday I went to church out here.
When I stepped in, I didn't even need to question anything. This was it. This was going to be my room. I was ready to get the lease signed over right then.
From the time I officially moved in and all I had was a pillow and a suitcase, I really started fresh. I first went to get a mattress, some bedding, and some hangers and drawers. Furniture from Target made a place to put all of my books that my mom was sending me. I put together the furniture myself — I still didn't really know anyone at the time and I could do it. It actually felt really empowering putting the bookcases together.
Then that desk in the corner. I bought it from the vintage shop on 8th Ave.: Pre to Post Modern. I loved it the moment I saw it. The unique shape and even the chair with the plastic covering. I thought it would fit into my little nook perfectly.
And so I brought it home. Even after I Tetris-ed it through the kitchen doorways and into the hallway in-between, I came to the realization that it would not fit through the closed stairwell. So, with the help of Bekah and her mom, we sawed off two of the legs (the desk did not come apart) and finally put it into my room. That's when I realized — after adding gorilla glue and duct tape to put the legs back in place — that it was also not going to fit into the nook. The shape didn't allow it.
I made another home for it in another corner. And my bed was put into the nook. And at night I looked up to see my glow in the dark stars that Karlie helped me place. I looked at the smile shape she had made and thought about all the good things Nashville had brought me.
And in the morning, the light would come through the window and I'd look out into the neighborhood. I've seen all four seasons through that window. My favorite lookout was the days I woke up to the magical beauty of snow.
The night Matt and I visited the new place and decided we would be able to take care of and move into the little apartment, we were driving back to the Hamilton together and I felt overwhelmingly sad. At first, Matt didn't understand why I wasn't super excited. So I had him come into my room and as he sat in the old worn out chair and I sat on the carpet I got for $20 at Big Lots, I started going through all the elements I had put together. And going through all the memories and details of each piece of furniture and the house and how much I loved my little nook. And then I started uncontrollably sobbing.
After that night, it continued to be hard at times. Those first couple of weeks after I had moved out of the Hamilton also included a space of time where the new tenant of the Hamilton room had yet to move in and all that was left was my mattress. The space of time allowed me to "sleepover" in my "old" room for a one or two nights.
When I officially sold the mattress, and the new tenant came and I handed over my keys, it felt completely unreal.
And then... something changed. I had thought during this time that when I moved into the Hamilton everything was perfect and I felt comfortable right away. I kept wondering why I was so upset and why this was a harder transition than before. But that wasn't true. Those first 4-6 weeks of moving into the Hamilton I would barely use the living room, dining room or kitchen because it didn't feel like mine. It took me awhile to get comfortable with everyone and making my own space in the household.
That's when I became even more grateful that God was giving me transition time I needed for this change in my life.
As I've gone to the Hamilton to visit and pick up my mail, it's felt less and less like home. I've peeked into my old bedroom and seen how it's been newly decorated. It made me sad that it didn't even feel like I lived there at all. And also, she decorated it so nicely. Everything was so cohesive and perfectly placed compared to my assortment of things. But the big moment of unfamiliarity was when I went into the kitchen and the microwave had been moved to the kitchen counter. That's honestly when it really hit me that this is not my home anymore. It was the microwave that did it.
It's strange how places can have so much meaning. I'll always love the Hamilton. But I also now love our little apartment. It's cozy, and we share a full-size bed, and we don't have a kitchen sink so we'll improvise with the bathroom sink, and there's not really a closet so thankful for a hanger rack I picked up, and it's messy at times but it's our own. And I've grown to really love it.
And now, there's a new place I'm looking forward to calling home in Utah. It's bittersweet, but the closer it's gotten, the more excited I am. I've already made a mood board and a layout for each space and how I want to decorate (pending Matt's input).
So here are both of the places that I've made a home in in Nashville for remembrance. (Also shout-out my original home for three weeks Sugar Camp Farm!) Thank you for being so good to me.