All the ways Kansas finds me

Well, I finally did it. As of the beginning of November, I have finally lived in one location for at least one year without changing addresses, towns, or states. Last November, I moved into 417 and as of this November, I still currently live there. (Although, ironically, I am writing this post from a hotel room in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Oh work).
Now, I've been in Kansas for awhile, but even then I left for Illinois and then moved back. Moreover, in Hesston alone I've lived in 4 different houses ( well, including the house I house sat for a month,  which I count because it is the closest thing I've ever had to experiencing living alone) This is kind of a big deal. I haven't been sleeping in one location since 2004, the year before I started making the treks between my parents' house in Illinois and Bluffton University.

Time is marching on and I am finally adult enough to have to lug from my stuff from one place to the next. 

This is a big deal for me. I have commitment issues when it comes to places and furniture. Or, at least, I used to.  Okay, yeah, maybe I am still working through some of that. (The other day my coworker asked me if I was interested in buying a house. AH! What? Me? Buy a house? in Kansas? or at all for that matter? That is just plain nuts). Still, I now own furniture that will not fit into my car. I have a garden. I feel the most settled I have maybe ever felt. It's a nice feeling. 

But it's in Kansas.

Who would've thought I would still be here. I came back in 2010 with no game plan, except to bake at a coffee shop for awhile, hang out with the Bakers, and see what happens.

Life is a little bit different now. I no longer work at coffee shop and my sister lives back in North Carolina. And I am still in Kansas.

I may not always enjoy my geological location, but I have to say that Kansas has found me in times when I needed her the most. 

I came to Kansas in the fall of 2010 pretty broken and disoriented after a hard year of service in South Africa. I was brokenhearted by the church, had graduated during the recession with an ambiguous degree and extremely lonely. I needed my sister. I needed something to keep me busy. (like making more cinnamon rolls that I could even count). I needed a break from church. I needed to be cared for.

And in every possible way, Kansas came through for me. I was well loved by the Bakers. (I spent many evenings on my sister's couch crying, laughing and/or eating popcorn). My connections at the coffee shop eventually lead to me greater work opportunities (and now I get to work for an organization to which I've always looked up). I was able to connect with an impromptu small group that helped me talk about faith struggles in a safe and loving community. And I met Levent, which has been the greatest adventure of them all thus far. 

I bash her. I call Kansas names, but deep down I know that I am truly grateful to be in the prairie for this season of my life. Even now, when it is so hard to be away from my sister that is hurts, I know this is a good place for me to be. It has been a good place for me to heal, for me to finally figure out what this adulthood thing is all about, and for me to grow in ways I never expected. 

And hey, the mild winter weather and the cheap cost of living isn't so bad either. So, for now, my suitcases remain contently unpacked.