"One of the joys of traveling is visiting new towns and meeting new people."
This quote is attributed, whether factually or not I don't know, to someone with far more travel experience than I. For the moment I leave his identity a surprise but offer this hint : he killed more than forty million people during his years of violent military campaign, ahem, travel. I'm certain anyone who met him did not share his joy.
Genocide, aside, one of the joys of traveling really is visiting new towns. The new people part is a bit harder for me but as they are often part of the travel package, so be it. Checking out local customs, seeing the historical sights as well as the everyday places, eating local fare. I haven't visited a new town yet on the Big Adventure that I didn't find myself considering its "settling down" potential. One thing I've learned about myself in the last six months is that I may not be as hard to please as my children may think. I've enjoyed nearly every major city we've visited on the BA and could see myself putting down some roots in several of them.
Roots are another Interesting Topic when visiting new towns and meeting new people. I've never felt strongly about having roots anywhere; this and my ability to throw things away are just two of the ingredients making me a nearly perfect military wife! As a child I knew I would go far away to college some day. In college I couldn't wait for grad school. In grad school I was excited for that First Real Job. The military gave me overseas living as well as great stateside places. I love to get under the skin of a new place for a few years but always look forward to the next stop. Considering where my roots will go is serious, serious business for someone afflicted with wanderlust. Looking at a place in terms of "forever" gives me commitment qualms. Nothing short of a sense of God's direction could give me peace about choosing a town for root development and we have been praying for months about where God would have us.
The longer we stay in Salem the more peaceful we become about staying here. I amend my earlier blog about Salem meaning a place of rest; it actually means peace but Chemeketa, an Indian word used throughout the city, means place of rest. The night we heard the meanings of those two words a great sense of well-being came over Donald and me. We began pondering the possibility that perhaps we were stuck in Salem for a bigger purpose. My friend Becky gave me some good advice when we asked her if we were crazy to consider settling here with no job prospect. Her good words were something to this effect: when you move to a new place it's important to immediately begin thinking of it as Home. If you don't get Home into your head then you waste a lot of time being concerned about where you are going next. I wish she had told me this when I was about five because I may have adopted an entirely different approach to What Is Next.
We don't have a job offer, which is why most normal people move to a new area. Then again, what about our lives could be measured by general standards of "normal?" We live with PTSD, in an RV with two dogs. How is that normal? We are still waiting to hear about Donald's veteran's benefits and thus do not have a clear picture of our finances yet. But, we have found a church we are quickly beginning to love and, as my brother in law said, what better reason to move somewhere than for a good community? So we've gone one more not-normal step and begun negotiating on a house. Never owned one of those before. Houses mean roots. What's Really Interesting is that the house is on Chemeketa Street: a Place of Rest. After our last few years of much unrest we really like the sound of having roots in a place of rest. We keep praying for direction and our sense of peace remains. We appreciate all you who continue to pray for us as well.
The Big Adventure may be nearly over in terms of traveling the country in an RV but we sense the Adventure is really only beginning to unfold. I'll be reporting as things develop so keep checking back. By the way, we have a nearly brand new RV for sale, still under warranty, if anyone knows anyone interested!!!
PS: The alleged speaker of that fine quote is none other than the founder of the Mongol Dynasty, Genghis Khan.
PSS: Here's a link to view the house: www.chemeketastreethome.com