New Adventures, New Home

Two months ago, I did something I had never done before – I moved away from my home town.

I grew up in California’s North Bay, and there is a reason why people stay there. The weather is mild, the landscape is beautiful, the people are kind, the beach is close, and there’s more local production of food, wine, and fiber then you could shake a stick at! I had a wonderful time growing up in Sonoma county. I loved living there for all the reasons I just mentioned, and more; including the fact that all of my friends, and family are there. So why leave? Well, for all the wonderful things about Sonoma county, it doesn’t have a law school, and I am bound and determined to get my J.D. So two months ago, I moved up to Portland, OR to start my first year at Lewis and Clark Law.

It has been an interesting couple of months. Law school has definitely been the right choice for me. I’m enjoying the classes. I love the material, the thinking that is required, the new research and writing skills I’m learning. I’m loving exploring the area, visiting little thrift stores, finding new coffee shops, and going on hikes. It has been a little bumpy transitioning from a smaller town to a larger city. Discovering that parking lots are few and far between, that different neighborhoods have different feels, that going downtown can be a tremendous chore, and that driving across town can take the better part of an hour have all been new experiences for me. But the hardest thing by far, has been the feeling of loneliness.

I have always been a super introverted person, more likely to have a few very close friends in one tight-knit group than several friends across several groups. And it will usually take me a while to form those kinds of bonds. It’s just who I am, and I have always been this way. Living in one place for my entire life, this hasn’t really been much of a problem. My close friends have always been around, and even when confronted with the task of making new friends, my old friends were always there to support me, and give me a safe space to return to when I felt overwhelmed by new people and experiences. That is no longer an option. I’m out here completely on my own (well not completely, I moved with my boyfriend and my cat, but as any lady knows, neither can take the place of girlfriends), and sort of struggling to find a place to fit in.

Which is actually sort of okay. It may take time, but I am working on discovering a new place, and figuring out exactly how I fit into it. It’s scary, and overwhelming, and completely uncomfortable, but it’s also an incredibly opportunity to learn something about myself.

So what does this have to do with knitting? This is a knitting blog, and most of you probably come here to read about knitting. Admittedly, this post doesn’t have too much to do with knitting, except for this: in this time where so much of my life seems shaky and off-balance, knitting is the solid thing in the center tying everything together. I may not know where my career is going, or if I’ll make friends at school, or if I’m doing any of this right, but I can still make a sweater that I could love and wear for the rest of my life. I may not know if I’ll ever truly feel at home in this strange, new city, but I know that my feet will still feel cozy in a pair of freshly knitted socks. I may feel a little lonely watching Netflix by myself on a Friday night, but once I pick up my knitting, I feel soothed, and at peace. There may not be much I feel confident about these days, but knitting is one of those things, and if that’s not amazing, then I don’t know what is.

 

To the UK and Beyond…

Six days ago, I returned home from a seventeen day trip to the UK. It was incredible. Prior to that, I had never been out of the United States before, and the UK is a place I had wanted to travel to since I was a child. My parents were both massive history buffs, each with a place in their hearts for medieval England, so I grew up with stories of kings, queens, knights, and castles. It was such a treat to get to see places that I had dreamed about since I was a girl, like the Tower of London and Stonehenge, in person. Being from the US, especially the Western part of the US, we simply don’t have the kind of continually recorded history that other countries have. It is a wild thing to be in a house built in the 1400’s, with surviving records that other structures had stood on that site prior to that. It is equally wild to be in a castle or cathedral and know that it has been in use for centuries.

And if the architecture blew me away, then the landscape completely knocked my socks off. Though much of it was actually pretty similar to Sonoma County during our rainy season, the moors and the Scottish highlands were like nothing I had ever seen. It was these landscapes that stand out in my mind when thinking back on this trip. Vast, expansive green, draped over rugged, craggy rock, strewn about with mist. Ideal for thinking deep, dreamy thoughts, for imagining forgotten stories and songs, and for wearing hand knits.

We got to see so much during our trip, places that I’ve been wanting to see since I was a little girl. Highlights for me included Stonehenge, the Tower of London, Glastonbury Abbey, and Hampton Court. However, the stand out experience from my trip was getting to visit a working sheep farm in the Scottish highlands! It was amazing! Sheep for miles around, and this man (who had been working the property for over 16 years), and his impeccably trained sheep dogs were running the show. Neil, the sheep farmer, gave us a wonderful demonstration of how he and the dogs worked with the sheep. He called out commands, in Scotts Gaelic, of course, and the dogs responded in perfect unity. It was truly impressive to watch. After the demonstration with the dogs, Neil gave a demo on hand-shearing sheep. He pointed out a sheep a couple hundred yards away, dispatched his dogs to bring it to him, and started expertly using the hand shears to shear the sheep all in less than five minutes. It was clear that the man was about his business. He then let volunteers have a go at hand shearing, and let me tell you all, it was much harder than he made it look. Those shears are heavy, and require a lot of strength to close. I got inΒ Β two good snips, and felt like I had taken care of gym time for a month. After such a strenuous work out, the only thing left to do was bottle feed orphan lambs, and play with some puppies. It was absolutely magical!

Now that I’m back home, I have only a week left before my next adventure. On July 21, my boyfriend and I are loading up a U-Haul and heading out for Portland. Its the first time I’ll have lived outside of Sonoma County, and I’m really looking forward to it. Not only will I be attending law school at my top choice school, but the chillier temps mean that I’ll be getting more use out of my hand knits!

Of course, there are more reasons than the prospect of wearing all my sweaters to make my move thrilling. There is a lot of change going on in my life, which is always cause for excitement. In the spirit of change, I am hoping to really start digging into this blog. I would like to expand my initial scope of the subject matter here. I thought this would be a blog primarily about knitting, and while knitting will still be a huge part of this space, I would like to expand it to include other things, like sewing, fashion, slow living, and more. I’m still figuring it all out, but hopefully there will be some more life coming to this blog in the near future.

Hope you’re all well, and having a stellar summer!