I have moved fifteen times in the last 4 years. Honestly; I just wrote it all down and counted. And there have been countless other "little moves" woven into the fabric of my college experience- moves to and from home for the weekend or break, moves to visit friends or relatives. One would think that with all this experience, I would be good at transition. I should be an expert at navigating the waters of interpersonal relationships and family dynamics and how to fit everything in my tiny car. I should be good at reentering into situations which are familiar but a little vague, and establishing old habits with old people, and redeveloping a sense of normalcy in each new place.
But I am not.
I expect things I shouldn't expect, and neglect to anticipate important things. I miss social cues and new family norms and changed relationships. I forget what it was like to exist in one place while trying to figure out the new, and I consequently spend time existing no where. And I miss people, and I am shocked and sometimes offended when they have changed while I was away.
Many of my moves have literally changed the direction of my thought, or indeed my life. Moving to college was an experience of great growth and independence. The move to Colorado was an experience of great beauty. Moving to Romania for two weeks was an experience of hope and connection to a people and a land. Moving to Upward Bound was an experience of tremendous empathy and a shattering of perceptions. Moving to Chicago was an experience of scholarship and adulthood and career and understanding. And all of these moves have contributed to the move that is approaching in just 61 days.
And people will change, and places will change, and attitudes will change, and time itself will change. And most of all, I will change. I will return to the States after a year in Romania a changed person. Not necessarily for the better, though I would crave this improvement, but certainly a different person. I will have a year of new experiences and new cultural understandings and new language skills and new teaching techniques. And everyone here will have had a year of everything else.
And I am just hoping that I get better at transition.