Moving On.

Posted on
Jan 30, 2018

We’ve moved. After 7 years in the townhome we rented – longer than I’ve lived anywhere in my entire, Rand and I moved into our first house. It wasn’t far – just across town, but I was surprised by how hard it was, especially for two people who were constantly moving from one city to the next. I realized that it wasn’t the neighborhood I was having trouble saying goodbye to, but that chapter of my life. I took down a photo of someone I’m no longer friends with, and realized I will never put it – or any photo of her – back up on my walls.

People and cities change and there’s only so much time you can spend grieving what’s gone.

“This town got away from me,” a friend told us, just before he left Seattle for New York.  His apartment in Brooklyn is barely more expensive than the one he had here, but it’s substantially bigger.

My cousin, who is moving to Queens next month, tells me how New York isn’t unreasonable anymore when compared with Seattle. I realize that I can try to hold on to this town, but not to the people in it. I watch tented cities build up on the side of the freeway, and feel a mix of immeasurable guilt and gratitude at being a homeowner. I ask Rand if we can afford our new place.

“I’m doing my best,” he tells me.

Every time something breaks, or needs replacing, or a support beam turns out to be just a collection of rats standing one on top of the other, I feel my chest tighten. And then I feel guilty for feeling guilty.

When I think about returning home from a trip, I still think about the old place where we once lived. Like so many things that we’ve long outgrown, I forget the bad. I don’t remember how impractical and small it was – I simply miss it. I miss our winding stairwell, and the photos that lined it. I miss our too-cramped living room. I miss the weird collection of paintings and souvenirs and tchotchkes that made it home.


I miss my dad.

I packed up photos of him, and thought about how this new home we’ve found was made possible in part by the inheritance he left us. I could once again see that line of demarcation between the past, when my father was alive, and the world we live in now, the one he’s not a part of. Our old home straddled that line. This new one doesn’t. It’s the last the gift he’ll ever give us.

For the first few months in our new place, I spent my days crying. Rand watched me, unsure of what to do or say, and also, I think, understandably hurt.

I bought you this house and all you do is cry in it. 

He never said that. Rand would never say anything like that. But I thought it for him.


The people you think will always be there for you – the ones who you assume are a fixture in your life, will suddenly, through choice or circumstance, be gone. The adage isn’t a lie – you really can’t go home again, because either it’s changed or you have. I pack up photos of babies that are no longer babies, of couples newly divorced, of people now gone.

I walk around the house that my dad and my husband and in some small part I helped build. We had a small window in which we could buy – a small window of time when all the pieces fell into place. Two book deals. A stock sale. An inheritance. I think of every sacrifice my husband and father ever made for me and how some people work just as hard – or harder – and it’s not enough. I know I don’t deserve this house. I know I don’t deserve a lot of things that I’ve been graced with.

You put your life in a box, and if you’re lucky, you have a nice, warm place to unpack it. In the end, the one thing that makes you truly feel at home is the one thing that’s never left you.


And you just have to hope that will always be true.



We are exceedingly fortunate that we were able to buy a home. 144 people died in homelessness in King County last year. This article outlines some resources if you see someone without shelter who looks like they might be in danger

Also published on Medium.

Leave a Comment

  • That was really beautiful Geraldine.

    But, *I* didn’t buy you that house. Don’t minimize the fact that your Dad and your book deal contributed a huge portion of our down payment. I love you, and I love living with you (given the choice between your crummy U-District studio together and a giant penthouse apart, you know I’d take the former without even thinking). Even if we have to sell our house and move far away to a place we can afford, that won’t change. We’re gonna be fine 🙂

    • Everywhereist

      GAH I love you. So much. I feel like the last year has been you working really hard for me. (I mean, all the years have been that, but especially this last one.)

  • Ashley Wilkinson

    I relate. What more can I say?

  • Bob Macias

    Excellent read… many thanks! My wife and I are in the process of preparing to move from our home after 26 years of life there, an exciting but very bittersweet reality. It signals a huge shift in our world, a transition from the constant workworkwork mortgage payment shuffle to a cash-out re-set for the next phase of out post-60-years-old existence. It was our first home together and has accorded us a wonderful place to be a couple in love… we’ll both miss the house like crazy and all that took place inside, but after all… it’s a house and home that was made better by the lives we lead there. My very best to you and Rand in your new digs!

    • Claresta

      Let’s look at the channel online for example I,Tonya :

  • As a single entrepreneur and a single woman who has traveled the world, I can tell you right now that the love and support I know that you give on a daily basis is worth more than any money that can be invested in a house or creation of a home. In fact, that love and support helps more than most can ever understand or imagine…unless you are someone who is doing all that without it. Then you know. You know so much. You helped to buy that house (and kicked in your “own money” on down payment!) and are making it a home, my dear, in every single thing you said/did/were that helped Rand to make the money. It just isn’t as valued and acknowledged in “our world.”

  • Jenn P.

    I’ve said this SO many times that I do not know why I am surprised when it happens, but you’ve got such a way with words. You make me feel EVERYTHING you’re feeling. Whew. You have such a talent. I also love your tender heart for those less fortunate. I’m proud of you, Geraldine!

    • Sarah Michele

      Watch Our Souls at Night only on this web site : FMOVIESTREAM.BLOGSPOT.COM

  • jonathanwthomas

    It’s always weird returning to your ‘new’ home for the first time after an international trip. It’s a victory if you drive to the old place in a jet-lagged stupor. A place officially feels like home upon that first return, you feel all the travel stress and anxiety immediately evaporate when you go back inside your own four walls.

    • Elisa

      Let’s look at the channel online for example 1922 :

  • amcrni

    Geraldine, I’ve just discovered your blog and I already love it. It already feels like I’m speaking to a super hip, long-time friend. Excited to keep reading.

  • Carly Hulls

    Ugh, you HAVE to STOP making me well up at work dammit! 🙂
    My parents sold our childhood home last year – I’ve been living abroad for 6 years so couldn’t really argue the point or be there for the final farewell (or packup and I know half my stuff got junked) but it was a clear demarcation: end of childhood, end of suburban life, and a life I likely never would have returned to anyway. Then because this is 2018, my brother found in Instagram the remodels of the house the new owners did 6 months later. Its beautiful…but not ours anymore. So this post helped, and had me welling up and now i’m gunna justify a cupcake after work, so, thanks? Beautifully written as always!

  • Theresa

    It is so strange, isn’t it? We really are creatures of habit. My husband and I bought our home two years ago. We were a family of 5 living in a 2 bed, 1 bath, 1050 square foot apartment. My son was literally sleeping in the (walk in) closet. When we bought our house I remember feeling so euphoric that we would each have our own space… And then we moved in. I stressed over the steps and the baby proofing such a large space – I could never relax – and then when the kids went to bed, my husband and I kind of wandered around not sure where to go… In the condo we sat out on the balcony. It was our spot. The new house has a balcony, so we tried that. But it felt weird. It was ours, but it wasn’t ours. It was a very strange few months in the beginning. I don’t think you ever really get over the missing your old home. All I can say is memories help. Hosting a crab bake where all our friends hunkered down around our patio table and played corn hole late into the night, or sitting on the front porch watching the lightning show during a particularly volatile summer storm, or curling up by the fire with a cold beer and having long, intimate conversation with my husband… Those were the things that shifted our house into feeling like home. I’m sure your dad would be really happy to know the inheritance he left you went toward giving you four solid walls to create memories within.

    Also, the way you and Rand talk to each other here in this space makes me fall in love with both of you.

    • Minna

      Let’s look at the channel online for example Lady Bird :

  • Sarah Sullivan

    What a lovely tribute to passing: time, distance, family and friends, and an acknowledgment of both the privilege and sacrifice we’re blessed with. All the best to you in your new space and chapter.

  • S.M C

    That was beautiful. And sob inducing. Thank you for sharing that.

  • Donna

    I just found you — read the WaPo opinion piece. Seattle HAS changed — we moved here 20 years ago. Love your beautiful writing.

    • Everywhereist

      Thank you!

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