So I've finally given in to the dark side and created my own blog. I'm pretty sure I may only use this for my own ramblings, but who knows? maybe I'll make something important out of it.
Why "living in exile"? It's a long-running joke that I remember seeing on a bumper sticker when I was a kid - "Born in Maine, Living in Exile". Of course, I can't claim the born part (Germany, military brat), but raised, that I can attest to. I don't have the accent, so people are always surprised to hear that I grew up there. But I know that I have at least a bit of salt water in my blood, and a longing taste for "real" seafood - which, of course, you can only find in Maine.
These days, I live in the Sonoran Desert - Arizona. And I have, in fact, just celebrated my 7th anniversary of moving here. I have now officially lived here longer than anywhere else except for Maine. How on earth did I end up here? My husband grew up here, in a little town northwest of Phoenix, where the culture is still very much cowboy and people like me are from "back east." At least after 11 years of marriage, my father-in-law no longer asks what it's like in the Great White North - to me, anyway.
I love it here, actually. Yup, it gets hot. (but it's a dry heat, haha) But I've acclimated to the point that my mother, who still lives in Maine, laughs at me and my boys when we think it's chilly. Because of course she thinks it's beautiful weather then. I'll admit, I still like it a little cooler than most native Zonies, but I'm told after 20 years or so I'll change. We'll see. But it is beautiful here, wide open and rugged. It makes me feel a little guilty feeling claustrophobic when I visit New England now.
But I will admit, more than anything else, I miss the ocean. I spent long hours on Maine's beaches as a child and teen, and still visit them when I get my very-short visits there. If you haven't spent the time on the ocean in New England, you will not understand. No matter how I try to explain the difference, the California beaches are not the same, even if they're closer. There's nothing quite like the sea smell in the air and the crash of the waves against rock walls and sandy beaches - whether in the heat of summer or the chill of winter.
So here I am, living life in a place I never imagined 20 years ago. And thankfully, in a way that I never would have expected 20 years ago. I am not the person I used to be - but more on that later. In the meantime, to all of us "exilers" I send a shout-out of encouragement - it can be done, and we carry on.