I'm man enough to admit that I cried like a girl when we crossed the Florida state line in February. I thought I was ready to start our new journey, but as the distance between us and Orlando started to grow, my confidence began to shrink.
As the weeks passed, the heartache subsided and I began to grow comfortable in our new setting. Then, it happened. YOU happened. You, our dear friends from across the country (and world), began to visit. We've had visitor from California, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and even France. With each visitor, I would feel a tad bit more homesick; and after each visitor left, it would take just a little bit longer for that homesickness to subside.
In late June we decided that we could no longer delay preparing our home in Orlando for rental. It just wasn't economically feasible to let the house sit empty any longer. As TJ had to continue his Spanish language training, it was left to me to make the journey solo. TJ, aware of my chronic bouts of homesickness, was genuinely afraid that I would decide not to come back. I thought he was being ridiculous, but once I arrived in Orlando, I must admit that the thought did cross my mind once or twice.
My return to Orlando was met with warm greetings (not to mention free lodging, drinks, meals, and theme park admissions) from friends that were glad to have me back in town. I had been gone for four months but easily slid back into old roles. I was amazed at how much these people meant to me...and maybe moreso by how much I meant to them. As for the house...it was so good to be home.
That week was filled with a flurry of activity. In between all of the hanging out and having fun, I did have work to do. Repairs to make. Property managers to find. Refrigerators to scrub. Belongings to sort through. By the end of the week, I found myself standing in our old, empty bedroom, looking at the lake beyond our French doors. In that almost perfect moment of solitude, I wanted nothing more than for TJ to pack the pets up and come home. It was then that I realized that Orlando itself wasn't what made life perfect. The family that I had made there did. That family now lived in NoVA. And so, back to NoVA I went.
People have asked me how I was able to just pack up and move when TJ accepted this job. They want to know what I get out of the deal. It's certainly a question that I understand, but not one I can easily answer. I don't think its a fair question. If we were a married heterosexual couple, I don't think it would be an issue for people. But we are two men. And society has taught us that men must be self-sufficient. I suppose moving for another man creates the illusion of my being a depandant. I don't see it that way. This life change will allow me to travel the world. I will get to live in exotic places. I will be able to further my education. I can take up hobbies that I may have not even known I was interested in. I will be able to find out what I want to do with my life. By leaving a job that I've grown tired of, and a city that I love but can always visit, I am able to keep my family together.
Don't get me wrong...Orlando will always be home. The friends that I made there will always be my friends, and I hope to see them as often as life allows. I want them to visit us in Mexico, and wherever else the Foreign Service takes us. I hope that TJ and I are able to visit them every now and again. But for now, life goes on in other places.
There were no tears as I crossed the state line this time.