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Full Circle to the Circle City
In Accepting the Unexpected, I step away from writing about travel to comment on the bigger journey of life. While the topics may vary, the central theme is always the same: living life means learning to deal with the unexpected.
When my husband and I moved to Indianapolis in the summer of 2005, we were in our mid-20s with our whole lives in front of us. We were Michiganders looking for a new home after three years in Chicagoland, and Indianapolis was the perfect place for us to relocate. It was still a large enough city to give us everything we wanted, but it wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as living in northwest Indiana, just 45 minutes from downtown Chicago.
For five years, we lived in and loved the city of Indianapolis. We attended a few baseball games at Victory Field and hockey games at the Coliseum, where we made jokes that we felt like we were on the movie set for Chasing Amy. We jumped on the Colts bandwagon and cheered on their victory over the Chiefs in the AFC wildcard game at the RCA Dome. We watched my high school students make a run for the basketball state championship at, what was then, Conseco Fieldhouse. We visited the animals at the zoo in both summer and winter months and listened to Weird Al from the lawn seats in White River State Park. We climbed up the stairs to the third story to watch movies at the now-closed Hollywood Bar and Grill and strolled around Monument Circle. I visited the Children’s Museum with a friend and our new babies. While we didn’t take advantage of all Indianapolis had to offer, we did our best to get out and truly be a part of the city.
We weren’t Indianapolis natives, but Indy was home. We were going to raise our children here and put down roots and embrace the fact that we were true Midwesterners living in a truly Midwestern city.
But then my husband got transferred to Fort Wayne and after five years in another Indiana city, we decided to completely turn our family’s life upside-down when I took a new teaching job in Houston, Texas. We had both spent most of our lives in the Midwest and after two really long and cold winters, we were restless and ready to try something different.
For six years, we happily lived in the fourth largest city in the country, a city full of transplants from all over the world where we believed we could put down roots and live forever. Our Indiana kids – our daughter born in Indianapolis and our son born in Fort Wayne – started to see themselves as Texans; they accepted the heat and humidity and embraced year-round shorts-wearing and swimming in our backyard as a natural part of their lives.
But something in me never stopped longing for Indianapolis. Every time I saw a Colts game and the city skyline behind Lucas Oil Stadium. Every time we watched a sporting event that presented a shot of Monument Circle. Every time a former student or a friend or my sister posted pictures of places all over the city. Every time I turned on HGTV and it was showing Good Bones. Every time I saw any of it – I felt a little pang from knowing that we were so far away and the place that we had thought would be our forever home would never be home again.
Then I lost my job in a painful turn of events and something in me snapped. I needed to go “home.” I needed to be closer to family again. I needed to be around old friends who I knew would stand by us no matter what. I needed to be back in the familiar Midwest because, as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I was a Midwestern girl through and through and that was where our family needed to be.
So we found a way. I found a new job and my work-from-home husband willingly pivoted to a new and different home office. We bought a house just outside the city so we could enjoy country living and still take advantage of everything Indy had to offer us. We were away for eleven years and yet sometimes it feels like we never left. Our transition has been far from smooth, but we’re sure we made the right decision.
And now we look forward to football games and Final Fours at Lucas Oil, trips during all seasons to the zoo and Children’s Museum, the changing of seasons in the Indiana state parks, and visits to apple orchards and wineries. In the unexpected twists and turns of life, we somehow found ourselves coming full circle back to the Circle City.
And that just feels right.
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