10 September 2015

What Starting A Home Is Like

From the previous post: "Looking back, I can only appreciate how lucky I was and how lucky I am that the idea of "home" isn't something that scares or irritates me, but something that makes me grateful. Not everyone has that luxury. Going home makes me happy I have a place to call home. Now that I'm married and moved away, however, I have a new home to find. But that's another post."

So here is another post.

In mid-August, my husband and I moved to Waco, TX where he is pursuing a PhD in philosophy at Baylor University. The one thing I was certain about when he decided on Baylor was that we were in for a hot new home (and by hot, I do not mean whatever kids mean these days). I don't think it has dropped below 95 degrees, save a miraculous rain storm, for the last two weeks if that is any indication. I've never wanted to be more wrong.

We arrived to a spacious (especially for two people) apartment with slightly less than ideal kitchen counter space and very bare, bland walls and floors. As we hauled our things inside, which took all of five minutes, I remember looking around and thinking, "What are we going to do with this space?" Now almost a month later, we're completely unpacked (I'm pretty sure we were unpacked within two hours) but very obviously living the student life. Our living room still only contains a nicely stocked built in bookshelf (of course) and our router and modem. Our dining room is equally as sparse with only a garbage bin, and our bedroom has plenty of space I have decided is my workout area (aka, twenty minutes of yoga while I watch Netflix). Thanks to a new friend (more on that later), we do have some cool original artwork in the apartment, but it's all propped up on things since I still haven't gotten around to buying command strips.

I am less concerned about making the apartment look great. Our basic needs (sleep, C getting work done, and me being able to make a variety of meals) are met and to be honest, I only feel any pressure to actually furnish the place if I ever want to host people (which I'm pretending doesn't have to be on the table for a few months more). What is more fun to think about is the people we've met and the things we've done around Waco.

When we moved in, we were helped by two other grad students (you can imagine the excellently grungy first impression I made after twenty hours in the car), who were only the first of the abundantly friendly and helpful people we would meet. The week we moved in, I was invited to a women's book club where, let's be real, more than reading books happens and I'm totally cool with that. The group of women has been very welcoming and I feel like I've known some people longer than a few weeks. One of these women is an artist who gifted me the aforementioned paintings; she has such a cool, and at times quirky, style and I really like it. I've also met professors that C has talked about for months, so meeting these people in person almost feels like meeting a celebrity or something (which I suppose some of them are, in a way, in certain circles). All of this, in addition to other meet ups that I've arranged with people, has made this month the most sociable of my life. I don't think I'm exaggerating much, if at all, when I say that.

Yes, those are doughnuts!

C and I have also made an effort to explore. We've taken walks around campus, visited the student life center where we have developed a new hobby of racket ball, found new restaurants, checked out a huge stack of books from the library, and pinned down all the nearest Starbucks locations. When I'm not feeling like corporate coffee, I go to Common Grounds, a coffee shop with a nice, relaxed atmosphere, live music and often someone from the philosophy department searching for shade and a place to get their next paper done. I've also gone to something called First Friday, where shops and restaurants downtown are open later with special deals on the first Friday of the month (Someone even got engaged there last week! Talk about a deal). Waco can be blisteringly hot, yes, but there is no shortage of enjoyable things to do or people to meet.

It does help that Baylor's campus is one of the prettiest I've ever seen (and I've visited a fair few). I'm not the only one who thinks so. We've found a church just off campus that offers Latin Mass every weekend, which I did not expect to find. Many things here are looking up.

When we were in IL, we shared our future plans with family and friends. One of my aunts told me that we were going to have good, exciting lives, and this is just the start. At the time, I said I hoped she was right. But I think that's true. We are at the start of a lot of goodness and a lot of excitement. So many good things in my life have happened because C came into it, and I take a great deal of comfort in knowing that now it's the two of us against the world. I don't have everything figured out. Our apartment isn't spotless, I'm still job hunting, and no place like a college campus will remind you that you have plenty to learn. But I'm not alone. C and I are going to tackle these years at Baylor and whatever comes after together. I think that's what a home really is.


  1. Lovely post, Haley. And that doughnut art is on point.

    1. Isn't it? She gave me a couple of cool owl paintings, too. I'll get those up on the blog at some point. They aren't on the walls, but they're hanging out in windows because I thought that was appropriate. :)

  2. I love this. I like the whole "newlywed" posts. Makes me get kind of day dreamy, but then my scrupy self shouts to my brain EMOTIONAL PURITY. I look forward to being a newlywed one day, God willing ;)

    1. Thank you! Yes, I definitely read a post or two from bloggers talking about their marriage and was like "This is so cool." I totally get you, though, especially since emotional purity was talked about 0% when I was growing up and so later I was like, "Uhhhh, maybe I should be more reserved?" (as an already reserved person!)

      In some ways marriage is fun and exciting, but in other ways (and maybe this is just because of my sometimes straightforward outlook or maybe because it hasn't set in yet), it really isn't too thrilling. Marriage just /is/ sometimes, I think. And part of being married is going through boring, trying or seemingly impossible seasons. I'm looking forward to all of it, though! Don't get me wrong. :)