welcome home, friend

kyliestripewalk(IG)

A lot of you are new, so it’s time for a mid-blog introduction. Settle in, kids. It’s about to get mildly personal and probably amusing.

I live in western Canada, but I am a New Yorker. While I did live in ~the~ New York for a few years before coming out here, and do attribute much of who I am to having lived there, I’m a small town New Yorker. The meat and cheese agricultural, can’t-find-us-on-a-map New Yorker, with the south sprinkled in. Most of my summers were spent there (Florida, West Virginia, Tennessee), so my friends here like to call me the Southern New Yorkerâ„¢, because y’all and memories of catching crawdads and facing alligators are things that leave little marks on a person. I have strange life stories that even I wouldn’t believe, had I not been present front row and center for, but I’m split in two and don’t think about them much anymore. There’s me before Canada, and me after. Post-Canada is who I focus on, but I still respect American me and all the good and bad decisions it took to get her here.

Here, as in a place very far from home. Here, as in the wife of a tender-hearted, hilarious lumberjack who loves pipe tobacco and flannel. Here, a musician who actually gets to perform at special occasions that mean a lot to the people throwing them. Here, a mom of two girls and two giant dogs – one of which is also a Southern New Yorker, having traveled with me for years. Here, as in a place that has come to accept and love me and watch me do more growing in four years than I did in a lifetime. Here, the place where I found God. Here, the place I found a loving family which I previously had little of, and mountains and forests that give me peace. Here, where I get homesick for there. Here, as in home – not a person or place, but a state of being.

berrypicking(IG)

I’m no novice, having written for various online publications down the years, and some of you probably remember my old website from years past, may she rest in cyber peace. It’s been a long break, but now that I’ve finally found contentedness and more of who I am, I feel stronger returning to my roots as a different person with the same heart. My heart loves being compassionate and opinionated. It loves ethical, local shopping and plans to write about it a lot in the near future. My heart aches to be a better wife and mom, understands that goal is one most parents share, and is slowly being better at forgiving myself when I fall short. My heart also loves bad jokes (I make way too many), double shot Americanos, and coconut-covered anything. I majored in history, but want to build eco-friendly homes with my husband which basically has nothing to do with history. And I know a lot of architectural history, true, but my main focus was Eastern Europe, bloodshed and cultural, political tensions – fine for destroying houses, but not at all relevant to building a house. For a few years, I could speak Russian really well, but it’s getting worse the longer I go without using it much. Which also has nothing to do with building houses, so one could say I’m great at succeeding in areas that have nothing to do with my goals. My friend would tell you her favorite is when she messages me while I’ve been reading something in Russian, and I don’t reply to her in English. I’m bad at seamlessly switching from one to the other, but again, I can’t build a house with words I get progressively worse at translating.

But I believe everything has its time and place. I met my best friend through my time as president of my university’s Russian club. I helped lost Russian tourists in New York City all the time, and when a Russian woman criticized my parenting in a language she didn’t think I understood, the petty satisfaction in responding in-kind was worth the years of learning it. So sure, I’d say everything has its place. When you learn history, you learn that you never learn from history. Things repeat themselves all the time, and to change it takes being able to force the pattern to pause so you can veer in another direction – something a lot of people don’t always accomplish. My therapist, in my case, calls this trauma re-enactment, and it’s a cycle so many can’t break. “But you did,” he tells me, and he’s right. I did. Maybe that’s what my history degree gave me.

This space of mine is going to have a lot of honesty, heartbreak, laugh, and fluff pieces. It’s going to be about change, peace, homemaking, tiny living, and finding the right fabric to go with my bedspread. I live in a tiny home with my husband, kids, and dogs, sharing a property with his parents. We have a greenhouse and multiple raised garden beds, kombucha brewing, and more fruit trees than we know what to do with. I love sharing all of that, and I’m glad you’re here to share in it with me. I stopped believing that life was meant to be lived alone, because it takes a village. Not just for raising children, but for bringing out your best self and being comfortable with growth and change.

Welcome to my village.

 

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