Stephanie Lives Here

keep-calm-stephanie-lives-herePenciled in nine year old penmanship above my bed at my parents’ home is a heart that reads “Stephanie lives here.”

It is barely noticeable against the speckled 90s wallpaper but it is there. I suppose it was a means of staking my territory since an only child has so much competition.

There’s still a Mickey and Minnie ceiling fan circulating the air, and Sweet Eyes, my 31 year old teddy bear, gazes from a shelf, still within reach if I happen to need a little extra comforting.

This room that was once filled with childhood clutter of Nintendo games, books and art supplies is now brimming with an odd assortment of memories. There’s a straw hat that I wore during Carnival in Les Cayes, Haiti. There’s the signed photo from the cast and crew of Emmanuel College’s production of Jane Eyre, my first stab at stage managing. A cedar  box holds bottle caps from every country visited, and currency too. One of Grandpa’s guitars sits in the corner desperately in need of new strings and the harmonica he gave to me that I have never figured out how to play also waits nearby.

And I think, “No, Stephanie doesn’t live here anymore”.

In the last few weeks since my last post I have lived in… ummm… seven different homes for varying lengths of time. These days it seems Stephanie lives whatever direction the wind blows. It is exciting. It is exhausting. It is always an adventure and it is a reminder that in many ways the places that used to fit simply do not anymore.

Selfishly I want to stay in these places for more than just a few days, even though I know that for now I am not meant to. Part of me wants to hang out in America for an extended time, get comfortable, settle back in with my friends and community here, find a little normalcy, and have a paycheck again. But I know that isn’t for this season.

In less than two weeks, I will be traveling back to Ukraine. I have no idea what wall may be the next to proclaim, “Stephanie lives here” or in what part of the city it may be located. I am not sure who I will be living with. I do not know how all the finances will be covered. And I have no clue what to expect from 2013.

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