I have been thinking a lot lately about the concept of “home” and I started wondering about my own past and the places I’ve called home. I realized that, in my 25 years here on earth, I have lived in so many houses that I started losing track when I tried to mentally list them all. Just how many houses have I lived in? I finally sat down to count…
Turns out I’ve had no less than 23 homes in my life.
Yowza. And that doesn’t even include hotels or anywhere that I lived less than two months.
When people ask me where “home” is, it’s sometimes difficult for me to answer. I usually just say Las Vegas, since that’s the most universally recognizable answer, but honestly, it’s much more complicated than that. I have always marveled at my friends who tell me they spent their entire youth in one home. What must that be like?
I don’t ever want to forget my many homes, so I decided to write them all down here (along with a memory or two) for my own records…
In mostly chronological order…
1. “My First Home” – Quiet Desert Lane, Henderson, Nevada.
The home where my parents brought me home from the hospital after being born. Lived here for about 4 years. I have memories of crawling up the stairs. I remember a party in the living room where I toddled up to a man who I thought was my father and grabbed his leg. He looked down, aaand it was not my dad. Baby’s first awkward moment.
2. “The Henderson House” – Deerwood Court, Henderson, Nevada.
My siblings and I fondly remember this house as one of our favorites…on a quiet cul-de-sac street, this is where I did most of my “kid stuff,” my growing up. I remember flag football games in the street, Saturday chores, and a Christmas tree in our family room that was so tall it managed to touch our vaulted ceiling.
3. “Grandma B’s” – Las Vegas, Nevada
This is the first house I remember my dad living in after my parents divorced. We absolutely loved our surrogate “Grandma” B; she was this sweet lady who was really into health supplements (including a never ending supply of deliciously sour Vitamin C that my siblings and I would raid on occasion). She let us watch Jurassic Park on her bed until we scared ourselves too bad to continue.
4. “That House with an Empty Pool and a Desert Backyard” – Las Vegas, Nevada
I don’t remember much here except: scraping my knees on the rocks in the backyard, finding a toy shark in the empty pool leftover from previous tenants, and running down white halls with white tile.
5. “The House with President Lincoln” – Las Vegas, Nevada
My dad had roommates for a short period of time, and one of them had two boys, Preston and Lincoln. In a misunderstanding, I once informed my little brother, who was excited to see Preston and Lincoln after a long road trip, that actually “President Lincoln is dead.” He cried. Oops. This is the house I came home to after getting my ears pierced. This is the house where I became obsessed with bagged salads with bacon bits and Hidden Valley Ranch. Endless bowls of the stuff. I remember pot lucks, bunk beds, curling my bangs in the bathroom…
6. “The House with the Stairs?” – Las Vegas, Nevada
Another house where we had roommates. Some gruff looking dude and his kids. Red head maybe? And there were tall stairs. That’s about it for the memories here.
7. “Highland, House” – Highland, Utah
The house where my mom and step-dad lived after getting married. I went through 5th grade in this house. This is where I stopped playing with barbies when I embarrassingly found out 5th graders are waaaay too cool for barbies. This is where my youngest brother was born. There was a massive backyard with a creek. So much room for activities!
8. “Sterling, Village Apartment” – South Jordan, Utah
Ah, 6th and 7th grade…going through puberty, writing in my diary, watching Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire on TV. All experienced in this apartment. I had the best bed with a princess canopy. There was a pool and gym (with a steam room!) where my best friend and I would spend hours making up dance routines and daring each other to jump between the hot tub and the pool in the dead of winter.
9. “The Suncrest House” – Draper, Utah
My mom’s dream home. Hidden on the edge of one of Utah’s many foothills, this house has the most incredible view of the Salt Lake valley below. It’s one of those houses you might see in a home design magazine. Floor to ceiling windows, open plan, dark wood. It’s truly gorgeous. My family still lives here today, which baffles my mind. It’s been over a decade for them, yet I only spent only a handful of summers here.
10. “My Coast Walk Circle Home” – Las Vegas, Nevada
Of all the houses on this list, I think this is the one I most associate with “home.” I moved into this house during the summer before 8th grade and lived here until I graduated high school. Too many memories here to list. Piano lessons. Family’s first dog. Pool parties. Garage sales. Homework. Sleepovers. Loved this house.
11. “Kenna Dorm” – Portland, Oregon
My first home away from home. Freshman year of college. Crazy roommates, microwave dinners, all night essay writing…this was the place.
12. “Salzburg Dorm” – Salzburg, Austria
I lived in this room for 9 months during my sophomore year of college while studying abroad and loved it. It had a little balcony, heated tile floors in the bathroom, and an alarm clock set to wake me with an Austrian talk radio station.
13. “That Kensington Apartment with a Deaf Housemate” – Kensington, Maryland
After I found out that I got an internship with National Geographic Television in Washington, DC during my junior year of college, I had about a week’s notice to plan and move everything from Las Vegas, NV. I found this place on Craigslist and (luckily) it ended up being great. My one housemate was a deaf woman in her 60s who mostly kept to herself. It was my first experience living on the east coast and what a beautiful introduction it was. Fall leaves and antique shops in a quiet neighborhood — just lovely.
14. “The Kalorama Park Studio” – Washington, DC
A teeny tiny studio apartment with a futon for a bed that was folded up daily (a real bed wouldn’t have fit in the room). I believe rent was $1k per month. Insane. But it was in a great location, next to a pretty park that was frequented by frisbee players and drum circles.
15. “University of Utah Dorm #1” – Salt Lake City, Utah
This was the dorm that I lived in when I first met my now-husband, David. I remember facebook stalking him from my computer desk in this room after we first met. I remember getting my first text from him in this room. Then, after our first date, we came back here and watched Paris Je T’aime together on my laptop, which was propped up on my bed by an old cardboard box. Resourceful, no?
16. “Maile Street Apartment” – Hilo, Hawaii
The first apartment that David and I lived in together. We sometimes say we want to name a future daughter Maile to commemorate this apartment, but…I think Miley Cyrus has ruined that for us.
17. “University of Utah Dorm #2” – Salt Lake City, Utah
The semester I lived here, David and I had to do the long distance reltionship thing. And it sucked. I admit: I spent most of my time here being anti-social, just talking with David over iChat and counting the days until graduation. In this dorm, I also continued to expand my many frugal uses of cardboard (see cardboard TV stand in #15) by wedging a piece of cardboard in between my mattress and bedframe and using it as a night table. No regrets.
18. “The Klamath House” – Macdoel, California
My first home after college. I lived here — in what was basically Middle of Nowhere, CA — over the summer while I worked as an archaeology intern with the U.S. Forest Service. I shared this house with an intimidating female firefighter who partied a lot and happened to share my love of Say Yes to the Dress marathons. It was an interesting summer, spent exploring the wilderness, caked in dirt, with blisters on my feet. It’s where I learned for sure that I’m definitely not the outdoorsy type.
19. “The Hilo House” – Hilo, Hawaii
Ah, yes, the Hilo House. After my summer with the USFS, I moved straight to Hawaii to be with David while he finished his last semester of college on the Big Island. He had been living here for about a year with three of his college buddies and it was decided that I would move in with them. This house was…dirty. It was a typical “college guy” house with constant video game playing, trash everywhere, and all night parties. We planned to live in this house for at least a few months, but as they tend to do, our plans changed unexpectedly.
20. “The Cathedral Studio” – Washington, DC
With less than two weeks notice, I again picked up my life and moved to Washington, DC — this time from Hawaii, this time with David, and this time with a bonafide (read: paid) job at National Geographic. We rented a dark, first-floor, studio apartment in the same building as one of my good friends and lived here for a little over a year. It was just down the street from the Washington National Cathedral, hence the apartment’s nickname, which made us feel extra regal. We went through our first derecho in this apartment. We experimented with fun new recipes. We bought Ikea furniture (the basic rite of passage for all new home makers). We were settling in.
21. “Our Georgetown Apartment” – Georgetown, Washington, DC
When we felt that urge to move again, we found an amazing place in Georgetown, a charming little neighborhood in Washington, DC (check out our DC neighborhood guide here). I loved loved loved this apartment. A corner unit on the top floor, this light-filled apartment felt so cozy and bright. It had creeky wood flors and crown molding and a dishwasher (a dishwasher!). This is the apartment where I have felt most like a regular ol’ adult…nice furniture, bills, a full-time job, good friends, the works.
22. “London Flat” – Westminster, London, UK
I think we would have stayed in our Georgetown apartment for much longer, but then David got an opportunity through his work to move to London, England (check out our England guide here), and we couldn’t pass that up. We lived in a flat in Westminster with two good friends from DC and two additional roommates who we only learned about on the day we moved in. While we didn’t love living in London (so expensive! so busy!), it’s not something we’ll ever regret.
Which brings us to…
23. “Old City One Bedroom” – Chiang Mai, Thailand
Here we are now, in a quiet one-bedroom apartment in Chiang Mai’s Old City. We love the location: we’re close to food, shops, the malls, the movie theaters, and most importantly, the school where I work as an English teacher. I walk to and from work every day, and I love coming home to our apartment. Who knows how long we’ll end up living in this particular home and who knows where in the world we’ll end up settling in the long-run, but our little apartment in Chiang Mai is perfect.