My dearest Bend,
You were here when I needed you, and for that I thank you.
How many months did I hem and haw about the decision to come here? I convinced myself to move, then talked myself out of it, then cried, then got excited, then changed my mind again. Over and over and over.
And then I JUST DID IT.
I needed the kick in the pants. I needed the fresh start. I needed to be brave and scared and exhilarated and free. Bend, you gave me those things. Thank you.
I remember, specifically, the very first time I sat alone in my new apartment and cried. It happened shortly after moving here. It was cold and dark, and I'd just walked Luna around the short loop in my neighborhood. The moon was huge and so very bright up in the sky over Pilot Butte, and suddenly I felt so incredibly alone and far away.
I walked Luna home and cried. Did I really just move 2,000 miles away?
But Bend, you made it better.
I made friends. I experienced adventure like no other adventures I'd had before. I saw beauty I'd never experienced before. I lived among beauty I'd never experienced before. I broke my first bone. And my second bone. Bought a Jeep, got tattoos, pierced some things. I had high highs and low lows.
I did all these things on my own, Bend. And all the while you were there with your mountains and your fresh air and your awaiting adventures, and you made sure I didn't forget how lucky I was.
Because I'm super lucky.
I was brave enough to come here, Bend, and now I'm brave enough to leave you, too. I got brave and scared and exhilarated and free this year, and now I know I can do the big things.
I can make the big decisions for myself and I will be okay. There is nothing to be afraid of, Bend, because if you don't try, how will you know?
So thank you, Bend, for my adventure. Thank you for, in your complex and intricate way, leading me back home. I will miss you, Bend, but I will love what's waiting for me at home even more. Thanks to you.