Running in a New Place


It doesn’t take long.

For newness to wear off.


And here I am

In a place

That doesn’t yet feel quite

Like it fits.


I don’t have a library card.

I am scared of going grocery shopping. (Someday I’m not going to have a looney with me and how will I get a shopping cart and then what? Huh, people? THEN WHAT?)

I have a job but I’m never quite sure if I’m doing it right.

Why are there always so many people walking everywhere? (I think I would feel much more comfortable in the city if there were fewer people.)


But I’ve been to Ikea three times

And I’ve been to Dollarama twice.

I’ve seen it rain here.

I’ve felt the cloaking humidity.

I’ve laughed here,

And I’ve felt like crying here.


These things count for something.


Tonight the air smells like the most like fall that it has all year,

And the sky is deep dark blue

And the street lamps are a friendly shade of orange

And the wind feels like

It’s got something mysterious tangled up in it.


I’ve been hiding away in our apartment,

And I’m tired of the way that feels.


So I lace up my shoes.

I strap on my armband.

And out I go into the night.


There are people to run past.

There are stop signs and crosswalks

And many vehicles pulling into their driveways. (I like the thought of all those people coming home, because coming home is such a good feeling.)


The warmth comes to my muscles at a different time than that other route I used to run,

But it still comes and running isn’t stiff anymore,

It’s natural.


The tiredness and the bursts of energy also arrive at different points than I am used to,

But they are familiar when they come.


It sure would be easy to trip and fall

As I run

On these unfamiliar, uneven sidewalks

In the blue evening light.

But if I watch where I’m going,

I’ll be fine.


The ups and the downs and ins and outs are different.

But they are also kind of the same.

Running in a new place isn’t so bad, after all.



When it’s all said and done,

I sit outside my door (right under the light even though anyone driving by could see me),

And I think about how


This place has seen me sweat

And heard me breathe hard

And felt my feet pound.


It feels just a little bit more like I belong with this place.


It feels like…

I want to do this again.






6 thoughts on “Running in a New Place

  1. Your comment about hiding out in the apartment and feeling tired of that jumped out at me because it made me go YES! I remember feeling that way when I moved to China – into a city where I knew no one and no language. I wanted to stay in the safety of my apartment but knew it would drive me crazy so for the first few weeks I made myself get onto public transit and get off at a different stop every day after my morning language classes. I know your daily schedule is different and exploring every day is likely not an option but I do hope you are able to find ways to continue getting out and making the city home.

    1. I like that so much… that you chose to get off at a different stop every day! I’ve got a mental list of things I want to do and I’ve been starting to notice places I want to visit and explore. Your comment makes me feel more excited and less scared about doing those things. Thanks!

  2. Yup – I remember that feeling of coming to the end of hiding too – armed with about four words in Spanish, I headed down the dirt road of Luperon, DR. I think I was looking for eggs and milk. 🙂 I love that it was running that took you far and fast. You will do it again, and each time, you will feel more welcome, more at home.

  3. You’re brave and you will embrace this new home and it won’t be easy but I love the heart you are giving to this. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  4. I love your writing and the image of you out-running your fears.And it is true that cities have the friendliest lights! That might be because they actually have lights, unlike the country. You will be amazed at the growth in yourself in a few years.

    1. Years??? It’s gonna take years??? Oh boy.
      (I’m just kidding. 🙂 Growth takes time, and then it takes time to recognize it too. Thanks for your kind comment!)

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