The first one was in Roanoke, where I found anxiety and started graduate school. I felt like such an adult, grinding my coffee beans fresh every morning and parking in my garage. Rob lived there over the summer, and then Christmas break, and then moved in for another summer after his graduation from Hampden-Sydney, but it felt less like our apartment than it felt like it was mine, even if it didn't fit.
The second one was in Charlottesville, with weird green carpet and a tiny kitchen, but a little office/guest room that made us feel like we had a home. We spent hours in libraries and computer labs, at bars with cheap drinks and cornhole set up under a string of outdoor lights, and were constantly with friends. I felt like less of an adult, with a part-time job as a barista and afternoons full of research, and I loved it.
Now we're in Minneapolis, in the high-rise apartment with a balcony and a pool we never use. It's big enough and everything is new and we finally have that bookcase from IKEA that I've always wanted. This is the apartment we have as an engaged couple, and it's the first place we'll live as newlyweds. What other defining moments (other than that impending Minnesota winter) will occur while we live under this roof, I don't know yet. But I'll look back one day and see it from the future, and I'll tell you what this place was like and what it means to us because of that.
After a year apart, I forgot that living together is something Rob and I have done before--the norm, really. We've left little parts of ourselves places and picked up and taken things with us, and now we're here, together (again).