Since husband and I have been a couple, we’ve lived in 4 different states and in 6 different apartments. Permanence has not been part of our lifestyle; we’ve followed our wanderlust, keeping each only each other as our mainstays (well, each other and a little bit of furniture). But now we’ve landed in a location that we both think has the potential to be home for longer than our year-long lease, and the idea of a true home has me thrilled.

I had a pet fish named Paintbucket before I moved to Chicago and began this crazy adventure. Taking a fish cross-country in a moving van isn’t really feasible, so I gave him to a family friend. Five years has passed, the time making up what it lacked in stability with a bevy of memorable experiences, but no little creature to come home and idly chat with/to, feed and admire. I haven’t even owned a potted plant, save for one disastrously killed cactus.

Last year for our wedding, I didn’t yet know that I would be moving once more across the country, but I did know that I wanted to nest. I wanted for husband and I to build a life together that existed in more than just shared stories and snapshots of faraway places. And so, the perfect wedding registry item emerged: an aquaponic fish tank. It filled his desire for science and a sustainable lifestyle and my desire for a little pet and some fresh herbs to cook with.

Two nights ago, we went to Petco, picked out the newest member of our household and brought him home to bask in the windowsill, looking out into the urban landscape while fertilizing the basil and wheatgrass that shall grow atop his tank. I have a pet. I have something growing.

I am home now in a way that feels more real, more lasting than it has in a very long time. And I am thankful.