At the beginning of this month, I moved in with my boyfriend.

A few years ago, if you had asked me how I felt about moving in with a partner, I would have adamantly told you that it was out of the question. However, this past version of myself has quickly been foiled by a boyfriend whom I trust, see a future with, and cannot get enough of. (Also, he’s cute.) [Disclaimer: This is not, by any means, an endorsement for moving in with simply anyone. We made this decision after much discussion, mutual consent, and establishing what both of us want in the future.]

The funny thing about moving in together is that you quickly become a master of your own inventory, reducing your belongings to lists and numbers. For example, I learned that I had 2 large suitcases full of winter clothes, 15 pairs of shoes, and (for some reason) 6 bottles of contact lens solution. The next challenge was learning to consolidate. Between us, my boyfriend and I had 5 flashlights, 4 screwdrivers, and 3 sets of towels. (We ended up either throwing out or giving away what we didn’t need.) Despite the cumbersome task of moving, we knew we’d be reducing the commute between both our places to zero miles and would, in the long run, be saving on rent.

Then, after we settled in, something started to happen. It slowly became obvious that the most valuable things were those that could never be catalogued, archived, or quantified. Like, the butterflies I get when he refers to things as “ours.” The relief I feel knowing that I’ll always have someone to rescue me from disproportionately large bugs. How giddy I get when I see our both our names on the mailbox. Sharing breakfast together with the radio on. Learning to make decisions together–big and small. Picking up on each others’ habits (like how I never fully finish sodas and how he tends to bite his nails). Falling asleep on the couch during X-Files marathons. And just how plain happy we are being near one another.

I realize now: the things that quantify a home don’t necessarily qualify one. The latter is up to us. Furthermore, akin to building a home is fostering a successful partnership, a process that is ongoing and–if you’re lucky–well worth it. For now, I’m fortunate to have found an equally invested partner in crime for this venture.

There’s a German word, Geborgenheit, for which there is no English counterpart. It’s used to describe “the sum of security, warmth, protection, trust, and love.” I’m inclined to say that it’s also the sum of what the first month living with my counterpart has felt like. To many, many more ahead.