leaving home (again)

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the awkwardest, and apparently, crankiest kid at summer camp. i’m second row, fourth from the left. I HATE CAMPING.

the first time i left home, i was eight years old, and en route from a T station outside boston to belgrade, maine, where i was to spend the next four weeks at a jewish summer camp called modin. i went on to spend 9 summers there, long enough to learn how to share a space with 15 girls, to clean a toilet and scrub a shower, to have my first kiss (and my first few other things, too – thanks, wolves hideaway), to have my heart broken by mean girls and to learn how to stand up for myself.

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me and my friend hannah, the night we graduated from high school

the second time i left home, i was 18, and en route from my hometown in western mass to upstate new york, where i was to spend the next four years in saratoga springs at a college called skidmore. there, i took my camp skills and applied them to sharing a dorm room with a woman who would go on to become one of my closest friends post college. i learned how to write a short story, how to survive on a dining hall food plan, how to exist amongst people with more money and privilege than i’d ever imagined, how to roll a proper joint, how to go out on tuesdays, thursdays, fridays AND saturdays, and how to sleep in.

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me and my oldest friend kim, our first summer in new york city

 the third time i left home, i was 22, and en route from saratoga to new york city, where i was to spend my first year in a teeny tiny bedroom on 13th and 1st. i have the most vivid memory of this moment, of speeding down the interstate in my little toyota corolla, packed to gils with clothes and tchotchkes and 4 years of college life. i was blasting the fray’s “over my head” (#college), one foot up on the dashboard and the other on the gas, and i had this terrifying feeling that i was leaving behind perhaps the best four years of my life, that things were, from here on out, going to be totally, completely, irrevocably different.

oh, how right i was (the story of how i moved from my third to my fourth apartment, is, well, a mouthful. the story, if you’re curious, can be found here).

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my current bedroom

this will be the fifth time i will leave home–but the first that i will leave a home that is mine, not my parents. a home that i have spent seven years making my own.

this week, i have my co-op board interview, also known as the second to last step in this process. if they approve me, closing will be scheduled, and the grand apartment will officially be mine. i’ll embark on the crazy process of renovation, tearing out the old and building back up with the new. and at the end of it, i’ll move into a new home – a home  i OWN – and i’ll start again, at another address, in another apartment, on another city street.

the thought is both magical and terrifying. so many people think of new york apartments as “a place to sleep” and nothing else – they do their living out in the world. but i’ve always ascribed to the belief that your home should be your sanctuary, and have worked to make mine so. and soon, i’ll be starting that process from scratch. godspeed, self.

 

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