I moved to Vermont at the beginning of 8th grade. Talk about a life-thrown tomato. My dad and I moved first, since schools in Vermont (well, New Hampshire too, but that’s a weird, different story) start earlier than schools in New York. My parents hadn’t even closed on the house yet, so we stayed in the local inn. We were so concerned about me staying on top of school that my dad brought a whole desktop computer – before the screens were as thin as they are today – and set it up on a coffee table he moved into my “room.” Later, I would convince them that I needed a Macintosh, a bright blue iMac, since my new school had them, and because I knew nothing about compatibility (and, evidently, had forgotten that computers exist in libraries).

Sidenote: What a conniving 13-year-old I was: it took over a decade, but now my whole family is on Macs of various sorts and sizes.*

So began the “Where do you live?” “The [town] Inn.” “Huh..?”, but also the best move of my life – not that I knew it at the time. Actually, when my mom told me, on a sunny day between two summer camp sessions, I burst into tears. I’d swear it took her a good twenty minutes to calm me down, sitting in the car, but I generally don’t like swearing.

My wonderfully supportive dad worked his social magic and arranged a middle-school-esque playdate with two girls who would be in my class, so I could at the very least start the year knowing someone. We didn’t wind up being close friends, but a smiling face – who knows your name – in a new school can mean the world.

People in the area were friendly, and I loved being surrounded by so many trees. It was a huge change from New York, where we lived in the suburbs of “the City.” A couple weeks went by and we closed on the house, and my mom, brother, and the moving company hauled up our collective stuff. Moving day…had some excitement. But everything got in.

Six days later, I was sitting in my drama class. It’s funny, what memory recall does to you. I can’t even remember if someone delivered a note to my teacher or if it was announced over the loudspeaker. It didn’t really hit me until we acted it out for a Russian girl in my class, showing how planes had crashed into tall buildings in New York City and DC. I was coldly relieved, though my parents didn’t happen to work in the city. Still, they could have been there. And as many of the students and teachers gathered in the library to watch the news during lunch, and some were crying, I wanted to. But nothing came. I thought of all my friends back home, how many must have lost mothers, fathers, even both. Family. Worse, wondering. Wondering and wondering. Eery, eery timing, our move. It would take me nearly a decade to work it out, but my nightmares, my year-long fear whenever a car came down my road, the daymares and poems that stemmed from them – they began here. They’ve generally gone away, though the occasional event makes them pop out again. There was a security officer for the Holocaust Museum who was shot while I was interning in DC for a summer. The theme was somewhat reversed in my dreams – something to do with mass versus single I think – but I finally put two and two together.

Okay. Well, sorry about the tangent. This was meant as a “this is where I’m from now and I’m going back soon!” post…It really was the best move. I love Vermont. I love the view from my window, the brooks and rivers, trails, skiing and climbing, wonderful people. Yes, I even love the winters. Mud season, eh. It was less fun when I was horseback riding up there, as it meant I frequently got mud all over me, or lost a boot taking a horse back out in the dark. There’s nothing then but to step in it and pick up the boot, ready to wash for another day. And no, I don’t own a horse and never have. I learned to contra dance there, which led to even more wonderful things down the road.

I am going home for a whole week. My boyfriend is taking his spring break from teaching to drive me up, spend time with my mom, dad, brother, might-as-well-be-sister-in-law, and dogs. Many points, babe. I am so excited. Ever since I began thinking about it and planning the trip, I’ve been looking forward to it.

* I really wish I could take credit for such a long-term, laid-out plan at age 13. I can’t.

Also: Mom, Dad, this will happen. It always happens. It’s been happening as long as I’ve been able to sneak. Secret’s out.