It is the last night in my apartment. I’ve been in a sleeping bag for two nights now, which I should get used to: I leave for the Appalachian Trail in 11 days. It’s always a bit odd for me to leave a place. I always have to say “goodbye” to the space I’ve called my own for months on end – right before the moving truck pulls out, or my parents’ car, or the boyfriend with the UHaul. I take a few moments just for me, thank the space for hosting me so well, and shut the door.

This time, I’m shutting the door on something much more major. My life is about to change in a very real way, and in ways I can’t even imagine yet. I’m going “off the grid” – or, as off the grid as one can be in our age of cell phones and iPads and data plans. According to my insurance, it would be easier for me to go abroad than to stay in the country while I hike. I can’t get any prescriptions in advance – no way no how – though I explained to them at least three times I would  be without access to a pharmacy for 6 months. Someone had even told me they could do 3 months, but never entered it into the system. I pleaded, the pharmacist pleaded: no exceptions. This makes things a bit more interesting.

Today was my last day in the office, too. I take a leave of absence for the next 7 months. It was very weird. I made my goodbye rounds after a lunch out. It reminded me a little bit of leaving camp: I know I’ll be back, but I work with some really great people, and I’ll miss them. There was not much left to say, really. It’s been said, variously, at different times and places.

“Good luck, have fun, be safe.”

“Yes, I will.”

On to my big adventure.

With that comes the leave of absence from this blog, too. I’m already trying to keep up with 2 other Appalachian Trail (AT)-related blogs. And besides, all of life’s tomatoes for the next several months will hit me while I’m on the Trail.

My main blog while I’m hiking is here.

I’m also contributing to Appalachian Trials.

Au revoir. I leave you with this quote:

It starts as an uneasy sleep, a deep restlessness. That’s how it began for me. Perhaps for you, too.

Underneath the slick, secure, same surfaces of daily life, “things” begin to stir. Soft whispers are heard, faintly, in the heart; a restlessness moves in the solar plexus. These stirrings, easy to ignore at first, remain as tenderly persistent as a plant pushing through asphalt. The restlessness seems like the enemy within, threatening to blow up the status quo.

And, of course, it will. That’s the news I want to convey.

But it is no enemy. It is, in fact, the very best friend you have.

– The Ordinary Adventurer, by Jan Leitschuh.

new friends new school

the rural rolling hills

so different from the New York suburb

I used to know.

Morning drama class,

a Russian girl could not understand

so we acted it out

and became the tragedy.

it was a game

 


but fires were

still burning,

the innocent

still dying,

the towers

crash down

on all of us

I owe you a post! I’ve owed you a post for awhile. Apologies.

So, I moved out of one place and into another, the boyfriend seems to be sticking around (and reading me better, we’ll get to that soon), and a brother is getting married this week!

The Move:

The move actually went really well. Hire movers if you can. It took them less than 3 hours to move everything out and then in. 3 hours! I remember doing this myself and it was a painful, all-day thing. Not so with professionals! I had rescheduled the Internet/cable technician to come after the movers left, but that memo didn’t get to where it needed to be, so he arrived while the movers were still getting boxes into rooms. Oh well, it all got done in one day. I’m still unpacking stuff. It’s amazing how much you actually need to live and how much you can really do without. I’ll find out a lot more about that when I go on my hike! So I’ve basically been putting it off, but at some point I’ll finish the last boxes and get pictures up, etc.

reading cornerI like the new place a lot. The space is a little easier to work with, and I now have a “reading corner” in my room, which is becoming my favorite place. The trick now is to keep it clutter-free! The kitchen is a touch smaller than I’d like but very workable. Still need a rug for my room and new curtains of some sort.

Downsides: no more washer and dryer in my apartment. It is on site, but you have to put money on this card, and the card machine isn’t even in a laundry room, it’s in the gym room, and the 2 cards for laundry and to get into the gym look exactly the same. Really? But it’s not a huge deal so far. It’ll be good to move more things around. Anything, anything to get myself in gear for this hike! I did my have first roach and other-nasty-bug (centipede or silverfish, ugh) experience yesterday and am on high alert now. They are fine outside. I don’t like them inside.

Speaking of the hike, I did the walk from the office to the new place (conveniently located near a bike trail), and it took me about an hour, 3.3 miles. Hopefully that becomes a regular commute.

The Boy:

He stayed with me a couple of weeks to help me move. So far, so good still. He’s increasingly meeting more friends and they like him, which is always a good sign 😉 A bunch of of went out to see Dazed and Confused because a theater was playing it, and we went out after and had a really fun time. It was even on a <gasp> weeknight! I’m starting to get his humor better, he’s starting to read me better. Wonderful case in point: I was feeling antsy and needed some space after the move. I loved having him here, and trying to get into this strange new routine of eating normal dinners at normal times. It was odd to get used to, as much as I did, with my absurd work hours, and now I know what everyone else who lives with a significant other means when they have to get home, they have to go make dinner, they want to just be with that person, whether they’re working or not. Just to be. Anyway, I am not used to that. And I hadn’t had a chance to make this new place my own, really. But before I would have said anything, I made some comment one morning that my work was going to be nuts, and he suggested he leave me be and go home for a week. And that is, really, what I wanted, but I felt bad saying it. He made it so I didn’t have to, which I appreciate tons (yes, noted that I should say these things in future but it’s not always easy). So, he comes back today and then we are off to said brother’s wedding! Yes, we. So, so, so excited. Aloha!

Other:

What else. I’m experimenting with beer, which I’ve never liked. That’s been an interesting adventure thus far. Work had some drama, but it’s on its way to being worked out. I’ve discovered and fallen in love with a new TV show called The Fosters. Watch it. It’s great. I went back to my writing group after forever, months and months. I am realizing how fast my goal to publish is approaching, so I’m attempting to finish editing the novel. 3am work nights make this difficult sometimes, but vacation soon and lots of plane rides to work on it 😀

<waves>

So…hey guys. I’ve missed you! Probably. There’s been a lot going on; I’ve been out of the blogosphere for a little bit now. That tends to be how my summers are. If I’m not working, I’m sleeping. Or doing – nothing.

But things are still happening: I started dating someone I’ve known for close to a decade, and it’s going great. I’m moving in a few weeks, and have confirmed a moving company for it. I finally made a dermatologist appointment for those pesky moles. Work had a super shitty week, and a celebration.

I think I’ve mentioned this, but the addition of the boy has only improved it: I’m happy. I’m self-happy, I feel content. Not to say I don’t have awful days every now and then (or, several consecutive days of them), but I feel…free. Things aren’t so bad. Some of that was familiar, a few months back. There is this element to single life that is freeing, that boosts confidence. I’m well aware this seems backwards (the confidence bit); possible evidence I haven’t found the right guy? Anyway, this new-old boy is great. It just feels easy. Not like other ones – I mean, yes, of course there will be that honeymoon perfect period, but this is more natural, even. Maybe more adult? I don’t know. We’re dancing at the edges, seeing where it’ll go. We’re independent, and I think it’s really important to both of us that we remain that way, but we can do that together. He makes me laugh, all the time. He’s ridiculous and serious and creative and musical, and listens, and talks. We find more and more in common. It’ll be nice to continue learning more about each other. In some ways it’s strange – I feel like I know him since we’ve known each other for so long, but we don’t really know each other. Not beyond dinner parties and news from parents when the other’s away – our families are best friends up in Vermont, that’s how we know each other.

I shall leave you with a cryptogram. I’ve gotten back into those to work my brain, and managed to break this one easily enough. Basically: this is a quote by a famous person. Each letter has been replaced by another letter, and one equals another, always (e.g., if J=R, J will = R every time). Think about the English language, trends, and what it can and can’t do. Give it a whirl and post your guesses in the comments!

QFL  HCVPS  PX  V  ANSWLCEZK  NCJVS;  PQ  XQVCQX  QFL  BPSZQL  RNZ  JLQ  ZT  PS  QFL  BNCSPSJ  VSW  WNLX  SNQ  XQNT  ZSQPK  RNZ  JLQ  QN  QFL  NEEPGL.  –  CNHLCQ  ECNXQ

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA here. Life is moving at a strange pace right now. There’s been a lot happening, then not so much, then a lot. Mostly exciting or positive things. There have been friend visits and hanging out with old and new, cultural trips to the Kennedy Center for some sweet performances, soccer matches, getting ready for the Appalachian Trail. And I think (it’s early yet) that I’ve found a better work-life balance this year. I think it’s been throwing me off, actually. I’m used to giving up entire seasons of my life just to be able to keep up with everything and still maintain some semblance of sanity (i.e., sleep). I’ve forced myself to work better or faster; I’ll take either one. It’s also entirely possible work will explode in the days after I post this. But I feel like I’m in a good place, right now. Things are happening. It’s good. I’m happy.

The summer is proving to be an expensive one, though, or it soon will be. I’m angling to get out of this apartment and into a new one soon. This entails breaking one lease and entering a new one knowing I won’t be there for an entire year. I have found a place I like (in theory) that has “flexible lease terms.” I’ll go check it out this weekend and see.

That will certainly throw life into chaos. Packing, cleaning, packing, packing, packing. Arranging old and new electricity, Internet, TV (maybe), address change across everything. The whole moving bit. Also, depending on the date I can move in, there is a car situation to figure out logistics-wise. I let my friend keep his car here while he was on a trip overseas, and that would all be well and good (ooh I have a car?) except it’s a stick-shift, and I never learned. If I move before he comes back, I’ll need to enlist some local help to drive his car to the new place and hopefully get the parking situation set. He’s back in a few weeks – possibly – so it may wind up being a moot point. But sometimes these places move fast! Either way, I pay a whole heck of a lot of money – if I’m lucky, maybe not so much. The current termination fee is 2 months’ rent, unless someone rents my unit earlier. Ho-ly. It’ll be a nice dent in my savings, for sure, but I can do it, and I know I’ll be happier wherever I go. This place is great, but it’s not near anything (or nearly anyone) and no one wants to come all the way out here to have dinner, or anything. I need to be more social; I miss it. So, fingers crossed for me!

Peace out, friends.

Boyfriend is not moving to North Carolina. Stupid North Carolina did not like his certification. After all this. When he first told me, I was so angry. They’d offered. He’d accepted. How are teachers supposed to be able to move, switch around, find a job if there is no certificate reciprocity? He is an incredible teacher. Their loss.

The past few days have been intensely up and down. I don’t actually feel like writing about it all now. I need to process for a little. But wanted to give an update to all those amazing people who reached out to me lately. After some drama and poorly-picked words, we’re still together. A little tentative, I think, but happy.

I was the one who’d said maybe this isn’t working, maybe we need to see other people. And then we talked, and I don’t think either of us could let go. But that is, possibly, a post for another day. I’m tired. I actually have a day off. I might stay in my PJs and watch movies all day. I might get my hair re-dyed. I don’t know.

 

Love.

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.

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

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.