I don’t remember the first time I moved. Memories of swimming in a kiddie pool with neighbors in Chicago runs together with running around the crazy daisy with my sister in our yard in Milwaukee. Playing tag with my mom runs in our condo turns to teaching myself how to dribble in the driveway. I have no memoriy of packing, moving, and leaving. Only vagueities of both places.
I remember when I was told that we were moving to New York from Wisconsin. I was wearing a red dress and I sat in my moms lap and cried my eyes out. When I finished crying we set off the library. We checked out stacks of books on New York. Eloise, and Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. We got sticker books with bagels and hot dogs, buses and subways, guide books that told about famous landmarks in the city. When we arrived in New York we were greeted by a doorman, a balcony, and a phone that cackled like a roster. Maybe it wouldn’t be as terrible as I had envisioned.
When we went house hunting in DC, I announced to our doorman that we were going to Washington. “Which one?” I hadn’t realized there were two. I wanted a house like in my favorite books I imagined a place covered with ivy like in the Secret Garden and a well in the backyard like in Little House on the Prairie. We got a colonial-esque house on a street lined with cheery trees. After a two year contract we were out and on our way back to the New York tri-state area.
I don’t remember much about moving from Washington to New Jersey. At that point, with moving every two years I had become desensitized to moving paraphernalia. I do remember laying on my sisters bed, facing that wall and crying a little bit. I quickly dried my tears, not wanting anyone to see my feelings.
We had only ever really spent two years in any city at that point, so I went into friendships in New Jersey with the idea that we would move again in two years. Two years past, then three, and four and I came to the realization that I was stuck in the suburbs. At least for the foreseeable future.
I had just gotten back from camp when I was told we would be moving again. I wanted to tell everyone as soon as I knew. I was so excited to explore a new city and learn a new place. I was adamant that we live within walking distance to the bus or train. Even with three homes in less than two years, I was so ecstatic to be in the middle of it all. When I graduated high school I spent my last days in San Francsico planning to set up in Chicago for the next four years.
Since starting college I’ve lived in four apartments and returned multiple times to the house I left in San Francisco. The process of moving quickly has turned from large-scale production to small-scale to do. At one point I finished moving the last of my belongings into an apartment with a granny cart and a backpack.
Now this sea-saw of transitions is settling into equilibrium. I just signed a lease for a year. A whole year. And I’ll be living here the whole time as opposed to going home to San Francisco for extended summer breaks and thinking of it as a sloppy second. I am amazed that this new home is not in Chicago, but in Los Angeles, a city of traffic and heat I don’t even quite fully understand yet.
I have to keep telling myself that I’ve found a place to live in Los Angeles. And somehow with everything, I have decided that I will make this place home. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m excited once again to get started in this new city where I can begin to build the kind of community that I will thrive in. Are you ready for this? Don’t answer that, because ready or not here I come.