Before and after the flooding waters came and washed us inside.
I was enrolled in a writing course during undergrad where our first assignment was to look abstractly at our definition of the word home. Broadly it was feelings I received alongside a coordinate on a map. I found a home to symbolize the togetherness of the humans I surrounded myself with. I never felt it was as if the word only amounted to the physical embodiment of a structure, but in this case, this residence has remained my home for so long.
After the age of one, I reached all my milestones at this address. I developed and grew while the structure remained the same. It was here that I ran under the countertops until I was too tall and slammed my head into the granite. It was here that my parents collected photos of me falling asleep in strange places. I would wake up on Christmas and excitedly run to the family room shake all the presents under the tree that Santa gave me.
My flowered wallpapered was plastered up before moving in and then stripped and painted electric blue when I challenged the femininity of my personality while being a sports fanatic in middle school. My eyes strained at the color and eventually more coats of purple paint covered the brightness because my mom wouldn’t let me paint the room black in high school. I left for college and it was redecorated and updated to keep up with my changing personality and maturity. It remains now like it is in the photo above in my memory.
I would sit outside on my driveway and stare up at the stars in the evening and understand how infinite life felt. I would walk my neighborhood and adventure with friends. I would leave and return feeling incredibly grateful for this home and where I grew up. This city has made an impact on my life that I always felt I would want to return and show the one I love the city that developed me, but I would never return here to live. It would be to walk down memory lane and highlight all the highs and lows throughout my time here.
Those feelings felt real this time more than ever. I stared down another move, and I have a feeling this could be the last time I ever reside at this residence. I am hitting the age where moving back in would seem counterproductive. I am pursuing the dreams to get myself established and that won’t happen in this home.
I have never known what it will be like to not be able to return to my childhood home and walk inside. I know my parents have desires to find themselves elsewhere as well. There is a chance that soon my room, which has only ever been my room, will become someone else’s. I took it all in before I left.
I started out my window at the view and saw the branches I used to climb sway slightly with the breeze. I looked around at the emptiness that remained. I pulled my bedroom door behind me and felt it latch shut. I gazed around the shared living areas and stepped outside. I watched out the car window as the garage door descended and closed. I looked back to see the flowers planted in the lawn I ran around and played in with our family dogs.
The trees in the neighborhood whipped past me and blurred into a green haze as I closed my eyes to remember that I was ready—I was ready to soon establish my own home.
I have been going through so many life changes that it has been rather difficult to catch my breath. When my plane flew over the New York skyscrapers and I looked down over the possibility of my new home my breath escaped me, except it wasn’t taking my breath away in a good way.
Excitement jumps for joy inside of me when it comes to adventure, but then for once, I was worried this was going to be a mistake. I fell a victim to it. I fell to the anxiety that was: I have two days, if that, to find a home in a city I have only previously spent 72 hours in. Not only was I worried, but I was utterly terrified that I was going to step off the plane onto the jetway and combust.
I have moved just a few times in my life. Naples, Florida is where I resided in for nearly eighteen years. It was the only home I knew for so long, but I was so ready to find myself elsewhere. I moved to Boulder, Colorado, the Patagonia Disneyland of the West for college and took my home to an all-time high (elevation that is).
I left the mountains and moved to gain a broken British accent while living in London, England. I felt like I would never live anywhere except London. I found myself there more than I ever did in Boulder or Naples. I shed all my imperfections and strengthened myself and views the world so vastly in such a short amount of time. I was spinning all my grad school gears towards the United Kingdom.
I fell in love and that changed things. I always felt my parents holding onto my invisible reigns, but they would have always let go so I could follow my heart to the U.K. I started to see how hard it would be to live abroad and stay abroad due to immigration laws. As I was realizing that, I was finding what I loved in my own home again.
I would have never thrown away my dreams to be with him just as I would have never hoped he would do the same for me, but I was swayed most likely subconsciously to stay close to what I loved here. I started looking back at the school I looked at originally for my parents, but now it wasn’t to humor them but to see if I could find myself once more in a new city here. I was ecstatic that NYU admitted me into their program.
I was envisioning how much I would grow and how excited I would be to have everyone come to the city and stay in my cozy East Village apartment. When I walked around New York I was reminded of that, but I was overwhelmed. I watched too many Friends leading up, and my apartment views were slightly skewed. They are smaller than Monica’s Mansion.
I have to say its so important to trust your gut. I may have stayed in America for tons of different reasons, and I may have lost sight of them when I felt weakened by apartment viewings. I knew I loved my apartment before I viewed it. I saw other places, too many places, but nothing compared. I am grateful that it didn’t slip through my fingers like it could have. It was an experience none the less.
When they say 70-90% sure on the apartment is enough they mean it. This is what I found helped me not find 100%: