Wednesday, November 10, 2010


It is November 10th, and I have officially run out of posts I wrote the one night I was up until 2am with jet lag, which were all set to auto-publish at 12:01 AM on successive days to satisfy the NaBloPoMo requirements. Today's post is in real time.

On this blog I have mentioned, but not provided a detailed account of the fact that since I moved out of my beloved New Brunswick home, where I'd lived for just over a year, at the end of Summer 2008, I have not lived in the same place for more than four months at a time. The place I called home three years ago was the last long-term home I had. For a very long time, I pined for a home; eventually, I got used to living out of a suitcase. I now excel at packing. Instability feels natural, or rather, what's stable in my life is no longer necessarily where I sleep.

My account of The Move West has gotten to a place where it seems appropriate to explain. Each "home" comes with its own set of stories, such as why I moved there, why I moved out, and everything that happened in between. This post will serve as a table of contents and/or a preview of what's to come.

1. My Solo Home This is a pretty lame title; I'm working out what to call this place so as not to give out too many identifying details. It was a very small one bedroom apartment that I had all to myself. The rent and utilities combined were triple what I paid in my previous New Brunswick home. After four months, I had to report to jury duty, and when I was selected for a two-month trial, I began living out of a suitcase in...

2. My Parents' House which was about twenty-five miles closer to the courthouse than my apartment was. Living in my parents' house for two months, while the majority of my stuff lived in my apartment, was fine. Other than the stress of avoiding newspapers and not being able to talk about my day to anyone, constantly worrying that I'd slip and give away a detail of the trial, plus some resulting things that were happening at my job (a story for another time), I liked living at my parents' house much more than I thought I would. I liked jury duty more than is normal. For one thing, we were given an hour to eat lunch and could actually go to restaurants if we forgot to pack a sandwich; we didn't have to rush to McDonald's and/or starve. When I realized I enjoyed living in my parents' house and being on a jury more than normal life, I began to realize that something was wrong.

3. Return to My Solo Home I returned to my apartment, environmentally educating the public by day and searching for jobs by night. I sent my resume out locally and to any place in America that seemed faintly liveable. Weeks passed. Finally, a week arrived with two e-mails requesting phone interviews, one from the Chicago Botanic Garden and one from Portland, Oregon. Both phone interviews were successful; I knew I was on two short lists. After another week, I was offered and (after examining my finances and doing lots of math) accepted the job in Oregon. It was only three months after I returned to this home that I left for Portland.

4. Portland Home #1 This was the apartment that I wrote about, in The Move West, moving toward. I left after three and a half months. It was very far out, almost in a suburb, and it took too long to get to bars, cafes, farmers' markets, or anything else I wanted to frequent. Plus, there was a shooting on my block, which I heard from the dining room table.

5. Portland Home #2 I lived here for two weeks, and yet I remember it more clearly than Portland Home #1, because it reminded me a lot of my 2008 New Brunswick home and because I invested more emotion into making this place my home. I left after learning that I was an illegal sublettor and because of events (which I may or may not write about; I'm afraid of who'll see them) that made me afraid to stay. The experiences of this apartment, my moving into it and my moving out, were a reinforcement of one lesson I learned in Portland and advice I'd give to anyone moving to a new place alone -- don't mistake generosity for kindness.

6. Portland Home #3 As quickly as I'd moved into my second Portland home, I'd moved into my third Portland home. After two weeks or so, it was Thanksgiving, and I returned...

7. To My Parents House Again. For about two months, this time legally subletting a room in Portland while tying up loose ends in New Jersey, but also looking for jobs anywhere in the country that would take me, even Portland. I took a train trip across America (with photos I'd like to post) with another Portlander and returned...

8. To My Third Portland Home Again. I stayed here the longest. Circumstances I probably won't write about for some time had me leave after four months, to live again out of a suitcase...

9. At My Boyfriend's House until I could move into...

10. My Fourth and Current Portland Home where I signed a six-month lease.

The End. Phew! That's a lot of moving!

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