One Year

One year ago to the day, I was living in London. I had arrived to find my apartment would be in a student residence hall flat, making me the lucky recipient of three single beds and residence hall issue starchy sheets (not that I am one to look a gift rent-free apartment in posh South Kensington in the mouth…).  I remember emailing my mother photos of my apartment to have her sternly reprimand me, “You need to put something on that blank wall behind your couch! Make it more homey.” She knows me as only a mother can; I am quite the homebody and I eagerly flip through the pages of each month’s Real Simple magazine, envisioning ways to embrace my inner interior design goddess self. In stores, I often find myself wandering dreamlessly down the kitchenware and storage solution aisles and contemplate the purchase of those teeny frying pans that contain the picture of a sunny-side up egg.

I have to wonder, why do I do these things? I could wax poetic about the ever-changing world and how we crave to create stability where possible. I may not be able to understand what my government does with my privacy, how my coworkers will take to me, or why it never rains when I prepare for the forecast by wearing my rainboots. But at least I can come home to a space uniquely mine, that I have created out of thin air, that is my source of constancy.

One year ago, I arrived in a place that would be mine for a short four months. Despite the length of time, I endeavored to create home where I could: I purchase cheap throw pillow, I put pictures up on the walls.

But four months disappear in a flash, and soon I was donating those throw pillows as I prepared for a life of travel in the spring. There is perhaps no less stable life than that of a traveler; I moved from guesthouse to hostel to hotel, sometimes staying for two weeks but sometimes staying for one night. Whenever possible, I unpacked my meager belongings into the dresser in my room, eager to find some semblance of home.

Now it is one year later from my little apartment with three beds in a basement in London. I have arrived in a place that will be my home – is my home? It’s difficult for me to tell if it is still to happen or if I am living it now. For someone so eager to find a place of comfort and solitude, I have still retained my vagabond ways. Even when moving from one temporary place to another before I arrive at my permanent (at least for a year) residence, I have added touches of me: picture frames on the nightstand, a comforter with a flower on it. I can at least claim this six square foot bed as my own, my place, my comfort. And then finally, finally, one year later, I will arrive in my home. I will buy a bouquet of bright flowers from the farmer’s market and place them in a mason jar on top of my bookshelf (all of these items are still imaginary, by the way). I will print out pictures from my travels and hang them on my walls – I’ve already perfectly pictured which ones will go where. I will fill my apartment with the smell of pies, and embrace being still for once. And perhaps then I will be presently present in my home.

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A New Start & An Explanation

So here’s the thing: this blog probably won’t be all that interesting, innovative, or inspiring (but I will endeavor to use a lot of alliteration). I had a couple of lucky breaks in my last two blogs – yes, I am a bit of a blog freak now, I admit. My first blog chronicled the yearish I spent abroad, the first part in England and the second part in Asia. So that was fairly interesting and I could look a lot cooler than I actually was and be all, oh yeah, I hung out with elephants, whatever, all in a day’s work. So it was satisfying to see something I had literally spent four years planning, financially and emotionally, finally come to fruition, and then rub it in the faces of everyone I love. Because I’m bighearted like that.

Then I got home to the inevitable unemployment and as a coping mechanism and frankly something to do I started a snarky blog about unemployment and posted a couple of times before tricking someone into hiring me. And I figured that was that – I was no longer traipsing around the exotic or spewing humorous (hopefully) observations on a narrow topic, so what else did I have to chronicle?

Well, it turns out that I kind of miss it. I’ve moved to a brand spankin’ new city and I keep thinking about all these things I want to do, and I think the best way to make myself accountable to getting off my butt is by blogging about them. So that’s what this blog is going to be – essentially a public diary of my goings-on. I plan to post about Boston-y things I’ve done (or eaten), culinary accomplishments, books I’m reading (and bookstores I’m loving), finding my niche in a new place, and so on. I fully recognize that this is unlikely to be interesting to anyone who did not actively birth me, so I’m going to limit the number of times I blast new posts on social media (how obnoxious is that, anyway? #sorrynotsorry).

So if you are mildly interested in keeping up with my life, or you just get really bored at work and want something to read, go ahead and give me a follow in Feedly or whatever you use to replace Google Reader. There’s also a convenient button on the side where you can enter in your email and new posts will be delivered right to your inbox. Since I assume I’ve already lost most of my audience by this point, I’ll just address you directly now: Mom – you’re gonna love it.

The only time you'll see me with an elephant on this blog. Well, probably.

The only time you’ll see me with an elephant on this blog. Well, probably.

The Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

I sit here on my bed as a terribly hot day drifts into the evening, enjoying the breeze from the ceiling fan and listening to my cat breath next to me (and she has a chronic sinus infection – very attractive, I know, so she’s not so much breathing as wheezing. She is perfect). I’m only two sleeps away from stepping on a plane that will carry me north, and into the next blank chapter of my life.

For the oddball stranger who stumbled here thinking this was some awesome travel blog (no doubt impressed by my amazing header) you can find a delightful and humble description of myself and my journey thusfar here. That and the aforementioned header pretty much say it all – scaredy-cat girl from Virginia, heading out into the great blue yonder. (Which, according to The Google, is about death. Soo… that’s not happening. I guess I’m heading into the just-okay blue yonder).

I’ve spent the last six years (for the most part) living in Washington, DC, taking classes for the entire time – masochist! – and working fairly constantly, in at least one position but mostly two+ and a volunteer gig at the same time, for the past five. That all changed in May, when I switched my tassel to the other side (for the second time at my university) and clocked out for the last time. One speedy game of Tetris-packing of my dad’s truck later and I was charging out of the city, hemmed in by every single one of my possessions and rolling down back country roads to my hometown in southeastern Virginia (where, amusingly, we almost hit a wild turkey so large my mother thought it was a dinosaur). Quite a change from six years ago, when little 18-year old Kristen first pulled into DC on a rainy September day and then spent the next four months crying from homesickness.

So here’s all-grown-up 24 year old Kristen now… living again with my parents… in their empty-nest city condo… the life, I tell you! It’s also a fairly sobering experience to realize every single one of your lifelong possessions can fit into one closet. Saves on storage space, though.

For the intermission of my life, between graduation/livin’/workin’ the DC life – which any self-respecting Washingtonian will tell you basically involves lots of happy hours and brunches – and what happens next, I’ve been happily ensconced in my parent’s lovely condo next to the river. My month of sloth relaxation has involved reading like it’s going out of style (not to brag or anything but I think I’ve read about fifteen books in the past month. I’m quite literate. AND humble.), tracking where my cats spend every hour of the day and wandering in for belly rubs, and watching SVU.

But – all good things must come to an end, or at least evolve into equally-as-good or better things! And so, as this publishes, I’ll be bopping around Boston, seeing dear old friends, making new ones, and digging into my next step and the rest of my career and LIFE! It’s strange – I feel more like that scared little 18 year old than the 24 year old that I have become. I guess that’s what living the life of luxury in your parent’s house will get you, eh?

Stay tuned, because it only gets more exciting (and hopefully less wordy) from here. There will be tales of adventure, I’m bound to cry at least once, and I will definitely be using paratheses way too often.

P.S. I won’t be talking specifically about my employer, cause, you know. Privacy ‘n’ stuff. But you probably already know it anyway.