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by Yee-Fan Sun | 1
road offers more mystery than that first one you mount from the town
you were born to, the first time you mount of your own volition
…" —Mary Karr, Cherry
first time I moved away from home was barely a move at all, if we talk
area codes, addresses and driving distances, those physical markers of
how far you’ve traveled. I was seventeen years old, riding in my
parents Caravan with a heap of hastily-packed boxes, the sum total of
everything I cared enough about to cart away with me to school
threatening to topple onto me with every turn and jolt of the car. You
can afford to pack poorly when you’re moving a mere fourteen or so
too, that first leaving was no great journey.
Leaving home that time was easy: I’d been itching since the
early days of adolescence to get the hell out of that ho-hum,
unexceptional, Boston suburb in which I’d grown up. The few things I
did love about home – my parents, my brothers, my boyfriend – would
all be less than a 30-minute car ride away, so close I wouldn’t even
have to dial long-distance to whine when the occasional bout of
homesickness might hit. I knew how to navigate the myriad one-way roads
and twisty streets of my new neighborhood of Harvard Square before I
ever got the keys to that first dorm room. There was no real mystery, no
true fear: this was a place I’d dreamed of living my whole short life
thus far, a place I’d known forever. Just familiar enough to be
comforting, just different enough to be fun, Cambridge was the first
city I called home once I moved out of the parental nest. But in many
ways, the thing I loved best about that move was that it let me leave
home without really leaving home – and all the notions of
security and safety and belonging that home implied.
Maybe I was
just a little slow when it came to the whole growing up thing, but
leaving home, escaping from my roots, was never a goal of mine. I knew
what I liked and I liked what I knew, and what I both knew and loved was
the Boston area, bad drivers, crazy weather, and all. I liked the size
and scale of the city – big enough to offer more cultural offerings
than I could ever completely explore, small enough not to be
intimidating, compact enough that I could get around it by foot. I loved
the feel of the leaves crunching under my shoes in autumn, and the smell
of the air just before the first big snowstorm of the year, and the
restless feeling that takes over the city when after months of slush and
rain and chill, that first sunny day arrives from seemingly out of the
blue, and suddenly everyone seems to be playing hooky, milling about the
streets with knees showing and arms bared, never mind that at barely
over 60F, it’s hardly shorts and tee-shirt weather just yet.
along this way please
lounge . nourish .
. laze . home.