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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

06.02.2003

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leaving
h
ome

by Yee-Fan Sun | 
1 2 3

"No 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

The 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 youve 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 youre moving a mere fourteen or so miles away.

Emotionally, too, that first leaving was no great journey.  Leaving home that time was easy: Id been itching since the early days of adolescence to get the hell out of that ho-hum, unexceptional, Boston suburb in which Id 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 wouldnt 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 Id dreamed of living my whole short life thus far, a place Id 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, its hardly shorts and tee-shirt weather just yet.

wander along this way please

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