Leaving California (not the song by Maroon 5)

Erica, who somehow surpassed Allison in being the worst at posting on this blog on time.

I’ve never moved before.

Granted, our house has gone through two remodels and I’ve switched rooms once, but those were always minor fluctuations in my ever constant living situation. For the past nearly eighteen years, I’ve stayed put in this same house, on the same street, in front of the same tree, surrounded by the same neighbors.

My life has been embedded in every piece of this house and of this city. My childhood was filled with biking up and down the mildly-sloped streets, walking to 7-Eleven, and playing badminton in our backyard. The Starbucks down the street is my Starbucks and the church up the block is my church, both at which I have fond, fond memories.

Everything has just always been here.

As a homeschooled kid with hardly any extracurricular activities, I never left this bubble. I lived, breathed, ate, and slept in my room, working on math lessons at my sturdy Ikea desk and occasionally going outside to play. Sometimes, when I was feeling adventurous, I even biked to Starbucks. But this one-mile-radius bubble locked me in tight.

Then time moved on, I grew up, and licenses and jobs and karate happened. My room was transformed from being lived in to only being slept in, and my shoes got a lot more use. My time at home has decreased particularly drastically as of late, bookended by time on sixteen different flights and in eight different states and on who-knows-how-many highways. I’ve spent over three different weeks in three different states with Allison in the past four months, road tripped with a friend, and spent a week with other friends, all in all spending my last moments before college flying, walking, driving, and scootering my way across the city, state, and country.

But no matter how many different hotels, dorm rooms, and houses I’ve woken up in, despite the number of shower handles that I’ve struggled to decipher (home is where you can shower without accidentally immersing yourself in depths of the Arctic or the flames of the eternally damned), and no matter how many friends’ houses I’ve crashed at, I always end up at home.

I always end up at home, where gum wrappers and loose change are strewn against my bookshelf and where I definitely haven’t reached the recommended quota of “times you should wash your bedding per month”. At home, where I keep my gym bag next to my bed, as an attempt to convince myself that I am actually in shape. And at home, where I am now attempting to confine my life’s collection of treasures in cardboard prisons.

I have the same random assortment of pictures and posters and postcards and polaroids tacked to the wall beside my bed that I’ve had since sophomore year—it’s the same this-was-intended-to-be-artsy-but-just-looks-messy aesthetic that I so effortlessly flaunt. I have college brochures from the universities I had my heart set on attending. I didn’t go to any of them. I have photo booth pictures of friends from 2010. I haven’t talked to them since. I have the very first letter Allison sent me. I’ve received wilder things from her since then.

But taking any of these things down feels like a betrayal to my entire livelihood; packing my fondest memories in a box that I will most likely not find until my early thirties feels like hiding away every last remnant of the things that once made me the happiest. Those colleges. Those friends. Allison.

My roommate and I are trying to decide on how to decorate our room, and none of my eclectic memorabilia will ever make the cut. I know for the sake of our dorm aesthetic I can’t bring any of these wall hangings with me, but there’s something about that molecular snowman that I drew for my organic chemistry class’ Christmas party two years ago that makes me want to defy all interior design standards.

But I’m moving out. I’m becoming an adult. It’s time for new beginnings and new room decorations. It’s time for making more memories and finding more happy things.

In exactly three weeks I will be in a new city that isn’t a stone’s throw away from Universal Studios and Disneyland and Hollywood and the beach. I will be in a new home where I have to wear flip flops when I shower and deal with living with human beings that aren’t related to me by blood. My new home will not be anywhere close to a spacious house in the heart of southern California but instead in an 80-year-old dormitory in Texas with no sinks in the individual rooms. Will I feel at home? Will I like it there? What will our room look like? How will life be? There are thirty-four million questions that race through my head at every given moment about everything happening. I can’t help but wonder what our lives will all look like in just a few short months, but only time will tell.

Until then: less than three weeks until I’m Texas-bound.