Friday, January 15, 2010


- (noun) vagrant, drifter, floater, vagabond
- (adj.) rootless: wandering aimlessly without ties to a place or community; "led a vagabond life"; "a rootless wanderer"
- (adj.) aimless: continually changing especially as from one abode or occupation to another; "a drifting double-dealer"; "the floating population"; "vagrant hippies of the sixties"

Princeton Online Dictionary

I have moved approximately 27 times in my life (possibly more). Given that I am now (shockingly) 27 years old, I have moved an average once a year in my life. For a few years, I actually averaged two moves a year and by the time I finished my 'gap year', I was able to put everything I lived with into 9 boxes and I moved my life around in an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Sometimes, I think of myself and my mom as the mother and daughter in Chocolat, constantly moving with the wind.
I never had one house that I grew up in where all my fond childhood memories are attached to. I don't have a wall in a house somewhere where my mom pencilled in my height on my birthdays. The stairs I walked down before my prom are definitely not the same stairs I tumbled down on when I was 6. I also never had neighborly attachments; well, I've had a few like the boy I played with when I was in 2nd and 3rd grade who I actually came to loathe; there was also Nina, the woman with the cute kittens and smoked like a chimney which led to a vow as an 8-year old that I would never smoke; there were the Jewish sisters whose family always seemed to be looking down on me for my race, my class, and my lack of etiquette even though they prided themselves for their tolerance; and there was the sweet couple that lived next door to my home in high school--she was from Brazil and he had a keen interest on making me a private employer for his small home business. (Creepy?)

I'm always amazed and a bit envious of people who have those attachments--to their childhood homes and to their lifelong neighbors. But now, looking back, I can't imagine my life any other way and I wonder how it has shaped who I am now. Perhaps my mom's constant need for change is an even bigger factor as to why I crave stability and yet runaway from it. I used to come home from school after she had a day off or come home from a weekend trip to find every room in the house completely reconfigured. I was always amazed by the fact this little Asian woman was able to move entertainment shelves, couches, and bunk beds all by herself. (I once came home to find she had bought a new toilet, brought it home, removed the old toilet, and installed the new one completely by herself all within a few hours--she is Al Borlin, East Asian version). But now I find I always need change; changes in my environment and surroundings give life to new inspirations. And I need that. I learned that something as simple as the height of a ceiling can influence a person's ability to imagine and I think that seeking simple changes like that can constantly re-inspire and give light to new ideas. The way energy moves in a room or the amount of energy that is allowed into a room can really lead to creation! And I have high hopes for our next home where I can feel the creative juices flow... (they feel aquamarine.)
But, I always imagined a different lifestyle for my kids. I want them to be able to grow up in one address and have their own idiosyncratic relationships to where they grew up. But I wonder if I'll be able to live like that or if I'll always be ready to pack up again. Will I always be living with my boxes half-packed? ...when will the wind die down?

1 comment:

  1. A list of places I've lived...
    1) Concord, CA
    2) Nigeria... dunno where we lived but I do remember the goat and chickens.
    3) Daytona Beach, Florida--the apartment with the huge cockroaches above the Korean family
    4) Daytone Beach, Forida--the house behind the apartment complex where I played with worms in the rain.
    5) San Pablo, California--the house with bugs.
    6) Oakland, Ca--where we lived on the 13th floor during the 1989 earthquake.
    7) Walnut Creek, Ca (Creekside Dr)--the apartment where I learned about mooning.
    8) Walnut Creek, Ca (Jones Rd)--the apartment where I experienced intolerance.
    9) Walnut Creek, Ca (Churchill Downs Rd)--the apartment where I got angry.
    10) Walnut Creek, Ca (Encina Camino)--the house where I lived in a house!
    11) Walnut Creek, Ca (Siskiyou Dr)--the townhouse where we gave up on having a house; also where I learned the importance of a credit check and to not threaten anyone's life while on the phone with a lawyer.
    12) Davis, Ca--Dormlife! The apartment where I played pranks on people.
    13) *moved home for the summer*
    14) Davis, Ca (Alvarado Ave)--the apartment where I sold pot. Only once though. Maybe twice.
    15) *moved home for the summer*
    16) Davis, Ca (Sycamore Lane)--the apartment where I learned I had no idea what I was doing.
    17) *moved home for... a while....*
    18) Davis, Ca (La Rue)--the apartment where I learned to get my shit together.
    19) *moved home for a short while*
    20) Davis, Ca (never had to write down my address)--the apartment where I could pack everything into 9 boxes, the bedroom with the mildew growth in the corner, and the job where I learned what I didn't know.
    21) *moved home for a short while* Walnut Creek, Ca (Siskiyou Dr.)
    22) Walnut Creek, Ca (Second Ave)--the home where I shared a room with my mom!!
    23) San Ramon, Ca--the first real big girl apartment where I threw up from drinking too much for the first time!!... in my roommate's toilet.
    24) Danville, Ca--the first real big girl house where I planned my life! and then it all unplanned itself....
    25) Walnut Creek, Ca (Carmel Dr)--the apartment in the senior community... sharing a room with my mom again.
    26) Ely, ENGLAAAANNNND! --The house where I lived with my boyfriend!
    27) Ely, England--The house where I will live with my fiance/husband!