So I got home on June 2nd, after a last whirlwind week of life in Sarasota getting everything sorted and seeing people off for last huzzahs. Graduation the week before meant “THESIS, the finale” due Monday by 5pm, a few essays to finish tuesday (yay for extensions, lax teachers and oh right, 4th year apathy and absolute untouchability) the booze cruise on wednesday, grad rehearsal friday morning, and Graduation on Friday evening (which was also my mom’s birthday) Palm Court Party that night, and (only somewhat painful, mostly great) family time that weekend. Thus: I did not get much else done that week
what with all the drunk. KBG (my best friend and roommate) and my leases ended June 1st that next friday, so we were scrambling around packing and chucking items up until the end. Barely all of her stuff fit in her small maroon Yaris, as I had suspected, so when it came time to finally put any of mine in the trunk, what I ended up bringing home that trip was:
*1 blue 40 lb Osprey backpacking backpack (bought for travelling up the east coast of the country the summer before last, though not taken to Europe, unfortunately, even though that would have made sense) filled with clothes.
*1 bag of food items (sunflower butter, half a loaf of ezekiel bread, almond milk, 1 organic yam)
*2 bouquets of flowers (my mom’s and mine ) in a 1 gallon kombucha jar-turned-vase
*2 computers, my macbook pro and my netbook bought for travelling in Europe which currently holds all the pictures that I have
not yet backed up on my paid-for Dropbox account ughhh from that time abroad
And the rest of the car was taken up by Kyra’s stuff and Samson (the cat) in his cage. I would like to say that, having also foisted my Ikea kitchen cart and mini-fridge off on my Tampa relatives, one large bin of books and a table/chairs set off on my other aunt and uncle, and a half a rooftop load on my mom (who had to share her car on the way back from graduation with a kid she was taking home) I had managed to be economical and resourceful and did not have much left to take home.
And this is just what I had in Sarasota. Combined with my roomful at home, that means that currently, there are 2 boxes still unpacked in my kitchen and a mess of orphaned lightbulbs, and more bins of books and miscellany than there should be at the foot of my bed.
It’s funny, how much one can forget about how attached one is to all of one’s things. One’s valuables. Going to Europe with one large rolling suitcase and a backpack meant a) forgetting about all that stuff back home, b) realizing how unnecessary it was for everyday life and c) knowing I was still carrying too much to be truly “travelling light”. I did get tired of the same wardrobe, of course, but it was the most amazing feeling to simply chuck/abandon/donate things when I needed to, like those sweaters and all my winter clothing that I left to my friend Cat in the squat during those last days in London before Dublin, the boots I left in the trashcan in the Bru Hostel in Cork (RIP $20 leather thrift Ralph Laurens, you served me well, especially when the first time you lost your sole meant me having to go to a certain shoe repair store in Covent Garden to have you fixed by a certain perfect male specimen–if only physically, the discussion about good looking but misogynistic bastards is tbd later), and the purple sleeping bag I had to leave last moment on the express train to the Stansted airport (the Irish bartender heading to Dublin for the weekend’s football game festivities assured me it wouldn’t cause a bomb threat, I promise) because there was no way in hell that Ryanair was gonna get another 60 quid out of me for going a few kg overweight when I had less than £20 in my bank account and almost missed my one-way flight to Málaga, the last stop before I began my (already paid for) program in Granada.
As I said to KGB last week when she came to visit me, ‘it is nice to think we are not attached to our things when we aren’t around them, but it’s a pretense if they are still somewhere in storage.’
Similarly, it’s nice to think that one is successfully “independent” if one does not have to go back home right after college to work and save up money, but if one is not financially independent, it’s still only ever pretending. Our culture trains us to assess value and success in some very backwards ways. I don’t necessarily want to live with my mom til I marry, like people in Andalucía often do, but we Americans could stand to take a page out of that book. The drive to accumulate wealth and things as stand-ins for experiences and relationships sometimes can lead instead to roads like “Mid-life Crisis Lane” and “Broken and Broke Avenue”. I for one would choose “Broke and Bumming Round Europe Highway” anyday. Oh wait, I did that already. But the “how I ended up with no ticket home, no money in the bank before I went to Spain, and one month left before I got deported” story is a post for another day.