Finding where my heart lies

Heimat. The word mean home in German…but the term also conveys a subtler nuance, a certain tenderness. One’s Heimat is not merely a matter of geography; it is where one’s heart lies. –Jenna Blum, Those Who Save Us

Today (well, this weekend) is a very auspicious weekend for me. It’s easy to forget it, considering I’m working all the crazy hours this holiday weekend and life’s been a little…um…how to say this nicely…sucky? sure, yep, sucky…lately in Amy-land. Or at least a little scattered and up-in-the-air and WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHAT WILL HAPPEN-y and honestly a little scary. But this weekend marks kind of a big anniversary here in the world of Amy.

Ten years and a couple of months ago, a whole decade (a whole decade! that’s a long time!), I was living out west and ready to move somewhere else. I was in a similar place; all up-in-the-air and ready to start a new chapter and not knowing what I wanted to do with myself. I knew I was ready to leave where I was, but not sure where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do.

I was talking to my friend C., who was my college roommate remained a friend after college, one day, about my plans. Or lack thereof. And she said, “Hey! You know, since my roommate got married and moved out, I’ve been living in this little apartment, but I’d love to move into a bigger place. And Albany’s great. I think you’d really love it here. Why don’t you move here?”

Honestly, I was so lost as to what to do, and so ready to move on with my life, I didn’t even think about it for very long. New York was really where I wanted to end up – my family is here – and I liked the idea of living in a bigger city.  I liked the idea of living with C. again – we’d had a good time living together the first time around. She knew the area, so she could help me out while I found my footing. She could help us find an apartment while I was in the middle of moving, since she was here, and in a bigger area I’d have a better chance of finding a job. It was a win all-around. (Probably not so much for poor C., because she had to do SO MUCH WORK before I got here. Thank you, C.!)

It was a crazy fury of moving and planning and packing. You know what’s fun? Making five years of your life fit in a car. And still see out of the back window in order to drive. And put two cats in a carrier and drive them across the country. THAT’S a good time. I still can’t believe I did that and survived.

This isn’t EXACTLY my route, but close. Close enough. WHAT A LONG TRIP YO.

I drove across the country in August 2002. Dumbcat slept the whole time. Every now and then he would stretch languorously and meow a little and go BACK to sleep. He is the best passenger. I’d roadtrip with Dumbcat any day. My other cat MEOWED FOR THREE DAYS. She didn’t stop once. CONSTANT MEOWS. I tried letting her out of the carrier. Nope. I tried petting her. Nope. Nothing worked. It was three days of constant meowing and yowling. I wanted to throw her out of the car at 70 miles per hour at one point. I DIDN’T, but I wanted to. Mostly I just turned my music up really loud and sighed a lot.

Meow. Meow. MEOW MOM MEOW.

I made it across the country in three days. I stayed in two hotels where I snuck the cats in when no one was looking like a THIEF IN THE NIGHT.  This was pre-GPS days so I’m not 100% sure how I didn’t get lost. Mostly I think that’s because if you drive across the country, you stay on the same highway most of the way. I can’t imagine why else I didn’t get lost. I get lost daily in my own town. I didn’t stop and look at things because I did that on the way over and on the way home it was all about just getting there as quickly as possible.

When I passed the New York state border sign I cheered and cheered and I will not confirm or deny I cried a little. I love my state, yo. Othercat meowed some more. That’s what she did. Dumbcat slept. Much as he’s doing now as I’m writing this. Little has changed in Dumbcat-ville, other than the item of furniture he sleeps on.

Totally cheered. Love my state, you guys.

I spent a week with my parents, and then it was time to head to my new home and C., who had an apartment all ready for us to move into. She drew me a map of how to get to her apartment which I wish I could find because it was awesome. I thought I’d saved it. It was all squiggly lines and “TAKE THIS EXIT!” and “DO NOT PARK HERE!” and it made me giggle. I was staying with C. in her apartment for a few days, then we were moving over Labor Day weekend into the new place.

I made it to Albany without getting lost again. I don’t know how I did these things without my TomTom. And I found her apartment and there was C.! Who I hadn’t seen in five years! And we had a happy reunion with much laughing and tomfoolery.

Here is my highway! It was my first time on this road. It would not be the last. I drive on this road almost EVERY DAY.

I spent a few days job-hunting while C. worked and then we spent the holiday weekend moving into our new apartment, which was gigantic and echoey and had wood floors and there were many shenanigans that day because guess what? Moving sucks. There is never a case where moving is a fun time. Not ever.

This photo is full of lies. No one is this happy when they’re moving, ever. They’re too busy screaming at each other. Or weeping. Copiously weeping.

But after we were all moved in (well, except for the putting-away, which always takes forever and a day) C. took me for a tour of my new home. We drove all around the Capital District and she showed me all kinds of things. We came up over this little rise and THERE WAS THE CITY and I OOHED and I AAHED. The capitol. The Egg. The Hudson River. The highways. Teeny tiny one-way streets and old buildings and the park and I must have looked like a kid in a candy store with my big eyes and my “ooh, look at THAT!” and “ooh, what is THAT ONE?” (“That’s a bank, I think. It’s not that exciting.” C. is very patient and knows I’m goofy.)

My home! My new home! I’m still happy every time I come into the city on the highway. Every time. I’m easily amused.

I feel crazy head-over-heels in love with the Capital District ten years ago this weekend, and knew that this ill-thought-out plan of moving here, which really was done on a whim, was one of those examples you hear about of being in the right place at the right time.

This is where I was meant to be all along. I love everything about where I live. I love the area; I love the arts scene; I love the people; I love that I live in the state capital; I love that it’s a big city with a small-town feel; I love that I’m close enough to my parents to visit them but far enough away that they don’t just pop in whenever they want; I love that I’m close enough to New York City to visit now and then; I love that we get real musicians and theatrical tours in the area; I love that we get all the seasons; I love the hometown pride people who live here have; I love the history in the area. I could go on. There are a lot of things I love about living here. I can think of very few things I DON’T love about living here. I’ve lived in a lot of places, over the years, some better than others, but none of them felt like home. None of them had that click when I lived there, including the town where I grew up. They all felt like train stations, where I was waiting for the train to bring me somewhere else, the place where I belonged. I always had one eye out for where I’d go next. I was unsettled. I was itchy. When I got here, the train stopped. This is where I belong. This is where I’m meant to be. This is home.

Look at my pretty capital building! Sigh.

So, happy tenth anniversary to me of living in the best possible place to live! Well, for me. I’m sure where you live is awesome, and potentially the best possible place ever for YOU to live, too. At least, I hope it is. Everyone deserves to live in the best possible place for them. And thank you, C., for offering to let me live with you ten years ago today! Without that, I probably never would have ended up here, and who knows where I would be now, or what I would be doing, or what kind of life I would be living? And yes, things are weird and up-in-the-air at the moment, but I’m still living in the best possible place. That’s still the case.

I love you, Capital District! Thank you for taking me in and making me welcome. I’m proud to call myself one of your residents. Thanks for being home.

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

25 responses to “Finding where my heart lies

  • doesmybumlookbiginthis

    Aww I’m glad you found somewhere you’re happy, and i will be visiting you someday in New York :) I apologise in advance for this. Things will calm down eventually :) xx

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Yes you will! I can’t wait, we will have the best time! Wait, are you apologizing for your visit? No! It will be great!

      Yes, things will calm down eventually…it’s just taking a loooong time. Grumble. I’m not a patient person.

      Like

  • lynnettedobberpuhl

    In ten years I will look back on my most recent move, (which was my office move over the past ten days,) and I hope that I am as happy with my decision as you are with yours. But what I really hope is that by that time my back will have stop hurting, because on top of the screaming and weeping is the pain. Oh, the pain. Also I hope that I am over the bitterness relating to the moving process and the pain.

    I have never had a good travelling cat, EVER. You should take Dumbcat on the road once in awhile just to celebrate that he isn’t a total drag to have along in the car.

    Your home is very pretty.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Ugh, the PAIN. All that lifting! So much stupid lifting! My back KILLS me after a move!

      Dumbcat’s the best. He’s very laid-back. Except for when he’s being crazy, like when he chases a bug like a kitten, which he did for half an hour tonight and made me laugh like a child.

      It is beautiful here. I love it so much. I’m so lucky.

      Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Moving house is the worst. The worst! Last time I counted, I’d moved some 35 times. Every single one of those times sucked. Add animals and children for additional pain and suffering.

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    • lucysfootball

      Ooh, let’s see. My number’s much less than that. I’ve moved…eleven times, I think. GAH. Hated all of them. They get worse every time, too. When you’re young it seems like an adventure…when you get older, it seems like a lot of heavy lifting. No one likes that.

      Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    By the way: what is it with you Americans and your states? I get the climate thing (some prefer hot and sunny, others a full range of seasons) and the city thing (cities can have very distinct personalities). But what with the states? If you have two neighbouring states they would hand a very similar climate and culture, so what’s the big diff? Are they like mini countries to you? I’m genuinely curious.

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    • lucysfootball

      I guess they are…hmm, I don’t know how to explain. We do have a weird amount of state pride over here. Each state has a different feel, I guess. And of course on a smaller scale, everywhere you live within the state has a different feel, of course…but every state I’ve been in has a different feel to it. I’ve only lived in two, but I’ve traveled to quite a few, and they do all feel different. I don’t know if I can even explain. And everyone thinks their state is the best. (Or worst – there are a lot of people who HATE where they live and run it down constantly. I, luckily, am not one of those people.) I don’t think my state is the best – that’s silly and rude – but I just think it’s the best for me.

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      • Charleen

        I’ve only ever lived in two states, and they are right next to each other, and no, they don’t feel much different. I mean, where I am now (Iowa) feels much different than the Chicago suburbs where I grew up, but pretty similar to the “not-Chicago” areas of Illinois I’ve lived.

        There is quite a bit of animosity between Illinois and Wisconsin (another neighbor state) and it’s mostly because of sports.

        Like

        • lucysfootball

          I’ve lived in very different (geographically) states, and visited very different states (Florida, California, Nevada, etc.) so maybe it’s just that I haven’t visited states very close to each other?

          Like

  • Blogdramedy

    Home is where the heart is. And your heart’s in Albany. Lucky town. :)

    Like

  • sj

    Aw, this post gives me such a happy. <3

    I'm so happy you found your home. We're still waiting to find that place for us, but it's out there somewhere.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      You will find it! I hope it’s north-er than you are now. Because I’m selfish and want you closer. :)

      Like

      • sj

        Same. We’re thinking we pretty much have to go north now. We know we hate the South, so anywhere south of here is out. We also know we’re not huge fans of the west (except northwest), so that’s also out. NORTH OR BUST! (or something)

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        • lucysfootball

          Yay, north! As much as I love it, I don’t know that I’d recommend New York – it’s very expensive. One of the most expensive states to live in, actually. (It’s one of the few things I don’t love about it – but I’m used to the prices and the taxes, so I deal.) But the states around us are beautiful! The whole area around here is wonderful, actually – I love it so much. And if you were here, it would be SO MUCH BETTER. Come, come!

          Like

  • Heather

    Three cheers for NYS!

    There are days when I really, really want to move back there (I would want to live in Ithaca), but then I think about NY winters and that changes my mind pretty quickly. I don’t know if I could live with that for nine months out of the year again. Haha! But I miss the lakes so much. Sigh.

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    • lucysfootball

      I don’t love the winters, it’s true. And as much as I loved Binghamton, it was SO GRAY for so many months out of the year I don’t know how anyone lived there year-round. But overall, I love so much about it here I’ll never go.

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  • Charleen

    Congrats on finding your heimat!

    Also, Othercat totally reminds me of http://www.simonscat.com/Films/

    Like

  • cm

    Sorry, I’m a few days behind but this post made me warm and fuzzy. I’m glad you found home. Hopefully, after my “fun” move coming up, I’ll feel more at home here. Albany will always be my second home.

    Like

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