It’s a strange feeling, starting off a new year with a goodbye. One that has been a long time coming. One that, in a way, I’ve done many times before. But in other ways, is a monumental page that marks the end of perhaps one long chapter that has been all of my life.
In less than 48 hours, I say goodbye to the house of my childhood. The one that has been a home base for me for the past 16 years. The roof that has sheltered me through my confused pre-teen years, tumultuous teenage years, the summers home from college, and the weird purgatories that have punctuated my career. I thought, perhaps naively, that because my family had moved so many times in my childhood, that because I myself haven’t lived in the same place for more than a year since moving out of this very house at 18, I’d be used to goodbyes. But it still feels surreal. And even more so amid the omnipresent pandemic.
To be honest, I don’t think it has hit me yet. I don’t think it’ll hit me for a while. After I go back to New York, it really won’t feel any different. Either way, I’m far from family. Within the screen of FaceTime, it really doesn’t make a difference what house the others sit in. Maybe it’ll finally hit me when I go visit my parents in their new home in Taiwan. Or maybe it’ll hit me when I’m back visiting LA, with no suburban home to trek out to.
I want to say that it’s bittersweet. That I’ll be sad to say goodbye, but excited for my parents to be able to move to a place that has its shit together. But I don’t really like this place enough for it to be bitter. And the sweetness is just too tempting, I almost want to move there myself. COVID makes it challenging to say goodbye to a place. You can’t really… go places. Or see people. Or do those same rituals, one last time.
I don’t know yet if I’ll miss it. But driving down the hill from the house, knowing that it’ll be one of the last times I’ll see the morning light on those mountains overlooking our quiet suburban town, this backdrop that has become nearly invisible in the daily grind suddenly looks a little more beautiful.
And so I suppose all that’s left to do is say goodbye with tacos and In n Out at the beach in January. Because I can.
As for this digital space here? Until we can finally go places again, this will continue to be my way to hang onto the faraway places that feel like home.