In a week, I will be at my new home in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts! I've accepted a position to be an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, where I'll be working with their neighborhood revitalization and veteran engagement projects for at least the next year. I'm thrilled to take this step in a direction where I will help and work with people, dig into a new region, and hopefully understand if non-profit advocacy and policy are what I want to pursue professionally. I've been on the move a lot the past several years, and although it's not China, New York City, or D.C., it's something new. I aim to absorb every experience as a chance to learn.
These plans came together surreptitiously with the help of my former St. Lawrence Habitat House roommate, Luke, and after weeks of e-mails, phone calls, documentation, the move is happening next Sunday. I'll actually be saying goodbye to the Finger Lakes for the last time--my parents have also sold our house, and will be making their move South by the end of September. I'm happy for them, but it certainly crushes my heart. Aggravating small-town quirks aside, this has been my home for nearly 13 years, along with the people that have come and gone through it. I'm excited because I know these change have to happen, but I'm trying to wrap my mind around no longer returning. As for my friends who are still based here, I know that they will always remain my home. I'm already mentally planning the trip back here for Thanksgiving, as Christmas will probably be spent in Florida!
Another point: moving is pretty soul-consuming in a bad way. It's a constant reminder of all the things you've accumulated. I know I've said this before, but minimalism, unfortunately, does not suit me at all. I'm sending four or five totes of things to storage in Florida because they're reminders of what I used to do, used to be, which I actually don't think is a negative thing until it truly starts weighing me down (when that day comes, it'll all just go blindly into a dumpster). My room is nearly packed with overflowing bags and boxes strewn about, but yesterday my nephews helped my dad move the heavier furniture. For the first time since we arrived here, I can stand and even lie down in my closet! It's cool that all of these dressers, shelves, a table, and even my bed will join me in Massachusetts, because they would be trashed otherwise.
Here's a visual round-up of the rest of July's adventures:
Rochester's Party in the Park concert series with Jenny. It was an bluegrass vibing shakedown with Yonder Mountain String Band and Railroad Earth! We eventually ditched the blanket to be closer to the stage and dance (of course).
Kristen's family pond down the road from her house with spectacular views of Bristol Valley. The pond was so clean that we could see to the bottom.
I was invited to join a Rochester and Syracuse-based ultimate frisbee team to compete in a Schenectady tournament called Ow My Knee! It was blazing hot and full of laughs, as usual. I was really happy that my friends and teammates from Massachusetts let me camp with them on a beautiful farm south of Albany.
There's also been a fair share of hiking adventures, like to Hi Tor Wildlife Management Preserve in Naples. We walked along ridges and into valleys and streams.
Then to another side of Hi Tor called Clark Gully, where we had to scramble washed-out hill sides and waterfalls.
Sunsets on Canandaigua Lake before Buffalo-based jam rock band, Aqueous, played at a local bar. It was sweet to shake down with them because they're cool guys and perform at St. Lawrence's Java Barn at least twice a year.
Views of the Erie Canal in Fairport for Caitlan's 22nd birthday dinner and drinks this past Monday. We celebrated with her family and college friends the weekend before. Oh, to still be the youngest ones in a bar.
More views from another pond on Kristen's property. Chasing sunlight and fog in the golden hour.
A few weeks ago I also picked up an old Huffy road bike bike for free not too far from my house. $35 of repairs and minor parts later, it's a a beauty to ride and after cranking (sort of) through the 20-21ish miles of Honeoye Lake, I know it'll serve me well in Massachusetts.
And finally, last night I had a great time with my nephews who are older but still ridiculous, roasting marshmallows in our backyard and lighting fireworks.
Summer, you've been too good to me.
Listening: "Don't Wait" by Mapei