My last month in Albany Park begins this week, and I know I need to start packing for my three-month residency in Avondale. This will be a stranger move than usual, because I hope to get rid of the majority of my belongings before that point. After careful consideration, and some input from my dad who has a stake in this as well (more on that in a minute), I’ve decided to sell everything I own rather than move it 2,100+ miles. And if I get rid of it now, I won’t need to move it to Christina’s.
My belongings are currently divided into categories in a Google doc: Sell; donate; mail; move with me in my car. I’m having a big-ass yard sale April 11 and I will be thrilled if I unload most of my furniture that day. When I pack for this move, I will stuff books and records and kitchen utensils into flat-rate shipping boxes, to be mailed to an address in Portland at a later date, $18 at a time. Are all of those seasons of ‘Friends’ on DVD worth $18 to me? They are not. At Christina’s, I will leave unpacked only what I’ll need between April and July. I’m getting a bike rack for my car and one of these crazy zipped up luggage things that straps to the top of sedans so you can fill it with camping gear. Or, in my case, whatever I realize last-minute I can’t part with after all, because I am a flawed, materialistic human.
My dad is a champ, because I asked him to drive across the country with me and he said yes. Now we are eagerly planning our route. We’re taking I-90, which neither of us has done, and I am excited to see the Badlands and Mount Rushmore.
I don’t have a job in Portland yet, but part of me is okay with that, for now. It lets me do things on my own time, instead of for a new company’s start date. The plan, as of today (it gets tweaked on a weekly basis), is to sell everything, and drive out with Dad in mid-to-late July. The exact date depends on whether or not I have to measure out my vacation time. If I don’t have a job anymore, we can leave whenever we want — silver lining. Once we get there, we’ll stay at an airbnb for a couple of days before he flies home. I’ll spend two weeks in a hostel while I apartment hunt, and then hopefully I’ll find a place for August 1. I’ll combine part-time work for my current company with freelance writing and fill in the gaps with my savings.
My cousin talked me into embracing Portland’s group house living. This whole time I’d been looking at one-bedrooms in apartment buildings, because I want to live by myself and adopt an elderly Portland cat. Those apartments are more than I can afford, and I’d need my future job to come with a significant raise. However, in Portland, it’s not uncommon for a bunch of 30-year-olds to share a house and split the cost five or six ways. I had assumed it was just college kids who do that, but that’s not the case. I can live for a lot less if I go that route, and a lot of those situations are month-to-month. If I hate it, I can leave after I get a full-time job and go get that cat after all.
Living with a bunch of people at first is probably better for me anyway, since I know from my Chicago move that I am more prone to homesickness than I realized. I shouldn’t let myself be cooped up alone in an apartment in a new city, at least when I get there. I can’t wait to transfer to the Rose City Rollers new players program and meet people. Plus, a friend recently inspired me to start a live lit show — something I’d joked about, but now am really interested in.
It’s scary to spell out the exact details of your dream, but I want this more than I’ve ever wanted anything. I feel like I am in such a weird place right now, like I have senioritis. My time in Chicago is dwindling and I am torn between wanting to speed it up and slow it down. I signed up for level two of Derby Lite, on Tuesdays from April 14 until July 7 — just before I leave. There’s so much I want to do in Chicago, and I wish it would just get warm, and stay warm, so I could go enjoy this city.
I’m flying to Portland again this week, for another five-day trip like I did in October. I’m not going by myself this time, though — two Columbus friends are going with me. We have no plans beyond my wishes to see the Rose City Rollers play, and there’s a beer and wine festival happening Friday and Saturday. We’re staying in the Alberta Arts District, which is one the neighborhoods I’m considering moving to. We’ll be taking the MAX, which I missed out on in the fall because I biked and bussed everywhere.
It’s going to be a busy few weeks, and then a busy few months, and then a busy year. Maybe by this time next year when I turn 30 things will have settled down a little — but I really doubt it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.