I haven’t been home during fall since 2008. It’s a pretty nostalgic time of year, especially when I think of what I was doing a year ago, two years ago, and so on. I’ve been home for extended periods of time since going to college, but this time, it’s more permanent. I’m starting at Cal in January, and I’m hoping to get an apartment there, meaning that the Bay Area will be my home for at least the next two years.
I realized that I know the New York area – or at least Manhattan – much better than I know the Bay Area, even though I grew up here. I definitely have more roots here, but finding my way around San Francisco or Berkeley can still be a challenge. When I left, I had only been driving for a few years, and now that I’ve returned, I’m rediscovering the cities and neighborhoods as an adult. Sometimes I miss the urban convenience of New York, especially the subway. Public transportation makes it so much easier to spontaneously change plans and not worry too much about driving directions and parking.
Since returning home in August, my main activities have fallen into two categories: self-improvement or organizational. I’m fortunate to have so much free time, but I’ve managed to structure it so I don’t feel overwhelmed. I try to practice, exercise, and cook as much as I can during the week. I’ve also gotten to satisfy my inner organizational freak by picking up projects around the house that my parents want to do, but don’t have the time.
When I first got home, I was kind of alarmed by how much stuff I had in my room that I didn’t use, that I’d forgotten I’d even had. I spent almost three weeks cleaning out my room, by which I mean purging. It was deliciously satisfying. When I lived in a dorm, I had little more than the bare essentials, due to the limited storage space. At home, I had to be kind of ruthless about getting rid of things, but once I had made a few Goodwill drop-off trips, I realized that I had plenty of space for the things that I do want. I hold on to lots of things for their nostalgic value. I’ve kept almost every concert program that I’ve ever played, I keep birthday cards, and I keep prom and homecoming dresses.
I even went through my stack of old diaries. I read through one from my first year at MSM, and it was cute how I described making new friends at orientation, and the little details about adjusting to life away from home. However, I also read about some awful times when I was in the emotional pits. The worst part was that I let it continue for months; I wasn’t taking good care of myself. I still keep a journal, but I try to write about things that make me happy, funny things, and everyday happenings that I might otherwise forget. There’s definitely a balance, but I enjoy it.
Other, less personal projects: getting rid of almost a dozen old cellphones and helping my dad purge his wardrobe.
The most fascinating project has been going through old photos and home videos with my mom. We have thousands of photos, and we’re deciding which ones to send off to be scanned and turned into digital files. So far, we have four boxes organized by year, 1989-2013. It’s kind of surreal seeing little Kalyn, little Taylor, and little Colton in times and places I don’t remember. One series that I particularly liked was Taylor and me looking curiously at baby Colton whose expression clearly said, “Get me out of here!” My mom said that when Colton was born, I was so jealous of the attention he was getting that I used to scowl and twist his leg when she was holding him. To be fair, I was only three, but it makes me kind of sad to think I wasn’t excited to have a little brother. Apparently Taylor was a lot more accommodating. My mom said I was much more passionate about what I liked and didn’t like, and I think that remains true to this day.
We’re also going to convert our home video VHS tapes to DVD, which is definitely a fun and worthwhile project. There are snippets of our everyday lives: Taylor at age six writing a thank you letter to Bau Bau and Gung Gung, me at age three putting my dolls to bed, and Colton at one year sitting in a high chair eating Cheerios.
One of the most hilarious episodes happened during breakfast when I was three:
Mom: Kalyn, tell us why you’re upset.
Kalyn: Because you marry Daddy, and I marry no one!
Mom: Is that it?
Kalyn: Taylor won’t marry me. (Pouting)
Mom: That’s because he’s your brother. You might have to marry someone you haven’t met yet, and if you’re nice to your friends, I’m sure you’ll find someone to marry.
Kalyn: (Pensively eating cereal), Mommy? You don’t know Daddy?
Mom: I didn’t know Daddy when I was little.
And this went on for a bit, and I ended up crying because no one would marry me! If I ever find a way to make it into a YouTube clip, I’ll put it on here because it’s just too funny. To think I was worried about my future husband when I was three!
November 2, 2013