Thursday, May 31, 2007

Disconnect / Reconnect

Disconnect / Reconnect

My Darden email address is being deactivated tomorrow. I didn’t anticipate the emotion that would come along with this. I took my laptop to the helpdesk and Randy helped me to back up all my old files and emails and then I went off of the domain. The background picture on my laptop changed to a generic windows photo of that grassy knoll. I got the chance, again, to start over. A new electronic slate.

There have been other last minute errands to do as I disconnect and prepare to leave Charlottesville. I went to Comcast Cable and turned in the form to take my name off of the account. I’ve taken down all of the pictures from my walls. I’ve rented a mini-van to drive my things to a storage unit that I’ll rent as I search for my own apartment. Couch is gone, bed is gone, and dining table and chairs are gone. Even the rugs and bookshelves have been sold. A new slate at home.

Soon the pictures of our class that have been in the hallway for two years will be taken down and replaced with those from the class of 2009. Our mailbox name tags will be tossed away. Someone else will be renting our home and living in my sunny bedroom. I went to JavaJava today, my favorite coffee shop in town, and saw the owner. He asked me to please find my replacement so that he could keep the steady stream of income I’ve provided to him for the past two years. I said I’d do my best. I’ve had to say “good-bye” and “see you later” to friends every day as their leases run out and they begin their journeys to new homes in new places across the world.

The Ying and Yang movement of the world even applies to moving. So as I say good-bye, give away belongings, change over accounts, I am setting up new connections. A new roommate for the summer as I rent my friend Anne’s sublet. The opportunity to see friends of mine back in New York that have not been a part of my daily life for years now. I’ll see my family more – my main motivation for moving to New York. One of my professors has made a connection for me with a theatre producer in New York that I have never worked with. I have coffee meetings with friends of friends who are also relocating to New York. And I’ll be back in my city, the only place I have ever felt at home. While it may be different in many respects – new restaurants, stores, high rises – so much of it stays the same. My friend, Nathan, upon seeing New York for the first time last fall was fascinated by it because of its many icons that he had only previously seen on TV or in movies. These icons are old friends to me – comforting familiarities as everything else around me changes.

I sold my dining table and chairs at a deep discount to an interesting woman who saw my posting on Craig’s List. She just bought her first home. She and her boyfriend of 7 years have just separated. As they were separating households she looked around and realized that none of the big items in the home, furniture, etc. were hers. She had spent almost 7 years living among someone else’s things. We figured out a way to strap the dining table to her car’s roof rack and she drove off with it to her new life.

I gave my bed away to a woman in Charlottesville who was coming home from Iraq and she had no money to set up a bedroom for him. We maneuvered the mattress set down my narrow, windy stairway and with the help of a friend’s pick-up truck, she was able to have the beginnings of a room for her son as he readjusted to his new life.

As we clean out remnants of our old life, other people can use those pieces to create something new for themselves. I’m excited to see what remnants I will find in New York, what people I will meet, that will help me to build something new as I disconnect, somewhat, from one place, and reconnect to my old home.

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