When it rains here the windows of the buildings behind mine look like they are crying. The raindrops make dark trails in the wet cement. I want to open my window and hear the rain, but I only have one window and it is taken up by the air conditioning unit. I'm not sure whether to take it out or not. I seems like autumn comes so slowly here and one day it's 60 and the next day it's 85 again. I try not to do so much here because I know I am leaving. I've known that for a long time, but I haven't had the strength to do it before, but this time I've set the date and given notice at work and with my roommates. I have to go through with it this time.
It was set up for failure from the beginning. Moving from a place I truly loved, New York just couldn't compare. I tried to make it here. I remember when the plane touched down they pilot said "Congratulations, you've arrived in the greatest city on Earth." Yesterday I sat on the tall grey rocks on Central Park and looked up at the buildings on Central Park South. I imagined that it might be the greatest place on Earth if you lived on one of those beautifully terraced penthouses. But for me it's been a constant struggle. It's been utterly humbling.
I think living abroad had given me a false since of independence. I really did think I could make it anywhere. And in some ways I have made it. My income has increased from minimum wage and more than quadrupled. I have a job. I have an apartment. But I don't have very much else. I don't know why I couldn't fit in here. I don't know if it's something wrong with me or the place, but in the end after a long day of work and two hours on the subway, I do withdraw. Unfortunately that's how I deal with stress, but I never understood the mechanics of this place anyway. Everyone lives so far away from each other and they are always so busy anyway.
I find myself always looking at Uppsala on Google Streetview. Whatever day they chose to take their pictures, it was a perfect day. The sun is shining and the colors of the buildings, a muted yellow and Falun copper red, contrast perfectly against the blue sky. I play a game where I start in the city center and then make my way home to Ultuna, right outside the city, a cluster of red houses among the forests and green fields of late-summer grain. Perhaps it's August, like it was when I first came there. I had trouble dealing with the loss of that place, with the loss of my boyfriend from there. In the dissolution I drove many of my old friends away and failed to make new ones.
But at least something came of it. I took my first biological anthropology class and met Dr. Ralph Holloway, who told me on no uncertain terms that it would be a waste if I didn't do a PhD in something. It had been some time since I had received that kind of academic encouragement. When his class ended and he went on sabbatical I was very sad and realized how much I missed some things about academia.
Last year when I fainted and ended up in the hospital because of my low blood pressure, I lay there alone and realized my life would be a lot better off if I were near my family. My family doesn't live in New York, they live in Illinois. My father has a farm now in Wisconsin. I'll study for the GRE, learn how to drive, hopefully learn how to farm, and because the Midwest is cheaper and I'll have more social capital, I'll actually try to achieve my dreams rather than having to focus on making ends meet. No, Chris won't be coming with me. I'll be leaving behind some wonderful memories of us, but it was an issue of the wrong place at the wrong time. I've been torn about how much to write about stuff like this here, but I writing about my own life has always been part of my blog.
I've learned a lot here, but it's time for a new journey to begin.
Counting miles before we set
Fall in love and fall apart
Things will end before they start