My two weeks before leaving Detroit were a whirlwind of events. My sleep schedule was a disaster, each night managing to find only 4-6 hours of chaotic sleep. On top of packing, organizing and getting rid of stuff I was also working right up to the day before I left and was trying really hard to spend time with close friends and family. Saying good-bye is never easy, even when everyone knows you are bound to leave. In my short time back in Michigan (June 2011-March 2012), many friendships grew stronger, others faded and new ones arose. I had to balance my mind and stay functioning through the heavy emotional exhaustion of leaving. I’m not really sure how well I did, and I think everyone was noticing my limits decreasing. I did manage to get in bike rides and dinners with friends and catch some excellent punk shows before leaving though.
My last two days in Detroit were non-stop. Thursday night was a delicious vegan dinner at Seva in Detroit with a full table of my friends that I have lots of love for and all of which are vegan. Friday found me at work presenting 4 educational programs to 2nd graders on the adaptations of animals and shortly after I spent time finishing up projects there and saying good bye to my human and non-human friends. I almost cried like 10 times because everyone was so sweet with their very thoughtful going away wishes and gifts…. I’m getting sentimental just thinking about it again. After work a few of us ate the coconut lime vegan cupcakes Amanda made (which were the same ones that I made for everyone years ago that got her started on making vegan desserts weekly for everyone at the Bat Zone) and then we headed to see the Hunger Games movie that Michelle got us hooked on reading. Thank you everyone at the Organization for Bat Conservation for all of your support, encouragement and friendships.
I had to rush off after the movie so I could meet friends for the Kimya Dawson and Your Heart Breaks show- an excellent way to spend my last night in Detroit. Afterwards, Liz and I walked home and parted at her apartment in the rain, a block over I met Matt at my apartment where he kept me company while I attempted to finish up packing and cleaning. After sleeping a few hours, I woke up, packed up my car with everything that I’d need/want for the next 8 months. I drove off to pick up 2 people who had responded to a ride share ad. (Both guys were really respectful and fun to share the drive to Pittsburgh with as they were in the middle of their adventures.) Just before leaving, I met Andrea, Curtis, Arlo, Liz and James at Eastern Market. As some of you may remember from my previous departure, it’s the best way I can think of to depart from Detroit.
The sun was setting behind a mountain as I reached the very small town in Pennsylvania where I’ll be living and working. The house that I’m now living in with 4-5 other people is on a very small dirt road that’s surrounded by a state forest. The same people I’m living with are also the people I’m working with. Similar scenario as the project I was working with in TN/NC. It’s a pretty amazing set-up as I get my own room and my window looks out to the backyard which is mountains and forest. I had Sunday to unpack and acclimate to my new surroundings and meet my new housemates. I could finally relax and not think about the millions of things I had to do before my move. It didn’t take long to unwind and feel the anxiety and pressure lift. Walks on dirt roads, breathing country air and working outside is an excellent cure. It’s quiet here, I can hear the birds. I feel comfortable. I feel relaxed.
I’ll post more about work soon, but this was more about transition. Today was my day off and I went on a chilly bike ride through a state park on a hike and bike trail. I only rode 18 miles, but it was 18 miles with trees on one side and a river on the other. 18 miles with no cars to worry about. Things are so different here. I love cities, but right now it feels really good to not be in a city.
More on adventures soon, I just really needed this transition post so I can move onto what’s ahead.