Letter 54

January 14, 2021

On moving

As a kid, I don’t think I ever lived in one place longer than ten years; and as an adult I’ve never stayed in an apartment longer than three. Having one place to call home for dozens of years sounds like a nice fantasy, but I have a hard time picturing a future that doesn’t include moving from one tiny Brooklyn apartment to another every few years. At the end of this month, I’ll be moving out of a neighborhood I’ve lived in for three years, out of an apartment I’ve lived in for two, and into a studio where I’ll be living alone for the first time in my life. It’s weird and scary and exciting and stressful and cool and I just want it to be over as soon as possible. I’m trying not to think about the fact that the bedroom I’m in right now won’t be my bedroom anymore in a few weeks, and the bagel place on the corner won’t be my bagel place, and the view from the balcony won’t be my view. Instead, I’m trying to think about making a brand new home for myself—at least for the next few years.


The first big move I remember was Michigan to California; as I consider this fact, I realize I only remember the arrival: Pasadena, a furnished apartment, a weird loft-area I became obsessed with, insisting any place we lived in California once we transitioned from company-loaned rental had to have one. I cannot remember the act of packing up my first childhood bedroom; I remember a garage sale. I remember a box of Pokemon cards my brother and I commonly cite as a Big Mistake to sell (we didn’t actually have anything rare, but it’s fun to pretend a life with no debt because of Pokemon). Since then, I have moved into a dorm, I have moved into an apartment, I have moved into a psuedo-house, and into another apartment; every time, I’ve had a legion of loved ones assisting me. A friend who knows how to make the space in a suitcase count. My mother attempting to get my security deposit back with her thorough cleaning. My dad with a rented Volvo, the seats pushed down and my desk dismantled in the back, boxes of books stacked upon it. In a pandemic, I get none of this. My roommate and I absently watching episodes of Jeopardy, her wrapping the kitchenware we care about in bubblewrap as I lay on the ground using my inhaler. There is dust everywhere. In a few days, people we love will come wearing masks to relieve us of donations. We will attempt ritual, to say goodbye to a place we loved. It won’t feel right.


We recommend

📖 You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

I have been WAITING to recommend this. This was my last read of 2020—it was a book that had been on my radar the entire year, but hadn’t been in the mood for until 11:40PM on a night in late December, for some reason! I basically stayed up all night reading it; this book is about a messy DJ-slash-MFA-student who checks herself into a rehab therapy center for love addiction. The story is framed in her past relationships, exploring the complicated ways family affects romance and romance affects family. It is so well-paced, it’s funny, it’s exciting, and emotionally devastating! Yes, I sobbed!!!! Get it from your favorite Indie.


🎮 Stardew Valley

So, okay. Technically we have already recommended Stardew Valley multiplayer, but we have not recommended Stardew Valley just by itself. So I’m allowed! I’ve been playing this game on and off for years and it always gives me so much comfort—spending day after day watering my crops, talking to the townsfolk, and looking for ores in the mines. Perfect for people who played a lot of Harvest Moon as a kid, people who bought a Switch last year to play Animal Crossing and want to branch out, and people who like cute fishing minigames.


🍽️ Tea after coffee

I’m a caffeine addict who had a full-blown breakdown this morning upon realizing that I wouldn’t be able to drink coffee without leaving my apartment (moving sucks!). My parents are also big coffee people—when I am home, we basically each have 2-3 cups before breakfast. It’s fun, it’s traditional, it makes my entire body shake until I crash at 2:30PM and wish I was a child with little responsibility. I’ve been declining the very generous second cup of coffee, these days, replacing it with some kind of black tea (chocolate pu erh is my favorite right now). I know black tea also has a lot of caffeine, but it eases me into the afternoon better than all of that coffee.


💡 Media backlog

I have never been good at keeping lists of movies to watch or books to read or games to play. There is so much stuff out there that I want to consume and it’s very overwhelming to have and maintain a huge list of all of that stuff. That said, a lot of my friends consistently recommend great stuff to me, and I never want to lose track of or forget about those recommendations—so I did what I do best and made myself a Notion page. Now I have a space to keep track of all the stuff I want to try, the things I’m in the middle of, and my ratings for things I’ve already finished. I’m starting slow and trying to keep it small and manageable by only add things that I actually want to, not just things I think I’m supposed to enjoy. I’m excited to see what it looks like in a few months once I’ve used it more, but for now, you can see it (and make a copy for your own Notion workspace) here!