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Man, do I have a lot of quality time with this keyboard ahead. I still have so many exciting summer trips to share with you all — to Aruba, Arizona, Bonaire, Boston, California, Kentucky, Tennessee, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nevada! To conferences and festivals and family reunions and beyond. But the biggest piece of my summer is the humble one I’m writing about right now — hangin’ out in my childhood home.

Unlike my fairly polished typical blog posts — cue snort-laughter for those of you who were reading when I was still confused about its and it’s — today’s is dashed off pretty spontaneously, a bit scattered in topic, and littered with mediocre iPhone photos. But this one comes straight from the heart.

Albany, New York Travel Blog

I spent forty-two days in Albany between May and August, spread out over seven separate trips Upstate; the shortest, one day, the longest, eleven. My hometown was good to me this summer. Family, friends, weddings, graduations, birthdays. Lunches barefoot out on the deck and dinners all dressed up out at hip new restaurants. Movie dates with my mom. Jogging dates with myself. Cruising around in the same car I drove in high school with my favorite pup hangin’ out the passenger side window.

Yes, it was a good summer. But also, in some small way, a sad one. Every happy moment was tainted with nostalgia before it even had the chance to crystallize as a memory, an ominous flag from my subconscious that change is looming in my life. But more on that at the end of this post. First, some warm and fuzzy things.

Albany Travel Blog

Like this. One of the reasons I love returning to Albany is it’s a space where I can focus on my health. My mom is an inspiration when it comes to eating healthy and staying active (for part of her sixtieth birthday celebrations we went to a high intensity training circuit class) and I love being surrounded by her clean cooking and healthy snacks. I also love getting back into my old workout routine.

After one class back on my old Body Pump grind I pounced on a great Groupon for a summer package at the local barre and yoga studio. I adored those classes and looked forward to them every time I was on my way back Upstate. Also on the health front, as usual, I ran around seeing my circle of Upstate New York doctors, though that’s one routine I’ll soon be kissing goodbye as I age out of my parents’ regional insurance and start searching for an international plan instead.

Getting Healthy in Albany

Another thing that keeps me occupied Upstate is my stuff. Despite enormous efforts to declutter when I gave up my apartment in Brooklyn, my childhood bedroom is still rammed with clothes, shoes. books, art supplies, photos, albums, crafting crack and just general junk. I’m not sure why, but these physical possessions seem to psychologically taunt me. One one hand, I’m a nostalgia-filled accumulator who, left untreated, could one day star on my own episode of Hoarders, showing off eighth grade Spanish workbooks, ceramic elephants painted for me by my little sister when she was six, and the first boarding pass I ever took to Thailand. On the other hand, I yearn to feel free of the mental weight of these things and to live as simply and as minimalistically as possible. This creates a pretty tortured back-and-forth whenever I’m home agonizing over whether or not to throw away I belt that I purchased at H&M in high school — and haven’t worn since. But might again someday!

I’m proud to say that this summer I hauled three enormous garbage bags full of clothes and other items out of my life and into the arms of a charity I hope can find a new home for them, trashed quite a few things that I finally accepted had run their course in my life. I did this over the course of packing and unpacking for various trips so it was really an ongoing project throughout the summer. It was a cathartic task and I am planning to get more aggressive with it next time I’m home — , anyone? I’d love to hear any other tips you have for transforming from a pack-rat crazed caterpillar to a care-free, carry-on-only elegant butterfly.

Upgrading Camera Equiptmentmy antique camera collection — definitely not going anywhere

When I did leave my declutter cave, my couch, and my work chair, it was for good reason — to catch up with friends around town. I was excited to check out new businesses that have opened in the area including (dining so trendy it could be in Brooklyn), (fun food but still working on service) and (I window shopped only), all of which made me proud to be an Upstate original — and reminded me I really need to do an updated Albany guide.

Overall, however, I felt like I saw less of my hometown crew than I usually do. It makes sense. We’re collectively getting just the teensiest bit older, and with that comes advanced degrees and weddings and babies and bigger jobs with more responsibilities. While most of those might not apply to me, my own hectic work schedule certainly didn’t help. Still, I was grateful for the brunches and lunches and dinners and yoga classes and movies and backyard wines we did share. Not many people my age are still so close to the friends that knew them when they had braces. I’m a lucky girl.

City Beer Hall Albanyan old favorite, City Beer Hall

Peck's in Albanynew obsessions, Fort Orange and Peck’s

As usual, I scheduled my summer timing around being home for certain milestones and events. My mom turning sixty was one of them! With my sister starting her new job in Boston just a week before, my mama had resigned herself to the fact that her dream of spending the day with both daughters wouldn’t come true. Her consolation prizes were us going to see Gloria Steinem speak at Bennington College and dragging me to her gym instead of my beloved barre class. But, drum roll please, Olivia pulled strings and showed up anyway (duh!) adding the perfect surprise element to our non-surprise backyard barbecue party that evening.

Combining this birthday with a close family friend’s graduation festivities, I was surrounded by my not-technically-related-but-basically-might-as-well-be tribe for two straight weekends. It means a lot to me when I get to be around for these milestones.

Sugar-Free Birthday "Cake"birthday cake for the woman who doesn’t eat sugar

Gloria Steinem

Sixtieth Birthday Party

Another big affair? My fellow Shaker High art department survivor Kenzie tying the knot! Kenzie was one of my closest friends from high school, and she texted me within hours of booking her wedding venue so I’d lock it into my schedule — smart girl!

Kenzie missed her calling in life when she didn’t go into comedy (girl makes me laugh harder than Amy Schumer) and there was no way I was missing any of the festivities celebrating my funny, sweet, big-hearted friend and the man that was lucky enough to wife her up.

Albany Wedding Shower

After a super chic bridal shower up in Saratoga, we ditched our fancy-pants dresses and headed to the for the first part of the epic bachelorette Kenzie’s maids put together. I’ve been itching to try one of these places for ages and was thrilled to finally get the chance, especially apropos as Kenzie and I first bonded in art class (she was actually a year above me, making ours an unlikely high school BFF-ship).

Man, did it feel good to put paint on a canvas again! I’m ashamed to admit that this was my only time doing so all summer — getting back to my fine arts roots was a goal of mine for this trip home — but it was a good, and hopefully motivating, start.

Paint and Sip Saratoga

Paint and Sip Saratoga

Paint and Sip Saratoga

Paint and Sip Saratoga

And then there was the big day. A note in the program asking guests to refrain from taking photos left me feeling like the wedding police were going to come get me every time I took out my dSLR, so I took a lot less photos than my usual wedding overload. Hence, you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say the was a stunning setting to say I do…

Wedding at Crooked Lake House

Wedding at Crooked Lake House

Wedding at Crooked Lake House

Wedding at Crooked Lake House

Who’s that handsome man escorting me, you ask? It’s another one of my high school besties and a wedding guest extraordinaire, Anthony. With both of us bouncing all over the place these days, our time together is rare and precious. But this wasn’t the first time the two of us went arm-in-arm. Can you spot the shot from Anthony’s middle school military ball? I think we’ve aged pretty well, all things considered.

Wedding at Crooked Lake House

Wedding at Crooked Lake House

Wedding at Crooked Lake House

I loved being there for such an enormous moment in one dear friend’s life while spending some quality time with another. And the sparklers. I loved those too.

Wedding at Crooked Lake House

The final big event of the summer was one that it was pure luck I happened to be around for. My favorite comedian Aziz Ansari came to Albany… and did a show not at , not at , but at , a teensy hibachi-restaurant-turned-comedy-club that just so happens to be a four minute drive from my childhood home.

Years ago, I saw Aziz at Carnegie Hall and paid pretty dearly for the honor of seeing him the size of an ant from my nosebleed seats. So when I saw he was doing three back-to-back surprise shows right around the corner from me — tickets were announced the night before the show and sold out in two hours, a cutoff I missed — I knew I had to be there. After a day of scouring Craigslist, calling the venue pretending to be my own assistant, and cursing myself for not checking my email throughout dinner the night before, I finally decided to just show up to the final show of the night.

I would have happily gone alone, but I was touched when my mom, who normally nods off around ten, rallied to storm the midnight show with me and try to work our magic at the door. To my amazement, work magic we did, and $80 later (for both of us!) I was close enough to Aziz to tell if he’d flossed that day or not (the man has amazing oral hygiene). Photos and videos were strictly forbidden as the star was flexing new material for an upcoming Comedy Central special, but this spontaneous mother-daughter-Aziz date was one of the highlights of my summer.

Aziz Ansari in Albany

Aziz Ansari in Albanyforgive me, internet, for the sad quality of this snuck selfie

So that was the happy stuff. Here’s some of the sad. My family has always had an unusual custody arrangement with our dog — he lives with my dad the majority of the time with my mom and I taking over whenever I’m back in the USA. But with my dad relocating to California, Tucker too moved to the West Coast at the end of the summer. It was an anxiety-wrought and heartache-filled move that was the absolute best decision we could have made as a family.

I know Tucker will be so happy to be back with his favorite human (I sit solidly in second place on that one) but I’m heartbroken by the end of an era — no more dognapping my pup back from Dad for the summers. Our last walk down our street together, a walk we’ve done a thousand times, I just bawled. It’s hard to imagine my baby might never come back to the house we first brought him home to. Being in Albany simply will not be the same without my little sidekick to snuggle, and I suspect I’ll be trading some of my East Coast time for West Coast weeks now that Tucker is based there. Closing the door on that chapter of our lives together felt monumental to me, and a magnetic pull to be with him definitely kept me Upstate for a much larger percentage of the summer than my typical 50/50 split between Albany and NYC.

Cute Cocker Spaniel

Cute Cocker Spaniel

Cute Cocker Spaniel

Cute Cocker Spaniel

With my sweet pup across the country, my mom spending more and more time in Martha’s Vineyard, many of my childhood friends now off on adventures afar, and my impending lack of US health insurance (which once kept me tethered to upstate New York doctors), this summer felt like a turning point, one that made me wistful even before I knew exactly what form it was taking.

The thing is, my mom has begun flirting with the idea of selling our house, a fact that weighed on me all summer. At this point, it’s just a conversation. But it feels like a real one. As much as I know that my relationship with Albany is shifting, and y’all would be justified telling me to grow up already, the idea of losing my home feels like a punch I couldn’t handle.

I know it’s not rational to request someone hold onto a house I spent forty-two nights a year in, but what can I say? That stack of walls sitting on a spit of land is my safety net, my comfort zone, and ground zero for every warm memory I’ve ever had of my childhood, my family, and becoming me. My compass always points back there, and without it, I feel like I’d just be spinning.

Albany

So what does that mean for me and the place that made me? Albany will always be home, for as long as I have a pillow to lay my head on there. However, in the spirit of simplifying, I’m hoping to organize next summer so that my time there falls into two big chunks instead of seven little ones; one at the start of the summer and one at the end. I also want to make sure I organize them so that they align with the time my mom is home from Martha’s Vineyard. Ideally by that point I’ll have successfully restructured my business so that I have a lot more free time (more on that later), so that whatever days I do spend in Albany are spent less in front of a screen and more in front of the people I love. Because after all, that’s what returning to our roots is all about, right?

Thanks for sharing these memories with me. On my blog they might take up just one post worth of space, but in my heart, a lot more.

See you next summer, 518.

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52 Comments...
  • LC
    October 19 2015

    Hey Meihoukai,

    Sorry to hear about your Mum’s possible selling of your house. I was back home in Australia a few months ago and knew it was the last time I’d be in the house I’d called home for eleven years. An especially hard fact was saying goodbye to our beloved dog, who was run over back in 2011. He’s buried in our front yard and the bush planted over his grave has flowered, without fail, every single spring…

    I know it’s hard, but in the end, it’s the people who make home what it is. Thats what I tell myself anyway!

    Can totally relate to the hoarders issues as well. What’s minimalism?
    LC recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      Oh, that would be heartbreaking. What a beautiful memory of your beloved pup, though…

  • Jamie
    October 19 2015

    Awww, Meihoukai this post made me tear up! I definitely understand your feelings about losing your childhood house, things shifting, etc. I’ve been feeling that way a lot lately… I recently went back to my college campus and it just wasn’t the same (duh..?) but made me sad. This post just really resonated with me – thanks, as always, for writing! <3

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      Thanks, as always, for reading, Jamie <3 It's hard to ride the changing tides sometimes. For a person who lives in constant chaos and change I know that sounds silly, but because I have so many shifting elements in my life I really rely on the ones that seem steady.

  • Silvia
    October 19 2015

    Oh Meihoukai, so many feelings! To focus on the best, you must be the only girl ever to look good in an old middle school dance photo, congrats!
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    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      Ha! You’re the best Silvia. Believe me… it needed the black and white edit.

  • Marni
    October 19 2015

    I totally feel you on the shouldn’t-keep-it-but-can’t-help-it front. A habit I’ve gotten into (which may be of interest to you), is if I’m keeping it only because it looks nice, I’ll take a picture of it and then get rid of it. That way, I still can remember the way it looks. I also tend to hide away clothes I hardly wear in a box/infrequently used cupboard, and if I can’t remember what’s there after several months, I toss it (typically without opening it again for fear of the “maybe THIS one is okay” temptation).

    I really like this post and I relate to it a lot. My parents also live quite far apart (different countries, even), which always makes it feel like I’m not giving enough in both places. I also completely understand your fear of the potential sale – my dad attempted (and failed) years ago to sell my childhood home. Really, it would make perfect sense if he did, but there’s a huge part of me that will never be ready to let that house go, even now, when I am rarely able to visit. It’s definitely a safety blanket for me, so I totally sympathize with your feelings about your mom’s.

    Also, I have to say Tucker looks hilariously adorable with his head resting on the bar and back legs spread out. I actually laughed out loud at work seeing that!

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      Those are some great tips to work towards minimalism. The photo thing would definitely work well for sentimental items (childhood artwork, etc)! And yes, Tucker lays like that all the time and yet it never fails to crack me up.

      I know how you feel about your parents. Mine being on opposite coasts now is definitely a new and interesting chapter. And then I have three sisters in three other states… we are definitely a spread out bunch!

  • Dominique
    October 19 2015

    Such a beautifully written personal post! It’s really something to be appreciated that you have so many friends to hang out with from school days! I also feel super blessed most of my friends stuck around through all my years out of the country; with family it’s usually a given, with friends not so much.

    I believe this is so much more valuable than the possessions you might (but probably will not) touch/wear again one day. It’s important to keep space in your life to celebrate every moment with your friends and family and I think de-cluttering helps with that! I hope this helps ๐Ÿ™‚
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    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      It does indeed… that’s a beautiful sentiment. I guess one of my fears is that without that house I will lose touch with the family and friends I have in Albany, because I won’t spend as much time there. Because yes, I am eternally grateful to still have so many strong ties to my hometown! The longer I stay on the road and the older I get, the more I realize what a gift that is.

  • Erika
    October 19 2015

    Beautiful post! My sister and I sold our dad’s house this summer and it was so hard for me — even though I’d only spent a handful of days there over the past 12 years. It’s just weird because your childhood home is supposed to always be there. I got so used to always being able to go back, and sleep in my old room, surrounded by my old stuff, even if it was stuff I mostly didn’t care about anymore. Just be sure to spend plenty of time there with the people you love, because the memories are what are most important!
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    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      And oh man, do I have a million of them. Enough memories to fill that house a few times over <3

  • Erin
    October 19 2015

    Love this post so much! My parents are moving out of my childhood home in one week (!!) and it is such an emotional time. Not to mention dealing with all the junk – I hear ya on that! I’m trying to look at it as a life-cleansing and also growing up moment, but it is still difficult. This post really resonated with me – and, looks like you had some wonderful summer times at home! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      Oh Erin, I feel for you. I think that might be the one good thing about my mom moving (though still totally overwhelming) — I’d be forced into the minimalism I’ve been wrestling with all these years, ha. Isn’t it amazing how many things one human can accumulate?

  • Kristina
    October 19 2015

    One of my best pieces of advice for decluttering is to take pictures! Now that photos can all be stored digitally (only requiring a hard drive), I’ve taken pictures of a lot of sentimental items from my childhood and then not felt as bad getting rid of them. Plus, you can look at the pictures wherever you are in the world instead of only when you’re at home. I did allocate myself two small bins for keeping sentimental items that I couldn’t get rid ofโ€ฆmy rule was that if it didn’t fit in those bins, I couldn’t keep it!

    Also, my parents sold my childhood home a while back (while I was in grad school). I grew up in NY (in Westchester County) but my parents moved to South Florida. I was okay moving away from NY, figuring I’d always be able to go back to visit my parents. I still miss my childhood home (it’s been 10 years since they sold it!), but I’ve been able to explore a new adopted home (Miami and now Tampa)โ€ฆ, I can still go back to NY to visit if I really want.

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      Why did I never think of the taking pictures thing? Y’all are smart!

      That’s tough to lose your NY home. That’s kind of the situation I’d be in… no more ties. I of course have friends and family friends I could stay with in Albany to go visit but it definitely wouldn’t be the same. I have enjoyed getting to know my Dad’s new cities he’s lived in since my parents separated… that is a positive way to look at things.

  • Michelle
    October 19 2015

    Hey Meihoukai!
    Great article and I can definitely relate. My parents are selling their house next year and they keep asking why I care… I’m going backpacking across the country and haven’t lived there in years. But, it’s still hard. As for being less of a hoarder, I found it best if I tackled everything in one category at a time. For instance, I pulled out all the boxes of art from when I was little. That way I could easily pick out the best/funniest things to keep and get rid of the rest. Now I have 2 giant binders with all my favorite things, and I can actually look through them. Before it was just boxes in the attic. I think I appreciate them more this way even though 90% of it got tossed. Good luck de-cluttering and great article as always!
    Michelle
    Michelle recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      Thanks Michelle. Yeah, I do that with my closet. All the dresses at once, then all the skirts. Makes it a more manageable job. Sounds like this is a universal struggle… I’m really touched and reassured by everyone who has chimed in to say they’ve struggled with losing their childhood home as well.

  • Chelsea
    October 19 2015

    Hi Meihoukai,

    What a beautifully written post! It sucks that you may have to leave your house but at least you have some time to prepare for that eventuality and make the most out of the time that is left.

    I bawled my eyes out when I had to leave my house of 17 years and wandered around taking photos, smelling it (weirdo haha) and remembering the good times that we had there. Now when I go back to the UK and walk past it (just around the corner from the new house), I silently wish the new owners well and hope that they are looking after ‘my’ house.

    Onwards and upwards – you’ll have plenty of decorating projects to help your Mum with! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Chelsea recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      That is a sweet story, Chelsea! Sadly, mom mom would be leaving the area completely, which is part of what I’m struggling with. But I love your attitude — you guys have given me so many positive ways to see this.

  • Izy Berry
    October 19 2015

    Hey alex i definetily love this post it shares alot about yourself !! and i am glad you spent time with your family and with your love ones!!! life is nothing is you dont have no one share with

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      So true. I love pausing to show you guys these more personal peeks into my life!

  • Susan
    October 19 2015

    Aw, I don’t think anyone will tell you to grow up re: your childhood home. That’s a tough moment!

    As for organizing/decluttering, yes to the Kondo Method! The book is a super quick read with lots of good tips. I haven’t adopted the practice of talking to my socks, but the rest of it has been a huge help in allowing me to feel okay about letting certain things go. And I second the taking photos of sentimental items tip, mentioned in another comment above. I do that, too!
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    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      I’ve actually yet to read the book! I’m planning to download it on my Kindle and read it now, both to stop me from buying more stuff (ha) and to help me get in the mindset to declutter once I’m home again.

  • Natalie
    October 19 2015

    First of all, I love the pic of the happy couple dancing on their big day…so beautiful! Secondly, I’m a bit of a minimalist and people are always trying to figure out why I don’t have more stuff. But having a lot of ‘things’ stresses me out. Naturally, I’ve read a lot of blogs about minimalism and one of my favorites is theminimalists.com. You may want to check it out and see if any of their tips are helpful for you.
    Natalie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      Awesome Natalie, thank you so much! I will definitely be checking it out — I was hoping for some recommendations like this!

  • becky hutner
    October 19 2015

    Aww! I loved this one. And totally get being attached to your childhood home, especially for you since it’s the only permanent home you have! Well into my 30s now and presently plonked in my old room (butterfly wallpaper and corner doll gathering still intact), I recognize how lucky I am that my parents have held onto this place. Without it, what would “coming home” mean?

    I’ve watched people close to me like my husband readjust to that concept as their childhood homes have been sold off and it’s really tough. Hell, I even cried the day his mom handed the keys to their new owner and I only stayed in the place once! At the same time, I see how impractical it is for a couple in their 60s to have such a big house, all the upkeep it requires, all of our clutter weighing them down…and all the money they’d have if they let it go! Luckily, my dad is way more nostalgic than practical so for now, the house stays! But I recognize it’s not forever and treasure the hell out of it when I’m here โ™ฅ
    becky hutner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      Exactly… especially as both my parents are with new partners now, I feel like going to their new houses would be, well, being a guest in someone else’s home rather than going back to my own. Hug your nostalgic dad for me <3

  • Laura
    October 19 2015

    Meihoukai, I hope you know you always have a place in our hearts and home โค๏ธ

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      Well, looks like the sleepover days aren’t over… I might be spending more nights in the future in Kristin’s old room yet ๐Ÿ™‚ Remember how I told you I thought your mom was so lucky to get to stay with you after her surgery? Maybe I’ll get to be so lucky when I come visit too. Love you guys!

  • Justine
    October 19 2015

    Ah, there is something so special about returning to your hometown. Seeing friends, family, pets and going back to your old stomping grounds. It is always a pretty amazing feeling. But it does get hard when things start to change. And change is inevitable. I can only imagine how tough it was for you to send Tucker off to California. Snuggling with my cat is my very favorite thing to do when I go to my mom’s in San Diego. It’s almost ridiculous how much I miss him when I’m abroad! But look at it this way. Now you get to create new memories with your dad and Tucker in California ๐Ÿ™‚ On another note, it was really great to finally meet you last week. Too bad we didn’t have more time to chat. I feel like the entire conference just blitzed by. Well, perhaps we will meet again next year in the Philippines ๐Ÿ™‚
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    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      I know! I said to Leah on the last day that you were one of the people I wish I’d had more time to connect with. I might be heading to Cambodia unexpectedly for a few days in December, but it would be to Siem Reap :-/ Don’t even tempt me to come to Phnom Penh — I love it too much!

      And yes, I am so pumped to write about Tucker and I’s road trip in Cali… it really did change my perspective on this move and end the summer on such a positive note.

  • Katie
    October 20 2015

    This is a beautiful post Meihoukai. Although I don’t know what it’s like to be potentially losing your childhood home (I have been moving around my whole life), I bet that it’s hard. Maybe it will be a good thing, albeit sad, and more doors will open. Will you Mom be staying in Albany?
    Katie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      She is pretty sick of the winters — I don’t blame her. She and her boyfriend would like to spend the winters somewhere warmer, and the summers in Martha’s Vineyard. So no, the long term plan is not to stick around…

  • Britt
    October 20 2015

    There is something so beneficial about being able to slow down and spend a bit of time at home. The sense of routine is always the thing I miss when I’m on the road; I guess it’s the very organised person in me or something.

    Even though I’ve only moved 2 hours away from my hometown for university, having to work every weekend to save for travel means that in the last two years I haven’t been able to get back there as much as I’ve liked. Hence why I’m quitting one of my jobs at the end of this week, a month before I leave for 15 months. I can’t wait to spend the next month, albeit while studying my butt off for exams, at my grandmothers and also at my mums. It’s going to be a welcome recharge before the big trip!
    Britt recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      That does some amazing Britt. There’s something so comforting about returning to the place that made you! It’s like you can switch off your brain a bit.

  • Sara B
    October 20 2015

    Hey Meihoukai, I just came back from Albany a few weeks ago. I LOVED the downtown area on a weekend evening. It wasn’t crowded, dirty or dark. The architecture was gorgeous, I kept gushing about the brick and the stately design of all the buildings. I adored the riverfront walk area. We hit up this place made from an old water and power building (Pump Station?). That was a fun spot! All the little surrounding towns were charming and everyone we interacted with was kind and warm. I can see the magic that Albany holds for you. I wish we had an “Albany” in California! I’d move there!

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      This makes me so happy to read, Sara! People from Albany love to hate on it, so it’s refreshing to hear from someone who had a great time. The Pump Station is awesome! If you ever go back let me know — I’ll give you more tips.

  • Kat
    October 21 2015

    I really loved this post Meihoukai. Although I have lived away for a number of years, the thought of my childhood home being sold off still makes me want to throw a temper tantrum like a stroppy child! It is always a place I feel should be there for me, even though I spend so little time there myself.

    On a more upbeat note, what cute pictures of Tucker! I have always been more of a cat person (should I go into hiding now I’ve admitted that?) but everytime I see pictures of him I go all gooey ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      I love that y’all love Tucker as much as I do! And brace yourself, because there are LOTS of Tucker posts ahead from California. Also, it really is comforting to hear I’m not alone on this childhood home thing…

  • Kacy
    October 21 2015

    How cool to see Aziz in such an intimate venue, and for that price! It sounds like your time spent at home was wonderful and rejuvenating. I can understand how upsetting and unsettling those changes must be, however. I don’t think that ever gets easy, regardless of age. We sold my childhood home when I was a freshman in college and that along with my parents divorcing and starting a new independent stage in my life felt like too much. But over the years I’ve gotten used to feeling a little less connected to “home” and more to the people that make me feel at home, if that makes sense.
    Kacy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      Oh Kacy, I know how you feel. I think part of what makes this tough is both my parents are on opposite coasts now and with this move would be living in new homes with their new partners… so I don’t think I’d ever really feel “home” anywhere with them. I’m glad to hear you have found some peace with it — I hope I will too.

  • Camels & Chocolate
    October 21 2015

    Not gonna lie, I’m counting down the days till Tennessee! That seems like YEARS ago, ha!
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 23 2015

      TELL ME ABOUT IT. I’m purposely on a hiatus from doing anything cool or blogworthy, just so I can have a chance in hell of ever catching up to real time.

  • Awww, what a sweet post! Who’s cutting onions!? This sounds like a wonderful, strangely bittersweet summer in a place that will always be home. Glad you got to spend it with the people you love!

    Also, I LOVE that birthday “cake!” Adorable.
    Beth | Adventuring the Great Wide Somewhere recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 24 2015

      Thanks Beth! It wasn’t quite as spectacular as last year’s creation… but I gave it my best ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Kristina
    October 23 2015

    Meihoukai, I really felt for you when reading this post because it sounded so familiar. This summer I had to let go of my childhood home and it was a huge gut punch. I even got my only tattoo to commemorate the place that will always be my roots and stay with me forever. My puppy is just 2 years old but walking her down my street for the last time was heart breaking. The conversation had been floated on and off for years so when it finally came it took a while to sink in. All I can say from going through that experience is that house will always be your home but wherever your family is you will find happiness. My emotions ran the gamut but it helped me to just give in to that and accept the transition for what it was.
    These pictures of Tucker are just so precious and made me laugh out loud because my Newfie used to lie in a similar fashion on my deck – watching over her kingdom. However, she does not even remotely fit next to me and my computer in any chair.

    • Meihoukai
      October 24 2015

      Tucker lays like that all the time… ten years on and it still makes me laugh! Love picturing a huge Newfie doing the same. Ah, sounds like this is one of life’s familiar heartbreaks, letting go of your childhood home. Hearing all your stories at least does make me feel less alone.

  • Amy M
    October 24 2015

    Facing the end or an era is always a difficult one.
    I’m not tethered by family homes as we moved a lot but we’ve always been based in the same small city so i imagine i’d feel exactly the same should my family ever move. Here’s to hoping you get many more evenings to enjoy it all before you have to say goodbye xo
    Amy M recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 25 2015

      Thanks Amy. Writing about it has as always been cathartic, as has been reading everyone’s comments. Here’s hoping I have a few more years to get used to the idea!

  • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer
    September 3 2017

    You went to Shaker High?! Me too! What a small world – what year were you? I graduated in ’04 ๐Ÿ˜€
    Chanel | Cultural Xplorer recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      September 21 2017

      What! That’s insane! I graduated in 2007. What a small world indeed!