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Saying Good-Bye to My First Apartment

I walked through the doorway of the empty apartment. I gripped the new set of keys in my hands as I wandered around. I was officially on my own. Well I was only moving across town, but it felt completely different. Suddenly the whole world had opened up with possibility. If I wanted to stay out until 2:00 a.m. I had no one to report back to. If I wanted to cover my bedroom walls in pictures, there was no one who could object. This was the first place I could call my own.

To be honest, this apartment was kind of a dump, but it was now my dump. The bathroom had terrible lighting. The kitchen floors were faded linoleum. All of the blinds dated back to the 60’s. The screen door was hard to close. I didn’t mind though, it gave the place some character.

(Our first attempt at a home improvement project)

This month my roommate and I are moving out of our apartment. I’ve found myself at an interesting crossroads of emotions. I’m full of nostalgia for the past two years, while at the same time eager to see what my future holds. I want things to slow down while at the same time I’m counting down the days until I leave. Yet as the number of days grow smaller, I feel myself trying to hold on to the moments I have left here.

I still remember the first night we stayed at the apartment. The living room was empty, but we brought pillows and blankets out. We set up the laptop on a chair and watched a scary movie. Of course we spent half the night freaked out, so we watched happy Disney movies until we fell asleep.

I remember how hot it was in that apartment our first summer there. Freshman year had just started, and we thought we were pretty cool living off campus. We stuffed 8 people into our tiny living room that had turned into an oven. It was at least 75 degrees, even with the windows opened and the fans turned on. People complained, “Why is it so hot in here?” Well, at least this was better than hanging out in the dorms. So we made do, eating pizza and talking about our classes.

I will remember how long it took us to figure out how to nail things into the wall. My roommate was credited with most of the interior design in our apartment, but she wasn’t the best with a hammer. I became the handy man of the household. Although getting those first few nails into the wood paneling was a struggle. We had to put in about 100 nails to hang up Christmas lights that we had spray painted gold. By far the best decorative piece we had in the living room, everyone loved them.

(My favorite study buddy, Lavender)

I remember making pancakes. Our kitchen has a tiny oven, which was a big selling point for me when we bought the place. Who gets to say they have a tiny oven?? Although most of the time I ate food from the microwave, when we did have time to cook, it was most likely pancakes. The morning after a late night out, one of us would get up to start the coffee, and we would pull out the pancake mix. Always made with extra chocolate chips.

Tonight we played trivia. On a trip to Goodwill my roommate picked up a Trivial Pursuit game from 1996. Our friend Connor would always come over to play with us. We were all terrible, but we thought if we could memorize some of the answer that we could impress people with our trivial knowledge from the 90’s. We answered silly questions, had interesting conversations, and laughed. I think to myself, these will be the nights I miss.

My apartment is now a home. My roommate and I filled it with memories and love. We decorated for Christmas, ate our hearts out at Friendsgiving, and spent hours laughing together in the living room. It’s not so much about having a place of your own, it’s about having a place you can share with others. My roommate and I were lucky enough to find that in our apartment, and in our friendship. Part of me never wants to leave that behind

As I pack things away in boxes, my room begins to feel empty. I realize how quickly my life will be changing. I’m going to gone for a year on exchange. I will live in a dorm room and eat in a dining hall. I will have to make new friends, learn my way around a new campus. I am leaving behind the comfort of home in pursuit of a new adventure. Which is exciting, but also incredibly terrifying.

No matter how far I may wander, my first apartment will always hold a piece of my heart. It acted as the background to so many important moments in my life. Even though I’m leaving, I know I’ll be okay. Even if I’m halfway across the world, the friendships I made in this apartment will stay with me. Home isn’t a place, it’s the people you share it with.

 

The only family photo we have, but the only one I’d ever want.

Sara is a junior double majoring in Journalism and Enviromental and Natural Resources. She was born in Northern Kentucky but has lived in Laramie for 10 years now. She has a communications internship with the Wyoming EPSCoR program and writes for their blog. She also works as a lifegaurd and swim instructor at the local recreation center. To balance out her busy life Sara loves to read, do yoga, and plan her adventures abroad. She enjoys the small things that make life wonderful including rain, green grass, and coffee. One day she hopes to live in Seattle, write for an environmental publication, and travel the world to cover her stories.
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