Wednesday, February 28, 2007

This Nomadic Life

Walking through the streets of Tzfas

My plane back to New York leaves in eight hours. After California and a quick visit home, it's back to Crown Heights, where a new apartment awaits me.

So once again, here I am - collecting my belongings into boxes on wheels.

I am scanning my room. The room in my home. My home on this hill. This
hill near this lake. This lake in Seattle.

But this is no longer my place. A solid six months away was enough to make that real.

My family still calls this "Mimi's room." But we all know it's really another guest room. And this trip home, my position in life blended with the new room status. I was just a guest. The nomad was visiting home.

Some of my belongings still make a home in this space that made a magnificent background to my high school years.

You can tell exactly what I used to be.

You know, back in the day.

There was a time when I wasn't a nomad.

I was a painter.

I was a music connoisseur

A collector of anything vintage.

A photographer.

A cultured reader.

An expert scrapbooker.

My paintings, CD collection, jewelry, books, pictures - anything that
lended itself towards a strong and important hobby - just sit around,
bored as ever. My notes from learning in Israel are begging to be
reviewed, but there just isn't room for them in this nomadic
existence. You can only travel with so much stuff, hopping from
apartment to apartment, making short visits home, traveling for my job.

Meanwhile, I am galavanting around Crown Heights assuming the title of
"just-another-single-girl-living-in-Crown Heights." I am no longer a
painter, or anything else. I am just a victim of a nomadic life,
awaiting the day when I will be settled. The day when I can put all my
books on a shelf, and not just the ones I need. The day where I can
paint the view from a window, and it will be meaningful - for it is my

For now, a strong part of my life sits idle in a space I used to
inhabit. This room. This room in my home. My home on this hill. This
hill near the lake. This lake in Seattle.


Felanjee said...

I love the rhythm you have here. "victim of a nomadic life" threw me off a bit. Are you happy about your lifestyle or not?

Chana said...

Nomadic life is tough. And what makes is especially tough is not knowing when it will end. What I've discovered, over the years, is that the key is to make your temporary life as permanent as you can. Buy real dishes, not disposable. Use real dressers, not plastic drawers. Make your temporary space (in NY, for example) your place. When I moved to NY, I was fortunate to have my father drive me in twice, with two van loads of stuff... Heaven help me when the day comes for me to move out of my apt! I have so much stuff it's crazy. But ya know what? Home is where the stuff is. I love being surrounded with things that mean a lot to me. Oh, and one last thing - set up a small part of your new place for your hobbies. Put up a shelf or set aside a drawer to be designated for your painting or art. You'll feel so great doing the things you love in your "home". Think of it as home, and you'll be happy there.

s/o who loves u a lot (& is not timid anymore & can't wait till our friendship blossoms crazily) said...

get married

Raizel said...

first of all, I got all warm and fuzzy inside and smily reading this post, cuz I could see you in your room, feel you going through the process, looking about at what once was your domain...

I know what you mean about the whole calling it your room but everyone knows it's not. It was shoved in my face, when (with my consent of course) two 17 yr old polish boys took over what was once my room. Yea, it's not mine anymore, I still have some of my things in the closet, in some of the drawers, all my seforim are on the bookshelf, my paintings are hanging up, but most of my things are in boxes and I am moving around. I think it is such an important process/transition from being in the home you grew up in, to being a nomad, to creating a new home.

Lookin' forward to seeing that last part of the process...hee hee =)

p.s...ahhh the lake...I miss it...

Raizel said...

p.s. also, this "nomadic" (every time use that word I think of Kaufman's class, Yikes, gotta disassociate) period of life is a time to refocus, the leaving behind of the physical possessions that are tied to our past is a metaphorical reflection of the parts of our past we no longer identify with or value necessarily.

moooovin' on...

good stuff yo'

litzo said...

its really neat how marriage creeps into your thoughts and peaks out in each word you speak.

for about 20 years of one's life marriage is something relating to parents, or older siblings, or aunts and uncles. it does not take on any deeply personal importance. It's alway there, but not exactly a reality.

then one day, its like a weed gone wild. its in your thoughts, visions, dreams and... real.
G-d is so neat, the way He works and all. suddenly marraige is something that actually applies to you, in the present, and hopefully in the eternal future. the compelling, not-so-subtle feeling; i'm gonna get married.

until you reach the stage it means nothing. once on that step, it means everything.

but what strikes me with awe is the fact that you recognize you're a nomad.
i think that is being very truthful.
the past few times i went home, my room and "stuff" didnt feel the same. it was my bed, my linen, my shower, but somehow all the pieces didnt fit as comfortably as before.

now it makes sense.
we are nomads.
for the time being, at least.

Jenny said...

Mimi I HATE reading! but i LOVE reading your writing....your absolutly amazing. what are u majoring in?!

Mimi said...


New to the Hilltop?

To answer your question - yes, I am happy with this lifestyle. But it's just because I am happy in general. I am blessed beyond measure with a place to live, endless opportunities, and so on, that's for sure. But, yes, there's still that unsettled feeling. And it's good, and necessary I think. Don't you think it would be strange to be feel full and settled with this lifestyle? It's so transient. But, one has to be happy in life, wherever you are, and - thank the G-d above - I can say that I am.


It's great to hear your experience and advice. I commend you for taking on such a brave attitude. I am still young and naive about the nomadic life, but one day, if need be, I will create a shelf like you suggest.

Someone who loves me a lot: It's a deal.


Warm fuzzies rock, ah? :)
Haha, the Polish boys...
And yes, the lake....ahhhh, I know.
I love hearing your responses to my posts, Raiz. Thank you.

Litzo: Marriage creeps into everything I write, each word?! Uh oh. My secret is out. Just great.

I like your musings, and thanks for taking the time to share them.

We are nomads. you say...for the time being.


Thank you, thank you, thank you for the compliments.

Do I sound like I'm majoring in something? The only think majoring in my life is the cockroaches in my apartment building and the need to come up with a Purim costume.


Thanks everyone!

- M

Chana said...

You don't need bravery to put up a shelf - you need a drill. Call me if you'd like to borrow mine :)

someone else said...

Mimi- this is something that so many people can relate to. I've learned to keep/renew my old interests and explore new interests. The world may see me as a single girl, orthodox lubavitch whatever.... but some people know me beyond the dress and status, Thank G-d!

jackie said...

Hey Mimi,

Nomadic life can be really annoying--it's an unstable state of being-- but I know that you are succeeding in taking advantage of the special opportunities that life only affords you when you're young and unsettled!

Great to read about Seattle and scenes that I can picture. And I'm sure that iy"H you'll settle down speedily once you've exhausted the possiblities of nomadism.

Freilachen Purim!

Chevie said...

Blog on girl! This one is awesome. I totally relate. BTW, you scrapbook?! So do I. Scrapbook chicks are few and far between. Glad to have discovered another.

Chevie said...

Blog on girl! This one is awesome. I totally relate. BTW, you scrapbook?! So do I. Scrapbook chicks are few and far between. Glad to have discovered another.

Chana said...

Should we have a scrapbook party? I volunteer my place.

Mimi said...

Someone else,
It's okay to be a single Lubavitcher, but yes...absorbing more than just that title is important. Glad you related.

Wow, so encouraging. Thank you! You're so right about the unique opportunities that only a nomad gets, and I feel crazily blessed indeed. Good to hear from you dear!

Indeed, I scrapbook. Admitedly, though - most of mine are unfinished. Do I still earn the title "scrapbook chick"?

Count me in. But, once again, the problem: most of the stuff I would want to use is in Seattle! If you're also voluntaring some supplies (scissors?) then let's do it!(See, you gotta be careful with ideas...I'll take you seriously! I think you know that from previous experiences:))

temmi said...

i MISS ur HOUSE and ur roomm
and i will always think of it as ur room
at least u still have ur house to go home to... mine is sold and i don't even have any sort of room at all in my new house... its like the living rooom couch...
LOVE THE SEattle scenary...
miss u

Anonymous said...

here at the gate headed homeward. read your blog -- eyes filled with tears ... life is a spiral, not a straight line. keep the love, buddy. enjoy ...