It only took about a week to name it the Hermit House. I had moved from Boston – bubbling, thriving, explosive Boston, full of my friends and peers – to rural Wisconsin, my homeland. Technically. But instead of moving back in with my parents, to my childhood room and familiar desk and chair, I decided to bunk up in our family’s lake house, a little gem about two hours away. Why, I’m not all that sure. Part of me knew that I wouldn’t be able to stand my parents day in day out once I had lived alone (I love you guys, but you know this is just as true) and another part of me knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on getting work done for my handful of internships when I was constantly out with high school friends. So, I figured, I could live at the lake and have my parents and friends visit on the weekend.
I quickly learned that going from a six-person room in a dorm full of people in a city crammed full of other humans to a big, empty house in a neighborhood where I didn’t know anyone – yeah, well it’s a bit of a change. And I pretty much hated it. Actually, to a certain extent, still hate it. I was off and away from everyone I knew, only the occasional neighbor dog to keep me company. I got a lot of work done, but that was about it. So, I turned it into the Hermit House.
My family still visited on weekends, and sometimes I would make the trip back up to see them, but for the most part, Monday through Friday was spent in an eerie amount of solitude. I got up alone, I ate breakfast alone, I went to work on my computer, went shopping, sat out and watched the boats – it got lonely. But, then I realized I started looking forward to seeing people. While being at school had often made hanging out with people a chore, I now found excitement in the most bland of meetings. Talking to the grumpy guy at the post office became my favorite part of my day. Knocking over an entire display of yogurts at the grocery may once have been an embarrassing moment, I took pride in being able to offer a three sentence apology to the underwhelmed preteen assigned to clean up my mess. I got to interact with someone today, I would think to myself, striding away from the pool of dented Yoplait’s.
Eventually, I learned to appreciate the little things. I could always take pictures with my tripod without getting paranoid that my parents were watching. I could stay up until the early hours of the morning, not needing to worry if I was keeping anyone up with my incessant typing. Best of all, I could blast blink-182 in the shower and not hear my dad’s fist banging against the door telling me to turn it down. I guess you could say I accepted my hermit-ness.
And then the summer began to wane. July whipped by and I was left in the beginning of August, realizing that I was leaving on my next adventure in a little less than two weeks. I would be going back to Boston, stay there for a few weeks to do my duty as an Orientation Leader, and then be moving on to my study abroad. I sat in the center of my living room and came to an understanding that this would probably be my last time permanently living in Wisconsin. Ever.
I always hate using the term “bittersweet” but this is an appropriate time I guess. I’ll still have a weekend at home before I get on a plane to Massachusetts, but for the meantime I’m taking this as my last chance to enjoy all that Wisconsin has to offer. I’ve eaten at Culver’s, lounged in the finally-perfect weather, and drank all the chocolate milk I can stomach. I’m ready to move on, but for now I’ll soak up the last of being a hermit.