First 16 hours in Boston have been ok. Tiger did so well in the car and so far has adjusted beautifully. This room is… gently used. Mary still seems cool. I bought a parking spot from some guy named Harvey.

Walked to Starbucks at Cleveland Circle and then to the reservoir near BC. (Naturally, this Jersey girl looked for the water first.) Cleveland Circle didn’t seem like such a central location that it needed a name. But it got one, and that makes it important. The reservoir was so peaceful and the sky was so blue. It somehow smelled like the shore. And I took pictures and was happy.

There is an element to all this that escapes normalcy and makes it all seem like a very strange vacation instead of a permanent move for work. Now all the ideas I had about how life would be meet reality. I need to remind myself that all is not lost even if it does not exactly resemble what I imagined.

I almost thought I walked into the wrong apartment. Having attention problems and anxiety means that I don’t always take information in as accurately as possible. For example, I did not realize the watermarks on the ceiling. Or the cracks in the walls. Two bedrooms blended into one in my memory. This one is smaller than I imagined and now I’m not sure all the furniture will fit.

Boston has so many interesting smells that I can identify as familiar but can’t quite pinpoint. I would guess that some are a mix of dust and old brick in the hot summer sun. There is plenty of old charm but for the time being, I hope the old charm keeps four walls and a ceiling about me. But as Tom said, “Sometimes, you just have to live on the 4th floor.” My parking spot is so far away from the front door. And here is where adventure and inconvenience meet.

“And fuck what they’re saying
My mind is made up
And they’re all just starving
Like the rest of us
And I’m trying here, I’m trying here

Gone are the days when the wind would brush my face
Gone are the days when you’re the wind
Gone are the days when your heavy heart is worn on my sleeve” -THATH

Sheila was nice enough to give me her boxes when she was done moving. I really appreciated it!

Her boxes are nicely (and reasonably) labeled by the room from which the contents came. Mine are all labeled, “random shit, miscellaneous, and other.” packing fail.

Well tonight was kind of epic. My second singer-songwriter showcase, but my first full 45-minute set. I made people laugh, I made people cry. My music is clearly stronger than my therapy, and just maybe I went into the wrong “helping profession.”

For strangers in the audience, I’d like to think there is something in my songs that everyone can relate to. And I was very humbled when someone teared up during State Lines. But for my friends, it was a more personal experience, even with my limited introductions of each song. They knew the whole story, they were re-living it with me, they were going on the journey with me. My life in grad school, the musical.

And a few friends said that while watching me play, they had “the feels,” that they too teared up when they thought about me leaving. It was the first time any of us had actually said anything emotional in nature about my leaving. It was the first time a room full of (mostly) therapists used our feelings words.

In a lot of ways, my time in Philadelphia ended tonight. So many things laced with permanence and finality. So many stops. And who am I to be the recipient of such a powerful and spirited sendoff? I am after all “just a girl who was dealt a hand stronger than my own,” but a grateful one at that.

I suppose I too have all “the feels.” Grateful, humbled, surprised… And also, fearless. Front and center, you not only sat through “Broken Glass” with a bs, transparent introduction about “Phineas from A Separate Peace,” but also a full 45-minute set. And the quiet girl from 1st year played through ten songs without being intimidated by you. In fact, she Taylor Swift-ed you. Never piss off a singer-songwriter.

With tonight going how it went, now seems as good a time as any to recount and reflect on my time in Philadelphia. More than ever it seems like a series of juxtapositions, which are curiously presented in my songs. Making room for hate in love. Success amongst struggling. (Per Angusta Ad Augusta.) Joy and sorrow on the same vine. Loneliness amongst the tangles of life-long relationships. The therapist in therapy. The neuropsychology student who can’t work with dementia/alcoholism patients. The mercurial girl dating someone who cannot tolerate contention. The under-confident clinician finding new ways to be brave.

How much I resented this place when I first moved here. And how much like home it has become. Dear Philadelphia, with your highest highs and your lowest lows, I will miss you. With love, Ann Marie, xoxo