The Brand New Place

I live here, now, in this tiny room I share with another person. Here in this brownstone on a tree-lined street, tight-roping between Boston and Brookline. I live here on the third floor of this old and narrow place, stocked only with a mini-fridge and a microwave.

I live here and not just in the “I sleep here” way. Quite literally, this is my address, too shaky to be called permanent but where I reside. The school thinks I live with my mother, but the truth is I haven’t lived with her since I was twelve. Over the past few months what I thought of as home dissolved between my fingers. I’ve come to reside only within myself. Home is now a concept I can fold up and put in my suitcase.

There is really only one event leading up to this: in June, my dad lost his job. It happens to a lot of people, but I never once considered the possibility it would happen to me, to my family. I figured being a teacher, not a factory worker, had pretty good job security. But the district he worked in folded social studies— his lifelong career— into language arts and that was that.

So instigated the Move. We— my dad and I— just couldn’t afford to remain in the house I grew up in. And although he’s a great teacher, it’s very difficult for a person in their 50s to get a competitive teaching job when going up against cheap recent graduates. He’s always been a teacher to me, and now that he’s not, it creates a strange feeling that sits in the pit of my stomach.

We cleared out all of our things. We painted and sanded the evidence of out long tenure there away. Reformed it into something someone else could live in and create memories in. Realistically I knew that my home would not always be there for me, but it still feels as though the rug has been torn out from under me.

We as a society romanticize the idea of home. From Dorothy to My Antonia. Unconsciously, throughout my less-than stable life, I grasped onto this ideal. Not to mention that I already have trouble processing sudden, expectation shifting change.

On one level, it’s silly. I have a great school to go to, a job to do, and a family that loves me. Plenty of people have it worse. It doesn’t make it an easier pill to swallow.

Is it 10:30 on Monday? Yes, absolutely. But I got it done in time. Cheers!


Saturday, November 21st

Saturday, November 21st. Southern Maine. 11:11am


I woke up this morning in my bed, at 8:30, like every other day I’ve slept in my bed. 8:30, to silence, to light, to the gentle floating of dust illuminated by the morning light.

My sister’s cat has taken up residence in my closet.

It is 11:11 in the afternoon and it is very quiet. My dad, who gets up early every day, is napping. My cat, who reacted in no way to my returned presence, snoozes on a pile of blankets. The only noise in the occasional whining of the dog, who has an ear infection, and the hum of the water pump. The washing machine is on– I didn’t wash the sheets before I left.

Only by leaving and returning do I understand how quiet things are here. How dark the night is. How the air smells and feels a certain way, like the air is not just cold but clean as well.

When I first woke up I went to take pictures outside in my jacket and bare feet. The air nipped and dug into the flesh of my sole.

Seacoast Eats

white-heron-tea-coffeeThanksgiving is coming right around the corner, which means I get to go back home! If you ever find yourself in the Seacoast area, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a short list of good places to get some food (there are many good places, but these are my favorites).

  1. Lexie’s Joint Islington Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire


That’s right, this little hole in the wall, with six or so tables and a bar, located down on Islington in Portsmouth NH. It’s, in my opinion, the best burger place around, beating out the fancy Brgr Bar with its sixteen dollar fairs. Burgers here run on average six dollars each, more for a double. The fries are extra, but man are they worth it. They also give you little cookies with your check. For a long time I avoided telling people about this place because I didn’t want it to be so crowded, but the word as gotten out. But don’t worry, if the line is too long you can always order take-out and have it delivered to you by the Take-Out Guys.


Favorite Order: It used to be the Bistro burger, but that has since been removed from the menu. I now go for the Green Munster, Aioli fries, and either the coffee frappe or cucumber mint lemonade.

  1. Black Birch Wallingford Square, Kittery, Maine


In my opinion, this is the nicest gastro-pub around (don’t worry, under 21’s are still allowed in the door). It’s a little on the pricer side, but that’s to be expected. Many of the places around are either casual or very fancy, and this place strikes a nice balance between the two. It’s also impossible to find. The facade of this building looks like a bank and when I worked in Wallingford Square I probably spent more time giving directions to Black Birch than I did serving customers. My mom also really likes this place.

This is what it looks like from the outside. I promise it’s nicer inside.


Favorite Order: They change their menu quite frequently. Last time I went I got the mac and cheese and it was delicious. My mom said she likes the Oxbow Farmhouse Pale Ale.

  1. Ceres Bakery Penhallow Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire


This is admittedly totally biased but I worked here when I was in high school. Very important: there’s in a Ceres Street in Portsmouth but it is not there. It’s on Penhallow, this weird one way side street. That doesn’t change how good this place is. It’s a bakery in the sense they sell baked goods (all of which are yummy), but it’s also one of the cheapest lunch places around. And fresh bread everyday (if you know of Colby’s, they buy their bread from Ceres). There’s soup, a lunch special, and sandwiches made to order. I really encourage people to try the specials because a lot of work goes into them and I haven’t eaten one I didn’t like. If you’re genuinely looking for a small-town vibe, where everyone is having a good time and there are regulars with signature orders, look no further.

Favorite Order: Lemon Chicken Orzo. End of story. The Ceres brew tea is also yummy.

  1. White Heron Islington Street, Portsmouth New Hampshire

White Heron is everyone’s favorite tea supplier. If you order a chai tea latte at any cafe, chances are pretty good that they’re using White Heron’s stuff. You can also buy numerous other teas from them, loose leaf or bagged, in their location way down Islington, past Lexie’s by a whole lot. They sell adorable tea related items and tea shirts as well as delicious food and drinks. Plus free wifi and parking (if you can find a spot).


Favorite Order: The Chai Tea latte (always); I’m always partial towards egg sandwiches of any sort but the tofu rice bowl is also really good.

  1. Loco Coco’s Route 1, Kittery Maine


Taking a stand on the burrito battle here. There are two main places to get burritos– Loco Coco’s in Kittery and Dos Amigos in Portsmouth. People get pretty feisty about which one is better. The parking at Loco Coco’s is so much better, and so are their chips (made in house). I also think their burritos are warmer? But that might just be me.

Favorite Order: I’ve literally never gotten anything else on the menu besides a burrito. My favorite is the chicken but the California one has french fries.

  1. La Festa Central Ave, Dover New Hampshire


The only place on the list located in Dover, which may be a little out of the way for tourists. It is, however, the best pizza place. Like burritos, pizza has a line drawn. There’s also Flatbreads in Portsmouth, but if you want traditional pizza La Festa is the place. They sell these cinnamon and garlic knots that are so cinnamony and garlicy they’re amazing.


  1. Seafood

This is potentially a very controversial topic, and there’s just no one option. Bob’s Clam Hut is the total tourist option, but it’s very expensive and I worked there once and absolutely hated it so I cannot in good faith recommend it. A higher end place would be any of the wharf ones on Bow Street, one of which is Surf, where my sister worked in the summer as a line cook. It’s very good and they have a raw bar, if you’re into that. Personally, my favorite seafood place is only open during the summer. It’s the Lobster in the Rough, the restaurant on the ground floor of the Weathervane Corporate headquarters on Badger Island. It’s very unassuming, there’s probably twenty seats total and even less items on the menu. It’s definitely a local place and where the Weathervane sends all of its favorite employees. Sure, I may see everyone I ever went to high school with when I go, but it’s worth it.

As always, if you enjoyed this post, please like and comment. Cheers!