I grew up in the Middle East (Turkey and Lebanon) and moved to the States with my family in High School. Although we moved to a suburb of NYC, the two states I consider ‘home’ are Maine and California.
Maine, because my family had a summer home here that we would come to while I was growing up, and my parents moved back to that home after I graduated from high school.
California, because after reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in my sophomore year of college I dropped out of college, took a road trip to Berkeley, found a job in a bagel shop on Telegraph Avenue, and thus began my 20 years in California.
The majority of my years in California were spent working with the California Conservation Corps. My time with the CCC took me all over the state working on trails, construction projects, fires, floods, doing energy audits and installing energy conservation measures. It was hard work, but we also had a lot of fun. Like Gary Snyder I worked on the trail crew in Yosemite National Park and ran down the scree slopes of Matterhorn Peak at full speed (if you haven’t ever tried it, I highly recommend it — it doesn’t have to be Matterhorn, any good loose scree slope will do).
For a while I lived in a small cohousing community in Oakland, California. 30 years later I am still in touch with the people living there (at last visit most of the same families were still there that had been there 30 years before — with a change of generation taking over the units for two of the families). I loved living there, and knew that if I ever had an opportunity to live in community in that way again, I would take it.
Most recently I have been taking care of both of my elderly parents. My mother is now in the last stage of Alzheimers Disease, and she only very recently went into a nursing home that specializes in Alzheimers care. Because I was often stuck at home and unable to participate in the wider community, I began writing a blog chronicling our journey together for the website www.incareofdad.com (a fantastic resource for issues on aging and care for the elderly).
I feel blessed to have been able to have my parents with me at this stage of their lives.
Dad is still with me and I hope to move to Belfast Cohousing with him when our house is complete.