Goodbye, Mitsy

“I know you’re asking for $6500, but would you consider going down to $6000?” my grandfather says considerately. He has always been a good talker. The middle-aged woman from the ad, Karen, looks back at him, then down at me, then nods her head. “The brakes do need replacing. I can settle for 6.” My grandfather extends his hand, and Karen shakes it. I shake her hand, too. I don’t have $6000, not yet, but I have about 2 grand saved up from […]

Goodbye, Charlotte

On March 9, 2015, I concluded a 9-month road trip around the continent with a relocation from southern California to Charlotte, North Carolina. “Why Charlotte?” many people asked, including several Charlotte residents. “It wasn’t my favorite city,” I told plenty. If I wanted to start over in a “favorite city,” I’d be donning a year-round beanie in Seattle or consuming never-ending flows of beer and bratwurst in Milwaukee. As for Charlotte, it was the people. The church. The house. The close proximity to parents, […]

To My Little Sister, Now a Married Woman

I always knew this day would come. Of the three of us, I always knew you’d be first. You’re too beautiful, hilarious, sweet, and sincere. You love God, and you love people. You love Star Wars. How could a guy not want to spend the rest of his life with you? Your wedding day was among my most memorable spent with our incredible family. So many of our loved ones flocked to unassuming Alabama, including our grandmother to the dance floor, and these are memories I won’t soon forget. […]

Goodbye, California

California, Growing up on the east coast, I always wanted to visit you. To venture to a foreign exotic land and bask in your palm trees and mountains and a neighboring ocean not named Atlantic. Forget visiting; I could have never imagined one day living within your 2000 zig-zagging miles of gorgeous borders. Upon actually living here, I could have never fathomed leaving. Four years ago, I set sail on a new adventure. At 23, I had no idea what I was getting myself […]

To All My Students I’ve Ever Tutored

Dearest students, For the last four years, you have spurred my heart to race with rage and fury. You have joked with friends at the table, uttered inappropriate words, played with phones, and otherwise misbehaved when your parents have left the room. You have often made me question why I do what I do. You’ve also blessed me in ways you’ll never realize. Coming from an adolescent academia of isolation, I never fathomed reentering the educational realm. For all my classroom horrors of yesteryear, I wanted […]

What Makes You an Incredible Friend

You’re an incredible friend. You’ve loved me when I’ve often struggled to love myself. You’re an incredible friend. You’ve texted me and called me and otherwise checked on me when I’ve never asked you to do so. Especially when I’ve secretly needed your love but felt too ashamed or needy to ask for it. You’re an incredible friend. You’ve asked me to coffee or concerts and shared in lively lovely conversations with me when the silence of isolation has nearly […]

Goodbye, Camp Ridgecrest

Dear Camp Ridgecrest: For seven months, the surface of my laptop has worn a sticker of your name; coffee shop sojourners 2,500 miles west of your borders see it everyday. For seven months of routine mornings, I slipped on a blue bracelet etched with the Indian name you gave me. A name nobody but you or I really understands. Wore it every day for six months until it literally snapped off my wrist. For seven burdensome months, I wondered whether […]

Dear YouthWorks Milwaukee Students:

Hey guys. It’s me. No, not the bearded, guitar-toting one. Not the crazy one. And no, not the one who made you cry on a nightly basis during Club. The other one. I apologize to my fellow YouthWorks Milwaukee staff for these incriminating labels. But, uh, back to you guys. I miss you. Each and every one of you. Yes, even you who wouldn’t stop talking during Club, or kept sneaking snacks downstairs, or insisted on disturbing your adult leaders […]