Home to home through home

Perhaps I was a bit hard on Rochester in my last post. Overall, it really wasn’t too bad of a place to re-visit. It is amazing how much not being able to find something at a late hour can affect my judgment of a place.

On Wednesday, after a long day of recruiting at the job fair and running somewhat randomly into Favi and Nate, neither of whom I knew were still in Rochester (and were actually just there for the fair), I finally got to go do a few anticipated things.

First, Ben, one of the guys I was recruiting with from AMD, and I went over to the CE department to hand over a bunch of leftover t-shirts to the office for them to hand out to students. On our way into the new building, we actually bumped into Dr. Savakis, the CS department head. He quickly noticed our AMD shirts that we were wearing, and invited us in so that he could give us o tour us the new extension.

I must say, I wish that I had graduated High School in 2006 rather than college. I could have certainly enjoyed many of the new facilities that they have put in for new students. The CE department has moved from the Building 17 extension in all of its depressing darkness and into a much more friendly environment with plenty of natural light, space, collaboration areas, and fresh new laboratories. There is no way that Ben and I could not be jealous. RIT is certainly moving in the right direction, at least with the buildings.

As we were saying farewell to Dr. Savakis, one of the Intel recruiters walked up to the CE office. No, there was not bloodshed, and we actually had an interesting discussion. Dr. Savakis listened intently (or out of complete boredom, who knows) to our subtle digs at each other while maintaining professionalism. I thought the guy from Intel looked really familiar, and finally I realized that he was one of the guys who had interviewed me at Intel in Hudson, MA. He didn’t seem to remember me, though.

Ben and I headed out, and we stopped for a much-needed sub at Dibella’s. I had been longing for that gigantic NY-style brick-of-cheese on a bagel-crusted roll with delicious peppers and mustards for well over a year. Who would have thought that a simple sandwich could be so incredibly satisfying?

Later, I met up with Bill, a friend I had co-op’d with at Harris. It was good to see him again, and, apparently he had just proposed to his girlfriend the day prior. Luckily, I was there to celebrate with him a bit at Cibon, another much-missed restaurant of Rochester. We later headed over to Spot Coffee to meet up with some of my friends from La Hora de Español- Favi, Joe, and Jerry.

It was good to see them all again, though apparently the three of them had fallen out of touch pretty much since Favi and I went to Spain. We had a great time just chatting at the coffee shop (again, another place in Rochester which I dearly miss, and is in fact open late) and decided to go head over to Java’s down the street a bit later. I do really miss that group, and it was good to get all of us back together again. They even mentioned starting La Hora back up again, which would be great to have happen.

Six hours later, I was on a plane heading from home to home. With a connection through home. With a small amount of sleep and having just gotten accustomed to driving around Rochester again, it began to feel familiar and present. If I hadn’t met my friends, though, Rochester would have certainly felt void and foreign, and I like a ghost drifting along through a lost dream. But it was just enough exposure and intensity to remind me of how my life was there not too long ago.

Drifting in and out of sleep on the plane, I arrived in Cleveland. Home. Again. Where am I? Home? But I was just home? But neither of those are home now, right? I wander around the airport and grab a bagel, and remember many of the trips that I have taken from that Continental terminal. But my family was not there at the airport to receive me. I would never pass through the security gates and into the industrial Cleveland air, but would instead groggily board another plane to head home. To Austin, this time.

On the flight back, I woke up several times almost sick with confusion and disorientation of where I was and where I was going, and what parts were dream and what was real. Finally, after a clear bird’s-eye view of the downtown skyline and AMD, I was grounded. The plane landed. I was home. Really this time. I think.

Return to Rochester

I only get the urge to write in this when I travel. I wonder why that is.

Today, I am back in Rochester, NY. Home of my alma-mater. This time, instead of being a resident, I am a visitor. Instead of being a student, I am a full-time employed adult. Instead of seeking employment at the career fair, I am recruiting for AMD.

Of course I wanted to come back. There are many things I have greatly, dearly missed about this city. Mostly, it is my friends. As it turns out, though, nearly all but four of them have left this little city to move on with their lives. In another year, two more friends, I expect, will have deserted this place. My connections with Rochester have become lesser and lesser, and it has merely been a year since I have graduated. What will it be like in five years?

It will feel even smaller. Not only did I graduate from RIT, but I feel like I have graduated from Rochester as well. Returning here is like walking back into your elementary school as a high school senior. It looks and feels almost comically small. Suffocatingly small. It is quiet, and quaint, and there is so little to do here at 11pm on a Tuesday that it is actually confusing for me. Barcelona and Austin have shown me what a real city can offer (I’m not even sure Austin is a real city yet) and Rochester just isn’t matching up.

Here, I can’t even find a place to eat past 10pm on a weeknight. I went to Pita Pit, near downtown. My other options: Taco Bell, Denny’s, Jay’s (dysentery) Diner, and Tim Horton’s. Exquisite. You would think, maybe, that a town with two pretty large universities in it would just pack these locations with hungry students. Wrong. Pita Pit had a whopping four patrons in it. So much for late-night cravings. Come on, students, you shouldn’t even be having to study for midterms yet! Get off campus!

The roads of Rochester were just empty. I had them to myself, and driving around felt eerie, and as Derek once said about Burton, “It feels like by just being awake past 10 you are committing a tragic sin”. Yet, during my drive I did see about 6 cop cars. I’m not sure why, especially in the nicer neighborhoods I was driving in. Perhaps they should be back in the ghetto where I used to live, and my roommate’s car stereo was stolen.

Tomorrow is another day, and I hope to meet up with some of the people that are still here. I’ve also been craving a Dibella’s sub for a long time, and to go for a stroll down Park Ave once again. With luck, I’ll be bringing back some nice bottles of NY wines in my somewhat empty suitcase.

It’s a lot of small things that I miss about this place. But even compounded together, I’m beginning to question if those small things really amount to much. This, perhaps, is the most surprising thing I will encounter during this trip.

(Untitled)

I sit in front of the browser window

the tab is marked

(Untitled)

the blank white page

the blinking cursor in the address bar

begs me to go somewhere

pleads me to enter destination

to find something, a solution

to how I am feeling

to making things right

and permanent

but there is no such website

there is no such answer

even in this vast set of knowledge

where I often try to hide 

Año Nuevo

So this is the new year, and it might be the first one where I actually feel different. This change is not just a tick of a clock and the rolling of the year’s least-significant digit. This year actually marks yet another new era in my life. William wrote about era shifts in his own live-journal, something that was heavily based on a thread of e-mails that he, Derek, Matt and I had shared.

2001 was the mark of graduating from High School and moving on to a new city, a new school, new life, new friends. 2001 was the mark of an era shift, and a good one at that.

2006 marks yet another new era. In 4 days, I will be leaving the country for a fairly extended period of time. I had a feeling that this wouldn’t make itself entirely apparent to my conciousness until after new-years-eve, and I was right. It hit me fast and hard. Out with the old, in with the new. Gone with the home-country and friends, in with the unknown and foreign.
5 months from now, I will be back here. By “here”, I don’t mean here where I sit (Ohio), but here in Rochester. However, it will not be back to the regular Rochester routine. I will not be taking any more classes of Computer Engineering. I will not be starting yet another co-op at Harris. I will not be sitting at Java’s attending weekly Spanish Hours. Instead, I will have yet another large era shift – graduation. This period should get its own year. Let’s call it 2006.5

Shortly thereafter will come yet another whirlwind to my life. Moving to Texas will be something exciting, interesting, and yet sad. I’ve spent so much time developing lives in Ohio and Rochester, and will have spent a relatively shorter but intense amount of time doing the same in Spain. All of that effort will hopefully prove itself worthwhile. My close friends will filter themselves out from the aquaintances. This is a natural progression, and I expect that I will be able to handle it, though it will be difficult.

If anything is comforting, it is that Austin may mark the first time in my life where I could see myself actually settling. It is early to tell, of course, since I’ve not even lived there yet. However, from a purely logistical standpoint, I’ll have completed high-school, my undergraduate studies, and done my long-desired study abroad. There really isn’t anything requiring a relocation from Austin, so long as things go smoothly with AMD (and I expect they will). It is somewhat relieving to finally see that option of settling down somewhere. Who knows, though. Maybe I never will. Maybe I’m a nomad at heart.

Whatever the far future holds, 2006 will be a year who’s face will stand out above the crowd. It is a year I look forward to and dread simultaneously. It is a year which I will look back upon and relive the moments which I have yet to sculpt from the material we call time.