dear durham

Jan 28, 2023

I went back to durham for the first time since graduation this weekend (this has been sitting in my drafts for so long that ‘this weekend’ is now almost 2 months ago) for a company recruiting event at Duke. I was shocked by my emotional response to being here again; I recently wrote a post about nostalgia but now I feel like I didn’t truly know what nostalgia was until today. When I go to San Diego, it feels like I’m visiting my childhood; I call San Diego home, but I feel that association fading over time. I wonder how much I really grew up in San Diego. Durham feels very much like home and I believe that’s because I went through substantial personal change here. Call it recency bias, but I think a large part of who I am now is a result of my senior year, at Duke, but really all over Durham.

I love the color of the brick here, in Durham. The lack of high-rise buildings, leaving the moon to illuminate the night. I love the typewriter-like logo of Letters Bookstore, passing by on my way to the first wine bar I ever went to. The quiet song of a saxophone plays through the night. Snow and the new year will be here soon. Stoplights change from green to yellow to red to green but there are no cars to heel. Familiar sights I once took for granted I now wish I could live this moment in time forever. Each building of downtown Durham reminds me of that time I walked drove passed by with a friend lover newly-made-acquaintance. Durham is a city that has not forgotten how to be grateful and I love that about it.

Durham is a city that was open to my making new memories rather than pushing its memories on to me.

january ammendment

I’m back in NC again, this time for a quick day-trip to my favorite cafe. What makes certain places feel like home?

I’ve been quite preoccupied with questions about family, home, and psychological defenses recently. It didn’t seem too crazy to me to fly out to NC for a day just to go to this cafe and talk with the people I’ve befriended here; obsessions are usually symptoms. How much time do you spend in a fantasy world per day on average?

One of my friends called my trip a pilgrimage and she’s right, it is. Despite all of New York’s wonders, I find it the easiest place to fall into a routine. Paradox of choice. In a city with “nothing” to do, one has to entertain oneself in a healthy manner (healthy is the hard part) and that forces one to be creative, but in the city with everything one easily puts their head down and follows the trodden path. I wonder if I undergo more self-discovery after a week of routine or a day of pilgrimage.

Most of the good ideas I remember having occur while I’m walking or in the shower. These two recent visits to NC, I’ve felt more creative inspiration than I do in NY. Maybe it’s because the air here isn’t toxic ¯_(ツ)_/¯.