July 3, 2021

No, I am not particularly smaller than before.  However, my living quarters have shrunk considerably.  And that has taken a lot of time, money, and patience.

Covid made clear to me that I could no longer live alone in my home of 22 years.   I didn’t particularly want to live far from my wonderful home of the last 22 years.  I ended up looking back at an assisted living home geared mostly for Jewish old folks that I had learned about many years earlier.

Some things had changed, such as their financial aid possibility if you stayed on their scholarship list for at least 10 years.  I had dutifully  checked in every year to renew my name, but as I neared the top of the list, the policy changed and I was no longer eligible.

My cousin reminded me of Heritage Pointe again as she was checking on places I might move to.  Yes, their scholarship rules had changed with the years and the management, but had been reworked.  They had a small unit available for a one month trial run to check it out.  I decided to try it out for a month.

Much to my own surprise, it only took one week for me to make the decision to move into that little room and sign up to remain there indefinitely.   And everything was on a rental basis, not a buying basis.

It was primarily that little room that convinced me I wanted to live there.  Although far smaller than my 2 bedroom, 2 bath home, I immediately felt a sense of home there.  And it was located in a quiet location on the side of the building away from the significant traffic noise.

Always one to be aware of the nature around me, it faced  some hills planted with mature, tall trees and the backs of a few homes on the hill.  The air was filled with flapping birds and birdsong.  At night, a convenient part of the sky above me showed the bright colors of the changing sunset.

Having been the matriarch of my mostly deceased family, I dutifully  slogged through what I had been avoiding for years — going through everything that no one else in the family claimed.  Since my main love was writing, paper was what I had mostly saved.  And I had published two books.

That was a long, hard job indeed — not entirely unpleasant, but quite overwhelming.  I had already contributed an archive of the many years of letters from my Chinese students to the Hoover Institute in  Stanford University where they had a permanent home.

What to do with the other thousands of letters that my friends and I had sent throughout the world to keep in touch as we had moved from place to place?  I spread them throughout several suitcases I was throwing away and tossed them to their fate.

For what I had culled through and saved as “meaningful” in some way to my life, I found  somewhat magical little places around my Thumbelina-sized room to keep them.

My balcony is still my special place to sit and see the clouds and colors change in the sky,  to watch and listen to the birds and hear their many songs, and to think of the nearby ocean and beaches that await my visit.


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