Posts Tagged ‘moving’

Three summers ago, in the wake of a stressful move, I hopped a train to New York City for a solo weekend getaway. It was August – and hot – but I stayed at the cute, cozy Larchmont Hotel (now defunct, sadly) and spent all weekend wandering the Village and drinking gallons of hibiscus iced tea.

My travels led me at some point to Bleecker Street, where I bought a gorgeous green malachite ring from a friendly Turkish man selling jewelry from an open stall. I wore it almost every day for months, until it got accidentally crushed under the wheel of my car.

green ring iced tea

I tried to tell myself it didn’t matter that much, but I was sad about it for weeks. That ring felt like a talisman, a bit of beauty I had chosen for myself, in the midst of a long, chaotic season crowded with lots of other changes that I did not choose.

I ended up back in NYC last December, staying at the Jane and soaking in the city I love, dressed in its sparkling holiday cheer. I wandered back down to that stretch of Bleecker one day, after brunch at the Cornelia Street Cafe (best eggs Florentine I’ve ever had). My Turkish friend was there again, the last in a line of white-peaked stalls, open for one of the last times before winter. I spent some time chatting with him, and picked out a beautiful garnet ring this time.

Recently, that ring has migrated from my right hand to my left: a tangible reminder of bigger things that are shifting in my life. My address has recently changed, too: this past weekend, I moved to East Boston, to a little studio right around the corner from where I dog-sat this spring. For so long, the rhythms of my life have been shaped by my marriage, and that, too, is changing. It’s hard and painful, even though it’s the right thing.

In the midst of all this (further) change, wearing my own ring feels like a small but vital act of self-care: a visible reminder that I am acting for myself in this season. (The tank top in the first photo – a PEI find from Kim Roach a few years ago – doesn’t hurt, either.)


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flats red pants front steps

We moved two weeks ago, and while the new apartment is looking good (hooray!) and (most of) the books are shelved, I keep thinking: there are moments from the transition itself I don’t want to lose.

We had a stalwart crew of friends, plus perfect weather (cool and breezy). I wanted to write some of these snippets down: the beginning of a good change, one we chose and one we are already loving.

I want to remember our landlady, Maria, surprising us with a bottle of wine and two glasses as we hauled boxes up the stairs earlier that week. I want to remember her saying what our first Boston landlady, Gina, said to us when we met her seven years ago: “I hope you’ll be happy here.” (We already are.)

I want to remember the friends who showed up: Jason bounding up the front stairs at 9 a.m. on a Saturday, Kirsten moving heaven and earth to get to us after a late night, Matt and Janille walking from their house down the street, Ryan puzzling out how to fit all our stuff into a moving truck.

I want to remember how my husband and friends schlepped 24 boxes of books down one long staircase and up another, without a single word of complaint.

friends couch balcony

I want to remember how Ryan lashed a climbing rope (which he just happened to have in his car) around our two loveseats and the box spring for our mattress, and how the guys hauled all of the above up three stories, over the back-porch balcony, and didn’t even destroy my geraniums. (I want to remember dashing outside with Kirsten and Janille, to witness this miracle and snap the above photo.)

I want to remember Janille, nearly seven months pregnant, making endless trips up and down stairs at the old place and the new, filling both her car and mine with seventeen thousand odds and ends.

I want to remember standing in our old empty kitchen, amid countertops scattered with cleaning supplies and tool boxes, eating honey-glazed donuts and feeling tired but so grateful.

I want to remember knocking the bed frame together not once but twice, laughing with Kirsten and Janille, who had never met before that day but were soon chatting like old friends.

I want to remember eating pizza in the crowded new kitchen, sitting on benches and boxes, telling stories and guzzling water and saying thank you, over and over.

I want to remember Betsy and Charles turning up on our new doorstep with their month-old baby, Colette, whom they promptly handed off to me (to my delight). I want to remember how she slept, snuggled on my chest in a yellow onesie, for two hours while Betsy and Charles moved furniture and put sheets on beds and assembled bookcases. By the time they left (and J came back from dropping off the moving truck), the place was starting to look like a real home.

I want to remember my last solo walk-through of the old place: empty rooms and sunlight slanting across wood floors, and pausing in the kitchen to acknowledge: I’ve loved this.

I want to remember our first dinner on the new back porch: soup and salad from the Panera in our old neighborhood, which we ate under a gorgeous sunset sky.

jer back porch dinner

I want to remember our new neighbor, Denise, inviting us over for a drink that night, though she’d never laid eyes on us before. I want to remember the welcome we received there: Carlene plying us with food and wine, Kasia chatting to us about the neighborhood, Jude talking to us about work and life and photography.

I want to remember Emily and Adam, spending their Sunday afternoon helping us unpack dishes and glasses, pots and pans, so that we had a fully functional kitchen come Monday morning.

Most of all, I want to remember our community: helping, sympathizing, schlepping, unpacking, encouraging us every step of the way. “We have the best friends,” J said more than once. I agree: we do.

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Last week, I headed downtown for an appointment, at a place I’d found online. I rode the T to get there, of course, after confirming my itinerary and correct stops online. After that, I rode the T to a cafe to meet Abi and Shanna for our weekly coffee night – a place Shanna had found online (with the help, it must be said, of Groupon).

It got me thinking about how different this move is from any of the moves my family made when I was a kid. We moved four times before I was eight, the last time in 1992, and my parents couldn’t hunt for jobs or houses or anything else over the Internet. Once in a new place, they relied on friends, neighbors, coworkers and people they had just met (realtors, etc.) to help them find the grocery store, the doctor’s office, the mall, the pharmacy and other necessities.

However: Jeremiah found the job opening that propelled us here on a job-listings site. He looked for apartments on Craigslist before he came, and since we arrived, I have found the yoga studio, the pharmacy, the local knitting group, public transport information and SO MUCH OTHER STUFF online. (And I’ve been conducting my job search – and doing freelance work – over the Internet.)

Neither of us have smartphones – we’ve just been doing our searching at home and then trying out that info in Quincy or Boston or wherever. (We do have a handy car GPS device.) But it makes me wonder: even though moving is always difficult, how much easier has it become with the advent of the Internet? And how on earth did my mother find everything she needed to find, in Midland and Kingwood (near Houston) and Coppell (near Dallas), with no Internet and two small children? I suddenly have so much more respect for my parents, and for everyone who moved before the information superhighway was a part of our everyday lives.

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If you’ve ever moved to a new city, state or country, you know that moving requires a tremendous amount of paperwork. Since I’ve lived in West Texas most of my life, except for my times in Oxford, I’d never done the out-of-state thing before. Some bits of paperwork, like the USPS change of address form, are quick and fairly simple; some, like getting new car or health insurance, or registering a vehicle, seem expressly designed to frustrate and confuse. I’ve been dealing with some of that this week, as well as the ever-increasing angst and worry of not having a job. Nobody told me how quickly the job search starts to wear on your patience, confidence and feelings of self-worth.

I’ve wished at least a dozen times this week that someone would just swoop in and take care of this for me. That someone else would pay the parking ticket I got because I don’t have a resident sticker, which I don’t have because I haven’t registered my car in Mass, which I haven’t done because I’ve been trying to work out how to switch our car insurance (apparently our State Farm policy doesn’t transfer up here). I’ve wished so much that I could get out of this house-that-Jack-built absurdity, and let someone else – a grown-up – take care of it all. (As well as finding a new doctor, a new hairdresser, temporary health insurance and – oh yeah – finding a job.)

But I’m realizing, over and over again, that I am the grown-up now. I’m the one who finally called the auto insurance company yesterday to set up a new policy. I’m the one who’ll have to deal with the resultant pile of paperwork that will eventually culminate in me being an official Mass resident. I’m the one who, even if I do have a meltdown over all this bureaucracy, has to pick myself up and keep going.

I don’t always like being a grown-up. It sure isn’t quite as much fun as it seemed when I was a kid. But I know it’ll all work out in the end – yes, even the job thing. So I’m trying to be gentle with myself, drink another cup of tea, take a few deep breaths and then keep going. Because that’s what grown-ups do. Even when life is messy and frustrating and full of pitfalls, they keep going. They don’t hide behind other people; they do it themselves; they face whatever minor irritations or big problems come their way.

(Although, in my opinion, grown-ups also take breaks, allow themselves time to slow down and read good books and hang out with friends. All of which are definitely on the agenda for this weekend.)

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we’re heah

Well, we made it. After 2200 miles, a half-day delay in Nashville due to a broken trailer, four nights of sleeping in hotels and at friends’ houses, countless rest-stop bathrooms and a whole lot of gas money, we arrived in Boston last Thursday night, laaaate. Our dear friends Abi and Nate met us with hugs, then housed us in their adorable Waltham (west of Boston) apartment for a night. And then the next day, we began the process of hauling boxes and furniture upstairs, unpacking and settling in.

We still don’t have Internet, so I’m typing this from the Panera Bread down the street. I’m slowly finding my bearings, locating the grocery store, the pharmacy, the hardware store, the yoga studio, and yes, the beach. I filled lots of shelves with books today, and tomorrow I’ll start filling walls with beloved photos. I cooked our first meal in our new kitchen last night, and we ate it on our adorable front patio.

Pictures to come, of course, and more stories about our new life. But for now I’ll just say: we’re here. And so glad to be.

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Boxes, boxes and more boxes.

I went to Mezamiz three times this week.

J and I had lunch at Alley Cats on Friday.

A Boston-themed going-away party from my co-workers – Boston cream cake, lots of tea, a Boston travel guide, a Red Sox cap and a plaque listing things they like about me. (The plaque is a Creative Services tradition.)

Not pictured: many hugs, more than a few tears, Lawson and Morgan and Frankie helping us pack, a potato-soup date at Mezamiz with Jana, coffee with Glenn, burritos with Cole, lunch with Julie at Hickory Street, a praise team party, a wonderful last Sunday at Highland, the Lifeteam helping us move, and all the love I could wish for.

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We’ve reached the crazy stage in our transition. Our house looks like a box factory exploded; half my kitchen cupboards are empty and the rest are half-full; most of our books are in boxes (this is a big deal for me); and it’s going to look worse before it looks better. And we’ve reached the stage I was dreading: the good-byes.

I’ve already had to hug Virginia and Kelsey, Glenn and Cole, Lawson and Morgan, Jay and Dawne and Amanda and a few others, and tell them “see you later” with a lump in my throat. I’ve hugged a lot of other people with promises of “see you tomorrow” or “see you Sunday” or “we’re not saying good-bye yet.” And I keep reminding myself that we’ll be back to visit Abilene. We have family here, in all the most important ways. We love Highland and ACU and so many of the people attached to both of those. We will be back.

But this is hard. It’s hard to know we won’t see these folks for months, that we’ll miss the Sunday get-togethers and the Tuesday coffee nights and the birthday parties and the little daily things. I’m so thankful for Facebook and email and cell phones – which I’ll be using copiously to keep in touch with my Abilene family. But oh my, I’m going to miss them.

So this Love Thursday is a love letter to all the people I love in Abilene. Thank you for supporting me since I arrived at ACU, a nervous, bookish freshman trying to find a new home. Thank you for loving me through good times and bad, too many to name. Thank you for standing with me through a year of deep sorrow and grief, when I lost two people I loved and didn’t know where to turn. Thank you for celebrating with me through the joy of my college years, my graduation, my first real job, my time in Oxford, my engagement and wedding and marriage, and everything in between. Thank you for accepting me, just as I was, and standing by me as I grew and made mistakes and asked questions and wondered and loved and changed.

Thank you for loving me, my Abilene family. I love you too. I’ll carry you in my heart to Boston, and I’ll come back to visit. And you are welcome in our little Quincy flat any time.

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We are in transition right now, big-time. And by that I mean we’re finally starting to pack, to say good-bye to dear friends, to take part in “last things” – last visits to favorite restaurants, last times with loved ones, last Texas road trips for now. Last things are hard, because though I know we’ll be back for visits, it won’t be the same.

So what’s keeping me sane? Lots of hugs from my husband; some Friends episodes on repeat; writing every day; lighting candles when I can; a bit of knitting here and there. Watering my plants every morning; standing on the porch each morning and each night, watching early-morning wisps of cloud or the moon rising and scattering the clouds like bits of shell across the sky. Lunches with girlfriends, laughing over sandwiches or tacos. Trying to breathe in the last days of normalcy for a while; trying to anticipate and trust that good things are coming. Taking a few cues from my recharge program. And looking so forward to seeing Bethany in Nashville and Abi and Nate once we get to Boston.

What keeps you sane in the midst of craziness or transition?

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