We considered leaving the city, in favor of the home-with-a-yard American dream. But we like our urban life, and so do they. And especially, we love their school, and the community that they are a part of there. We didn't want to wrest them from that, in the middle of the elementary school years, when they already had to switch schools a few years ago when we returned from London. So we moved from a vibrant downtown neighborhood, our home since before we got married, to a quiet old-world block four blocks from their school. That's right, their school commute has been reduced by over 80 city blocks, and we all got back a full hour of the morning that they previously spent on a big yellow bus.
But the experience was far from my smooth-move fantasy. As luck, or the real estate gods, would have it, we had to move right in that busiest time of the elementary school year calendar when all recitals and performances and parties occur, which also happens to be the time when we parents are supposed to be diligently checking things off the camp packing list. In addition, the days and times just wouldn't line up the way I wanted. If we could have moved on a Thursday or Friday, then we could have sent the girls to their grandparents' for the weekend, and have had time to set up the place. But we couldn't. Many factors were against us, and our move was set for a Tuesday. A Tuesday! Which means the girls had to sleep on Monday night with all of their belongings boxed and wrapped around them, and come home from school on Tuesday to a new apartment that looked like the inside of an Amazon warehouse. Lucky for us, in our new neighborhood we have good friends around many corners, and the girls went to friends' for homework and dinner after school. The move, of course, took longer than we thought it would, so at six pm I called and said, "can they stay a little longer?" At 7:15 they came home, and they could barely walk into their new room.
By Thursday evening last week we were able to excavate the dining table, and ate a meal there with our first visitors: my parents and brother, who was able to casually stop by on his way home from work: score. (Delivery from Amsterdam Burger: score two!). The place was still, honestly, a mess. But we kept at it. I didn't stop unpacking, and hardly sat down, until about 12pm on Friday, when I stopped unpacking and started packing. We were going away for the weekend, to the annual school Shabbaton, at a camp in scenic Columbia County. And we had no choice but to walk (drive) away, and relax. Never been so thankful for Shabbos.
It's been a week now, and we've done war with the boxes. There are a couple of pictures on the wall. The kitchen is fully functional, and last night I cooked a proper meal of chicken and potatoes in it (this after Bella asked me the day before why all we do is order in.) The books are still in boxes and I'm intimidated by them because we definitely don't have enough bookcases. I've been wondering if maybe books don't belong in homes anymore, in this day of digital book readers. (Ok, come on you bibliophiles, give it to me...but don't worry, we're going to unpack the books. Eventually.)
It's all coming together, poco a poco. And I'm learning the old-fashioned way that big life events like moving a family do not happen overnight. You'd think I would have known that, having done this before, and last time, internationally. But a good friend said to me the other day that she can't remember her last move at all; there must be a moving-induced amnesia. I can't wait til mine kicks in.
Here's one plus: if we had shades on our windows, I probably wouldn't have been up writing this at 5am. (I blame the toddler, who woke up and started talking before 4:30. Although she went back to sleep, and I...didn't.). Now I know there's something else I should be doing...where's that camp list?!