As mentioned, we are actually finally moving from this great land. Uprooting our bodies and hearts seemed so inconceivable for so long. But slowly, in the past couple of years, I felt a turn of the tide, and like a kite following a different flow of the wind, I feel my heartstrings being pulled up and away. It's been a gradual and methodical sensation, building over time, like the slow oozing of molasses (pause: when's the last time anyone ever handled molasses? I'm this close to not even knowing what it is anymore and rendering this simile obsolete). But because of the build-up, because of my constant mulling over and contemplation of my feelings on the matter, evaluating and re-evaluating, and sharing it aloud with others, when the moment came--though it was still a jolt of a shock and all of the big life decisions made thereafter tumbled in a million miles a minute--it felt like a very gentle and natural conclusion, for which I am very grateful. I'm pretty sure I was immediately happy. But i am amused at the whole thing. Bewildered. Bemused. The surmising, however, is different from reality and the reality of all this is still very new, not two weeks old. So I'm waiting to see how it all pans out.
The plan: We're moving to Utah, first, near my parents. Then- ??? I don't know. There are no real plans. All i know is the call of the wild-- or family, nature, quiet, change, and newness-- has been loud. I'm excited for change, to be able to shake off this stagnation we've been sitting in for far too long, excited for not having extended plans, for being within 500 miles of someone related to us, and being able to see them on a regular basis(??) Unfathomable! It's taken 10 years to build a family here, and not ours but with those around us. Our friends who we've relied on to fill that family need as well. Those with whom we meet every Sunday for a parknic, aka Sunday Family Dinner. Man, friendships are the best. And to feel like you really made some solid ones-- it's like when Suzie and I high-fived and congratulated ourselves on "creating a lasting friendship! Yeah!" It doesn't happen every day or with just anyone. It takes time and work and we did it! So we know we're going to be ok.
Less talk, more look:
Since I tried to live in nowstalgia and enjoy what I had while I had it, I didn't feel this great need to do anything one last time, though i couldn't help but get sentimental about all of the little things i know I'll miss painfully. But I didn't think much of the things we missed out on or never had a chance to do because we did SO much in this city and it's just so big, you could never do it all. So i feel kind of free from that. I feel pretty satisfied in our life and how we lived it in Bklyn. So the last week here didn't look too different from other weeks, which if you think about it, could look really magical. And as it turns out, it was.
One day Julian and I were going to walk to the bookstore to buy every NYC/Brooklyn kids book they had even though we have a fair amount. The bookstore is about a mile away and a delightful walk but on this day it was hot and 1,000 % humidity. We even had a spray bottle in tow but nothing doing. We made it about 5 blocks before we had to give up. But first we popped into a toy store with a backyard play space and built a creation.
These blocks are super cool. We decided to walk back home to get the car and on the way we had to stop at this cute little cafe shop that we've never ever been to, for a watermelon lemonade. We sat at the counter for the longest time just sipping our sips when THE hugest rainstorm hit. Sooo much fun. Trapped, we just sat and kept ordering snacks while we watched the storm. Julian started giggling and I thought, oh he's just so happy to be alive and soaking up the Brooklyn love! But actually he was thinking about his Mickey Mouse shows (which are, granted, hilarious). Still, pretty cute, and a sort of atypically typical magic Brooklyn moment.
I have also said that if I were to construct my own house I might build a room with the interior exactly matching that of a subway car. I could even make it so it rocks a little bit. Get it a little dingy, hire people to mosey in and out and play their music. Maybe a couple crazies. Put up my favorite ads on the walls. I love the subway. It's a universe of its own. I fought against getting too nostalgic in the last week just because I felt like leaving a place shouldn't suddenly make me care about everything more but it kind of does. And as I sat there on the train I sort of wanted to hug everyone on the car with me. I bet if i'd told them i was moving they would have let me do it. Sean and I went out to a concert and so were on the train late which is always a special thing.
Here am I thinking about this possibly being my last subway ride:
It wasn't my last ride though because Julian and I went into the city just to see what to do. But before we did he hopped on this bike:
Next we headed to Bryant Park where they do concerts and fashion shows and play ping pong and juggle on your lunch break. First we got some sandwiches and watched the crowd. Then we rode the carousel:
We sat in the park, listening to the random musicians and looking around at the buildings surrounding us. It all felt very city-y and fun.
The journey home was hot, sticky, and arduous and therefore, typical. We walked and walked and sat and waited and waited and sweated. Julian checked the subway map, which i love, and i just love watching him be a city boy:
During that last week, I felt this need to engage in activities that I have come to royally hate about living in the city, but i have a feeling are things i'm going to painfully miss one day. That weird city yin/yang that is its heartbeat. So many moments of my city life have been in extremes in specific ways. The blasted winter/summer weather, the annoying, suffocating and constant masses of people who you have magical interactions with that make you feel alive. One thing about it is the physical aspect. How everything is harder than you feel like it ought to be. Getting groceries, running errands. These things take all day. The getting from A to B. How much time it takes. All of the pains and possible events in-between. How you forget about that until you visit elsewhere and you realize people have cushy nerf lives and you go back and forth debating whether you're a sucker or a warrior.
If I were to write a book about this topic it would be New York: The Agony and the Ecstasy. Chapter One: Parking. The agony of finding a spot and the ecstasy of finding one (because of the agony). But with all of those physical things, I get my exercise. I almost guaranteed sweat, daily, in the summer. Like a complete body sweat. Not just a little perspiration, and ooh i need a fan. More like, graaaghhhh get me home so i can peel off my clothes and drape over the AC. No matter what i'm doing. I'm hefting and hoisting and holding and carrying and trudging and pulling. So for that last week I had this weird and almost sick desire to make everything EXTRA hard, so that I would especially remember it when that is my life no more, and also appreciate that change. We took the wagon out almost wherever we went and I knew that soon that way of living would vanish:
Getting some groceries. Yes, we took the wagon in the tiny Met Foods and shopped with it. Love the wagon.
A pre-shopping ribbon dance:
Since people are always leaving this town, there are often goodbye parties and farewells and whatnot. Not quite my style, I tried to say goodbye in my own way. First, by not telling anyone and then having a Science in the Park gathering. I like to have my secrets for a little while. And with this particular secret, it made me free to love everyone just a little bit more, with them being none the wiser.
This project was elephant toothpaste, a total hit. Love it.
For two friends sharing close birthdays, we had a softball game in the park. This was the best idea ever. We had been talking about it for the LONGEST time and finally put it together. The birthday kids had t-shirts, we had ice cream cakes, hot dogs, popsicles, and every good thing. I was assigned to play first base and since the last time i had played was probably during this time of my life, I also got extremely nervous in a silly, giddy, competitive sport way. Fortunately I didn't have to throw much but I did make one sweet catch. Julian was brambling* around me, oblivious to the dangers of the game, and someone got a hit. The third baseman got it and threw it to me. With my right hand to the side blocking the boy, i swooped and made the catch with my left and it was awesome! I wanted to leave right then-- you know, to end on a high note, but it was too much fun so I stuck around.
Me and Suvi:
Happy birthday, Paul and Suzie.
Apparently Sean was hating it. J/k, but what with the face, man?
You know how kids have phases of camera smiles? I feel like they do. And these days I am laughing at Julian's totally fake smile. It's sincere but man it's funny since i only see it when the camera's out.
Sunday, two days before Julian and I were to leave, we had our last parknic. Suvi and Paul got us a book on Prospect Park for Christmas and i have been reading it since then. Now, I am cherishing it. What a treasure. The park is the heart of the Brooklyn and we have just spent so much time there. This parknic was great. Another family was moving to Utah so we celebrated that AND Suzie's actual birthday, all of us taking turns stealing each other's thunder.
On the way home we took pictures of a few things in the 'hood that have been around since we arrived in the fall of 2003. Not many shops are still around but a few.
A view of Grand Army Plaza
Note to self: Take pictures at this time of night, always.
Aforementioned Met Foods, neighborhood grocer
Ample Hills, the #1 ice cream place in the city. It's new'ish but a neighborhood jewel.
Wilkinson Mailbox, a mail place that we never visit anymore but it's just been around since the dawn. Sean and I went for a walk up our street a couple of years ago counting all the shops that had changed since we arrived almost 11 years ago and counted somewhere around 40, some of them multiple times. FORTY. And that was two years ago.
Evelyn Limo, the car service place we used many, many times.
Lastly, to round off the week and our Brooklyn life, the perfect send-off. I'll show you the video first and explain after. Wishing Suzie the happiest of birthdays:
Long ago, and long forgotten about, I had pie-in-face dreams. It's just something everyone wants to do, right? Throw a pie in someone's face? Even get pied? Suzie and I discussed this at length and she shared the same feelings. I had no idea, NO IDEA what was coming to me. It was everything I'd dreamed it would be. As i said, the perfect send-off, and perfect birthday present. Notice how i completely forgot about the baby i was holding, given to me as a prop so as to prevent my arms from automatically flying up to shield my face. He was a tiny casualty and I'm sorry Alvar. He was ok in the end, thankfully. Poor Quincy couldn't grapple with why anyone would waste a perfectly good dessert which was a homemade pudding pie and delicious.
It takes a special kind of friend to throw a pie in your face. <3 nbsp="" p="">
So here we are, back to where we started from. 11 years ago in late August, Sean and I got engaged and the next day I went to Lake Powell while he flew to NYC. We spent our 6-week engagement apart, me here doing wedding-y things and he starting school and putting our life together. I shipped him boxes, he found an apartment. He furnished it. I wrote to him. Now, at the end of all NY things, we're doing it all again but this time in reverse, except now we have a Julian who will be the one starting school soon. We are here, and Sean is still there for 6 weeks total, finishing up work and slowly taking down all that he put up. Because he is a champion. Selling, giving, cleaning, packing it up and driving west to join us. We realized he's departing just about on THE day marking the 11th anniversary since he flew east. This funny realization is so meaningful to us. And we are here waiting, biding our time, for him to arrive and our new real life can begin.3>