At the end of September I realized that we’ve been in Michigan for two months now and while that doesn’t feel like very much time in some respects, it feels like an eternity since we left New York. Things feel so different now than they did in the beginning.
When we first arrived, the countdown to getting into our own home felt impossibly long, and now we’re just five days from closing. For the last week or so I’ve been doing all of the new homeowner things which, in practice, involve waiting on hold for an agent and standing in line at city hall, but have honestly felt somewhat thrilling. Driving home after switching the water service into our name the other day, I looked around me and felt SO good about being able to call Kalamazoo ours. All of the wonderful, charming things about this town, along with all of the frustrating things and all of the boring or regressive things that make me miss New York, it’s still all ours; it’s our home now, and we feel more committed to it and proud of that than I ever could have imagined. If anyone had asked me a year ago if I was sure that we would feel certain about this decision being right this quickly, I would have crumbled with uncertainty and indecision. When we chose Kalamazoo we knew that intellectually it was the right move right now, but we weren’t at all sure that the emotion would follow as quickly. But on so many occasions in the last couple of weeks, even Kristin (who was far less sure than I was) has said to me “I’m so glad that we moved here.”
The kids seem so happy in their new school. Jonah tells me every morning that he’s glad that it’s a school day. K and I love all of the teachers there, and they truly seem to care for our kids and enjoy having them there. I worried so much about what a “big” center would be like, and that it might be impersonal with a rotating cast of staff, but some of these teachers have been there for twenty years, and a couple of the people who founded it forty years ago are still involved. I love dropping the kids off each morning, something I rarely got to do in New York, and I find myself lingering a bit not because I’m concerned but because I like stealing a few extra glimpses of their school lives and chatting with their teachers. They really seem to be blooming with so many new experiences and opportunities throughout each day. The school really puts an emphasis on independence, and we’re seeing that in the kids.
I’m adjusting surprisingly well to working from home full-time. I miss my colleagues tremendously, but it’s not as lonely as I’d worried it would be. I do miss our friends a great deal, and I think that’s probably going to show up even more once we finally move into our own house since we’ve imagined what it will be like to have friends over in a space that’s large enough to do so. I suppose friendships are the one area of my life that I’ve neglected almost completely over the last couple of months. We’ve seen one set of friends exactly once, and another set twice, and I think that’s it. We’ve just done so little reaching out. Kristin has made some effort to make new friends, but I’ve been dragging my feet and we’ve fought about it on at least one occasion. I guess I just miss my New York friends; I didn’t have to overthink everything when I was with them, I was comfortable and knew what to expect and it was easy and joyful. With new people I’m either disinterested or socially anxious, and it takes me forever to get to that effortless hangout place. I prefer to make friends accidentally, organically, but of course that’s impossible when you work from home and are terrible at making an effort. I’m sure that some part of this is also because we’re not in our own home, so inviting people over isn’t really a thing right now.
There are many more things on my getting-settled wish list that are still unfinished (most of them not yet begun) but I’m feeling rather hopeful about where things are headed.