Well, here we are. Here we are in Shady Side, Maryland, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, in a house that my parents are very kindly letting us habitate until we grow up and buy a house of our own in Connecticut. As I type this (at the computer we set up on a perfectly good desk we just happened to find on the side of the road just minutes after we'd said, "You know what we need? A desk") I'm looking out over the water. The seagulls are flying all around the pier, no doubt pooping all over the place and dropping fish remains everywhere for us to find when we go down there later to relax, but honestly, it's all part of the fun.
And it is very fun.
J and I arrived here on Saturday after three days of pretty intense moving - from Chapel Hill to the Bay, where we dropped over the things we'll want this fall - from the Bay to Orange, CT, where we dropped off everything else we own in (how I love them for this) J's parents' garage - and then back to the Bay where we met up commenced a lovely Labor Day celebration with friends who were in town, my brother included. My parents and some of their friends joined us Monday when we all put our best culinary talents into grilling burgers, sausages and corn, frying zucchini and, in my case, putting out some cheese and crackers.
The weekend was a great end (or I suppose you could look at it as a beginning) to the moving process, which, really, when consider the stress involved, spanned at least a month if not more.
I feel bad complaining about the physical strain of it because I didn't really do that much of the hard work. I packed a lot of boxes, sure, and toted around those that I had the strength to carry, but the real credit goes to others, like our friends Mike and Nate who packed our belongings (and I swear to you, every box was either marked "books" and weighed about 5,000 pounds, or was marked "fragile!" and contained wedding china and crystal stemware we've never used) like jigsaw pieces into the U-Haul the night before we left North Carolina, ensuring nothing would budge. Once we got to Connecticut, J and his father worked nonstop getting our stuff organized in the garage while I, like, picked up a lamp every now and then and said something totally non-helpful, such as, "Hey...what do you think I should do with this...?"
But this weekend it was all a thing of the past, it was all worth it if only to be able to hang out and celebrate with our friends and family. We ate crabs. We drank Budweisers on a "floating bar" in a nearby boating town. We threw sticks for the dogs in the water until they could barely muster the energy to swim anymore. We laid in bed in the morning after staying up too late and yelled for someone, anyone to please, "make some coffee!" We talked about how we were absolutely, definitely NOT going to go skinny dipping in the Bay, not after that last time where the following morning we saw all those dead horseshoe crabs and fish lying on the beach and realized what we'd been swimming in...and this time we kept our promise.
Now, it's just the two of us - although we're encouraging visits from friends as much as possible - beginning this intermediary time in our lives. Looking for a house, and in my case, potentially a job unless I want to keep up this freelance business, which, you know, we'll see. This, I suppose, is a good time to figure it all out.
I think people are really getting sick of me talking about how emotional and difficult it was for me moving away from North Carolina and all the friends who live there so I'm going to try and keep that to a minimum, but I will say, just for reference, that I've never experienced anything quite like it. Driving down Chapel Hill streets, I'd start to cry - out of nowhere! The thing is, it wasn't out of nowhere if I thought about it, nor was it a complicated feeling. I simply knew how much I was going to miss living there, and all my friends, so much.
In fact, on our last day in the cinderblock cottage on Barclay Road (a day which J dubbed at one point "the worst day of his life," which believe me, was an exaggeration, but...stuffing those last few boxes in the truck, trying to finagle all the overflowing trash bags into our one measly bin, all in the blazing heat...it kind of felt like it) I went out to get us each a Gatorade, before we died or killed one another, at a local gas station and when I stepped inside the shop I noticed this older, kind of heavy guy, looking at all the soft drinks, talking to himself softly about which kind of soda (Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper) he should get, how could he possibly know with so many to choose from? And you could just kind of tell his wife, or someone, was on him about his calorie intake, and when I walked over to get our drinks he smiled and said hello to me, because, you know, while it's not a universal truth, people generally are very friendly down there in the south, and I got a little teary eyed right then and there thinking about this nice, cute this older guy, and how much I'd miss people like him when we moved. That's the kind of state I was in.
Luckily, as I'd predicted, after one last good crying spell on the way out of town down Highway 15-501, driving behind J who was in the U-Haul, I sighed and began to get over it. Not because it wasn't sad for me, certainly not that, but we on our way to the next great adventure, so to speak.
There's a lot to get excited about, minor things included. Like when we left the New Haven area early Saturday morning to drive back here and stopped a a Dunkin Donuts just minutes from J's parents' house because, you know, there are Dunkin Donuts everywhere up north. Unlike in North Carolina, I used to have my pick of many when I lived in Boston. I drank my big coffee (with milk and tons of sugar) slowly as we drove south through Connecticut as J, my own personal tourguide of my soon-to-be new home state, explained things to me.
"And what city is this?"
"This is Bridgeport."
"Oh. And is Bridgeport known for anything?"
"Crime. Don't ever go to Bridgeport."
See, there is a whole lot out there to explore, and not explore, but whatever, I have a very good feeling about it all.