Have you ever been in an awkward situation where you're just too swamped to have an important conversation with someone - maybe you've neglected to share some news - and all of the sudden, you realize, you'd better get the word out? Such is the situation I find myself in.
I have a friend from high school who recently posted this on Facebook: "Advice needed: how do we tell our family and friends that we're pregnant with twins?"
Well, that's a good a way as any! Just get it out there. No, no, don't get any ideas. I don't have a bun in the oven.
We are, on the other hand, leaving Vermont.
Shocking, but true.
Last summer, Kevin was offered a contract at the place he'd been teaching that stipulated additional work...for less pay than he'd been making. Rather disheartening. Long story short, he turned down the offer and has been busy for months exploring other options. Those efforts finally paid off with a lovely job offer...in Connecticut.
My goodness, how time flies. He got the phone call a month ago, yesterday. We immediately drove down to have a look to see how Princess Groundy Pants (that's me) would like it. I've lived in Connecticut before, but a different area - the shoreline - this is upstate, rural, an area as full of meadows and stone walls as here, surprisingly. Princess Groundy Pants approved.
We went back down a couple of weeks later to scout out places to live, and found a house to rent just a couple of miles down a dirt road from where he'll be working. We talked things over with our Current Favorite Cat Sitters, who, it turns out, are looking for new living accommodations - so they're going to rent our house. (There is no way we're selling this place. It's Home.) The nice folks where I work say I can continue to do my thing, working from home, just from a couple of hours farther away.
Kevin starts in the beginning of March.
So, if you knew you were going to be moving in a few weeks, what would you do? Start packing, I suppose?
Naw. Why not go on vacation, while you can? Better yet, why not go on vacation nearly half a world away, to Africa? Yep: on Sunday (Sunday?! How is that possible?) we head out from NYC to Nairobi - a day and a half there, and then it's on to the island of Lamu for about a week. There is a fuzzy bit that happens then - it depends on whether or not some friends in Mombasa are there; if they are, we'll go see them. After that, we hop on a bus to Tanzania and visit our friends there. And then back on the bus to Nairobi, give Princess Groundy Pants a day for her soul to catch up, and fly home.
From the moment Kevin turned down that contract, I knew this was coming. I knew the chances were unlikely that he would find a job in his field in this immediate area. I knew we'd have to move.
Many years ago, my grandparents designed and built a house on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. For many a summer, my aunts and uncles and cousins would get together and have a great time playing on the beach for a couple of weeks. My grandparents eventually sold the house. Years later, my mother and siblings and I started a new tradition of visiting Hilton Head every other year or so, and recently, we've been fortunate to be able to rent the very house my grandparents built. A few weeks after Kevin starts his job, my entire extended family is converging on the island for a reunion and celebration of my grandmother's life (she died this past August.) One branch of the family is renting that same house, and I'm sure we'll have a great time hanging out, reliving old memories and creating new ones.
I mention this because in the heady days leading up to that fateful phone call a month ago, when we were pretty sure he was going to get an offer, I would stand out in our woods, looking at our house through the trees, and think about this place. How much I love it. How much I've loved sharing all the wee little goings on around here - the formation of ice crystals in the stream, the dragonfly eating a hapless nymph, the first appearance of each wildflower each spring. This property - Dave - is where I finally let myself ground. What would it feel like to have to leave it?
What finally gave me peace about the prospect of leaving was realizing how I feel about the house on Hilton Head. Does it bother me that other people now own it? That other people stay in it? Not a bit. In fact, it pleases me. It pleases me to no end to know that the place I cherish above all others brings joy and delight to others as well. The same will be true of this property and this house.
And I assure you: there are delights to be explored and shared everywhere. I'm not done photographing flowers' naughty bits. I'm sure there will be magical things to see in Connecticut; I seem to have a knack for noticing them wherever I go.
In the meantime...there is so much to do. There is packing for this trip. There is packing for the move. In this moment, my body is coping with a yellow fever booster shot, typhoid fever vaccination pills and the beginning of anti-malaria medication. A three-fer of pharmacological delight! Pass the chocolate.
I spent yesterday driving around in a snowstorm - something I usually avoid at all costs - running errands. I decided to spring for a keyboard to go with my iPad. And a wireless plan for the month we're gone (this iPad is the kind that can use a cell signal). And I've just spent the evening driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to create blog posts on it. (In fact, if you get my posts in email or in Google Reader, I'm afraid I've bored you with a couple of test posts already - sorry!)
All this, and no pictures.
Well, here are some pictures from this time, last year: some flowers growing in the front lawn of our friends Allison and Steve, the ones who let us camp out in their back bedroom for ten whole days. Man, we owe those guys, wouldn't you say? (Did I mention they live on Kauai?)
That's all for now, folks. Buckle your seat belts, it's going to be an interesting ride!