Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I'm Ba-a-a-ck!

Actually, I would have been back yesterday, but I guess Blogger decided to punish me for my long absence or something and wouldn't let me log onto its site. Anyway, what better way for the Queen o’ Memes finally to crash back on the scene than with a meme? As a matter of fact, this very well may be a week of memes, since they certainly do pile up when one disappears from the blogosphere for a month or so, don’t they? I know I've been tagged for at least one by Charlotte. This one is my own, though, and is, surprise, surprise:

The Moving Meme

Rules: 8 questions. Answer them. Tag others.

1. What was your most memorable moving experience?

On New Year’s Eve 1978 and into New Year’s Day 1979, my family (except Forsyth, who was in college) moved from North Carolina to Kent, England. We left Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C., where it was unseasonably warm, we kids all embarrassed to no-end because our mother was wearing her Eskimo-like snow boots, which wouldn’t fit in one of the eight over-stuffed suitcases we were lugging. We arrived at Heathrow Airport where everything was at a massive standstill due to a rare, huge snowstorm. The buses were running very irregularly, and we had to lug all our carry-on bags and our suitcases, which were piled high on carts, through the slushy, icy streets of London to get to a bus stop to catch a bus to the hotel where we’d be spending the night until the trains (which weren’t running) were back on schedule, and we could get out to the village that would be our home that year. The suitcases took great glee in leaping off the cart into the middle of the street at every opportunity, sending my father into a hopping-up-and-down sort of rage. I was carrying two extremely heavy canvas bags that I think housed my parents entire booze supply for the year or something. All I know is that my arms began to scream in agony from the weight, and I couldn’t decide whether I should attend to them or my toes, which I was convinced were frost-bitten, since I couldn’t feel them due to the fact that all I had on to protect them from the bitter cold was a pair of (very-fashionable-at-the-time-although-not-in-England-as-I-would-soon-discover-at-my-new-school) topsiders. We stood around at the bus stop, shivering some more and eagerly awaited what we thought would be a nice warm bus. When it emerged on the scene, mere decade later, we found its heater wasn't working. Needless to say, we were all ready to kill my mother for her boots. Later that evening, my brother and I locked ourselves out of our warm, cozy hotel room. Not an auspicious beginning, but no matter. It turned out to be the best of my teenaged years.

2. Have you ever made a move you regretted?

At the end of my first year living in Connecticut, one of my roommates announced she was moving back to Minnesota, where she’d gone to school, and my other roommate-turned-boyfriend and I moved into an apartment in a house that had been on the market for over a year without selling. The owners were looking to sell to someone who would keep it as a rental property, so we thought we were safe. Within two months, he was cheating on me, and the house was sold to someone who didn’t want to keep it as a rental property, and we were forced to move again (to separate places, obviously. Thank God really. I would've had to break the lease otherwise in order to move away from him). I should have broken up with him before we moved there, and I learned my lesson: don’t move into an apartment in a house that’s for sale.

3. If money/work/significant other/family were no object, and you could move anywhere right now, where would you move?

Absolutely no question: Manhattan. To be exact: a nice large place on Riverside Drive with a view of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge. Conveniently, I’m basically already all packed. Anyone want to donate the $1-$2M it would probably cost? Actually, I need about $4M, because I also want to purchase my second home on the water in Southwest Harbor, ME.

4. How many times have you moved in your life?

I spent the first 18 years of my life in the same house, with the exception of a stint in Chapel Hill, NC, when I was an infant, and the aforementioned stint in England. From age 18 to 31, I was a serial mover, and lived in 11 different places (dorm rooms, apartments, houses, rooms in friends’ houses, etc.) before moving into the house in which I’ve lived for the past 12 years and now into my new home, where I hope to be for a very long time.

5. Is there anywhere you hope never to have to return to live?

Winston-Salem, NC, where I grew up. I love the house in which I was raised, and we had some wonderful family friends, and I have great memories of much of it, but the town itself was a difficult place to grow up: very conservative, not a place for eccentricity, a quality that my family has in abundance. A few years back, I read in some magazine a quote from Maya Angelou, who had been a writer-in-residence at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem for years, in which she basically praised the town to the hilt, going on about what a wonderful place it is. I sure do wish I’d been able to hang out with her and to discover her Winston, which sounds so different from mine.

6. What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of moving?

Trying to decide what’s “junk” and what’s really worth keeping. Don’t call friends and family members and ask questions like, “Should I keep all the playbills from every play I’ve seen over the past twenty years?” You’ll get as many “yes” answers as you get “no” answers, with as many different extremely valid reasons for each answer.

7. What do you find to be the most exciting aspect of moving?

It’s like New Year’s, isn’t it? A perfect, new beginning with all kinds of resolutions, like, “I’m going to be completely, totally organized in this new house.” “I’m going to read all magazines the week they arrive and immediately recycle them in the new house, so they don’t pile up to become fire hazards.” “I’m never going to buy any food that sits around in the pantry/fridge uneaten for weeks on end in the new house.” “I’m going to learn to make perfect pie crust, never let a smidgen of transfats enter my body, and stick to a rigorous, twice-daily exercise routine when I’m living in the new house.” “I’m never going to wear anything that I’d be ashamed to be seen wearing when I’m living in the new house.” “I’m going to be a nicer, kinder, less critical person in the new house.” “I’m going to look at my reflection in the mirror every day, and instead of finding faults, marvel at how lucky I am to be such a beautiful human being in the new house.” Well, you get the picture, right? It’s so exciting to think of the fantastic new person I’m going to become just because I’ve moved into a new house.

8. How have your ideas/thoughts about moving changed throughout your life?

When I was a kid, I wanted my parents to move into a house that had five bedrooms, so I could have my very own big bedroom. (We only had four bedrooms, which meant sisters sharing rooms.) I’m not quite sure why I wanted this, because it seems when I did have my own bedroom for a period, I spent every night sleeping in my brother’s room, since he had two beds in his room, and I only had one. I never wanted to move to a different town, though, or to have to switch schools. By the same token, I had wonderful fantasies about moving to a place where I had a best friend who lived right next door, the way it seemed many of the characters in the books I read had. We had woods right next door to our house on one side and a cranky old couple on the other side. When I was a young adult, moving was just a matter of course. Roommates came and went, rent increased, etc. necessitating moves, and then salaries increased, allowing more options. I always thought, though, that I’d be moving from place to place all over the world, which has never happened. I never dreamed I’d find myself living in Connecticut twenty years after I first arrived. Makes me wonder about Pennsylvania, where I don’t imagine being for twenty years, either.

That’s it. See your blog over there on my blogroll? Then consider yourself tagged for this meme.

P.S. For those of you interested in my nieces’ recovery, you can my sister's blog, where she's posted a couple of things since the accident. My youngest niece is having surgery on her back today and will pretty much have to be immobile for the next few months. Both nieces continue to amaze me with their strength, courage, and wonderful senses of humor.


Charlotte said...

Oh, I may have to succumb. The Queen has, after all, spoken.

Welcome to your new home! I hope that it is lovely, and that you are happy in it and that you live there for many years, until you retire to that big apartment in Manhattan.

My dream is to move to Berlin, live there for the European summer months, and live in Cape Town for the African summer months. Summer all year long in my two favourite cities.

Glad to hear the good news about Forsyth's girls.

Anonymous said...

Fewer than 20 moves? Amateur. I counted 39, and I think I might have missed one or two.

Rebecca H. said...

I'm glad you're all moved and I hope the settling in goes fast! I so agree with you about Manhattan -- I'd be there too if I could, and I also like the summer place ...

Emily Barton said...

Charlotte, and the Queen won't be very happy if no one succumbs...

Hobs, I see you've already taken your orders from the Queen.

Dorr, so why don't we buy the two places together and then swap off: one month here, one month there...