Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Following In Scarlett's Footsteps

My mom arrived at my apartment this morning at 7 am after taking the red-eye from Bean's (the technical genius behind this blog) place in Utah. Two weeks ago, my mom single-handedly packed up her entire house in Savannah, Georgia and moved all of her belongings to Houston, Texas. It was a damn impressive feat. Unfortunately, as her house in Houston won't be ready until May, my mom had to put all of her belongings in storage. She's going to be living out of several large suitcases for the next two months, bobbing between my brothers', bean's, and my place before her house is ready. Being forced to hobo it out on the road isn't ideal, but it's nice for us kids because we get the opportunity to spend some quality time with her. One-on-one time is quite different than the normal holiday crazyness when all 4 of us + significant others are around stuffing our faces with sweet potatoes or ripping open Christmas presents. That's great, and I wouldn't trade those times for anything, but it's still special to have some time with her just for me.

At first I didn't hear her knocking this morning because I was completely zonked out. This week has been draining at work, and I still haven't recovered from staying up until 4 am on Monday night reasearching. After knocking a few times, my mom smartly called my cell phone. I woke up and let her in, gave her a hug, noted that she has become a full on uberbabe skinny minny due to the South Beach Diet and her amazing self-discipline, and stumbled back into bed. She climbed over the boxes and piles of things scattered about my in-the-midst-of-being-packed apartment and crawled into the other side of the bed. We groggily chatted between yawns for about 20 minutes, before we both fell asleep. I went to sleep thinking how nice it was that she was here.

Since I moved out of my house to go to college 13 years ago, I have generally only seen my family on summer vacations (when I had them), during the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays, and on other random occasions. This past year and a half, since I moved to New York - a place where I have felt very alone for most of my time here - I have spent a good deal of time thinking about how far away my family is and wishing that I was closer to them. During this past year, my mom has been living in Savannah, my brothers, Dad, and Stepmom in Houston, and my little sister in Utah. All of us have been far away from each other and sometimes, when I was lonely, it seemed so silly. For example, there was one afternoon where my brother, mom, and I all went to see the same movie on our own. We text messaged one another prior to the movie and then after to share our thoughts on it. Doing so made me feel connected to them and less alone, but it was no replacement to actually seeing them and spending time together.

Three months ago, when the large case I was on finally quieted down enough for me to breathe normally again, I started seriously looking for jobs. Faced with the decision about where to look, I contemplated Houston, as there is now a critical mass of my family members either living their or in transit to living there. It was strange to find myself thinking seriously about the possiblity of moving to Houston. All through law school, I had only one city in mind to move to from Michigan: New York. Every other city paled in comparison and I couldn't imagine living anywhere else, certainly not the traffic-choked, strip mall covered, Bush-infested, urban sprawl of Houston!! Puh-lease!

Since moving to New York, I have confirmed that it is fact one of the greatest cities in the world. I love it here. Or rather, I should say, I love New York, and I love all the opportunities here, the energy, the people from all different places, the languages all around you, the fact that I can walk anywhere I want to or need to go, and the sense that everything anyone could possibly desire or wish to experience could be found here if you took the time to look. Except for mountains, trees (Central Park is still just a park), and front porches, New York has pretty much everything I would want in a city. However, I discovered to my complete surprise this year that that wasn't enough.

I realized that living in a fantastic city when your community of friends and family is far away, can seem less than fantastic. It was hard for me this past year when I would go on my aimless wanderings around the city on the weekends. I would eat in a cute little restaurant or find a shop I liked or visit a museum that was wonderful. Weekend after weekend (when I was not working or too tired from work) I would wander about, with only myself to enjoy everything with. I think I'm great and all, and I generally have an impressive ability to keep myself entertained, but even I have limits to how much of just me I can take. There were many days where I wished I had someone around with whom to share this city.

So after a year of this, I find myself having done a complete 180, and would now actually consider moving to Houston to be near my family. The radical shift in my thinking still shocks me. It's funny though how life works, because just as I reached the point of realizing that I had been too far away from my family for too long, something happened to make me stay in New York, at least for the immediate future. Raj came back into my life. Three months after we got back together, we decided to move in together, and now my thinking has shifted even more to the point where I found myself the other day asking Raj whether he would ever consider moving to Houston with me. He said he would consider it. He then asked me if I would ever consider moving to Detroit (where his parents live). Ouch. I said I would consider it, and then promptly decided that we didn't need to worry about those things just yet. Those things, we could think about tomorrow. How in God's name do couples figure out those big life decisions?


Miss Nibbles said...

Well, I don't know how couples decide things.

But I decided to stay in the town where we met, fortunately, it's the same town my parents live in...

Miss Nibbles

Bean said...

We have stayed in Utah b/c Tex's job and family. I hope we all end up moving to Houston...I have already begun (1 1/2 yrs ago) working on Tex to move, and frankly I think it will work him being a "texan" and all.

Dutch said...

there are lots of direct flights from DTW to Houston!

plus adorable babies in Detroit, who want to be friends with adorable half-indian/half-giantess babies in detroit.

did I just make "Raj" sweat?

Pas said...

Exciting ... that you're having that conversation. Though I would prefer that you both stay in NYC, where I'm more likely to visit and you're more likely to want to escape.

I'm having similar conversations with mine ... he's drawn toward smaller towns near mountains and I want to live out my Brooklyn fantasy. Both of us could probabaly work from home ... maybe there'll be another factor to determine our move.

Prue said...

I cannot pass without commenting on your oh-so-poetic description of Houston. Yes, it has strip malls and traffic (without the incessant honking of NYC, mind you)and some Bush/Cheney bumperstickers. But it also has so much more!

(1) Chloe - Yes, that designer you're crazy about from Project Runway has a shop in Houston.
(2) Friendliest people you'll ever meet.
(3) Affordable houses in great, centrally located neighborhoods with front yards and back yards and more than one bathroom.
(4) The Houston Astros!
(5) The upside of Republicans: They are people you can actually have a lively political debate with. You can have an exchange of different ideas with them, instead of just parroting the same thoughts back and forth.

There are so many more but I can't take the time to list them all here. Sure, it isn't NYC, but no other place in the world is. Houston is a fantastic city with great people, a really big heart, and a welcoming spirit. I mean, 2/3 of your family can't be wrong, can they?

Wood said...

Say hi to your mom for me. I loved picturing you guys talking in your bed before falling asleep.

Decisions on where to move are hard. Dutch and I are lucky that our families are in the same state. I think it's great that you're considering Houston, but c'mon -- what about a critical mass of friends in Detroit (chicago is close enough to count)?

Buttercup said...

Wood and Dutch, who knows how long you'll be in D-Town? Prue, thanks for pointing out the postives about Houston. I have now come around to seeing it's positives. But what's this I hear about having lively debates with Republicans? Ewwww.

Tracy said...

Girlfriend, I feel your pain in your predicament! I lived in NYC for three years before moving back to Houston to be close to my family. (I'm in LA now). I know exactly what you mean. NYC is a wonderful place and the hardest place ever all at once. And the fact that nearly everyone there is from somewhere else, it makes the relationship thing particularly tricky, since (let's be honest) most people who move to NYC eventually leave it for one reason or another. That leaves couples in the tough predicament of "where do we go from here?". Keep us posted on your decision!!!