Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Having to move house so quickly and unexpectedly has made me feel as if we are beginning a second chapter of life in the US. If we return to England in two summers' time as planned, our time here will have been divided neatly into half by the two houses (with slightly longer in the old house).
Despite the traumatic events of the past weeks, I don't think the moving itself was as bad as when we initially moved here from London. At least I know where everything is now and how it works - from Ikea to the post office - and I had friends who could take the Littleboys off our hands during the moving day. Never mind that we were basically just throwing our belongings into bin bags, and relying on a couple of friends to help us ferry stuff down to the new house (plus some random tree removal guys who we offered cash-in-hand to help carry our furniture out and put it in their pickup trucks. Only in America).
We're now pretty much unpacked and can start enjoying the new house. We have more space, a far posher kitchen (it has a wine refrigerator. Let me just say that again. A Wine Refrigerator!) and best of all, a beautiful view from our bedroom window (see above). In the morning, the sun shines on the boats in the harbour creating a beautiful rosy light, and in the evening, there are spectacular sunsets. If you look closely at night you can see the spire of the Empire State building with its red blinking light. And, although I miss the wooded vistas of our old place, quite honestly I am done with trees now and all they entail.
Chapter Two also involves being a mother of two boys in elementary school. Every morning, off they go on the bus, with their L.L. Bean satchels and new Angry Birds lunchboxes (I gave in to the nagging for these in a fit of sympathy for them after the house disaster). I settle down to my work, and they come back at 3.30, in a flurry of homework, letters and flyers, half eaten containers of lunch and random drawings, all of which I have to unpack before hurrying them off to some after-school activity or playdate. Remembering which boy needs lunch money/school trip permission slip/library book to be returned is a fine art, which I am already discovering requires military-style organisational skills.
There's a weird sense of deja vu this year, as Littleboy 2 is now in the same kindergarten class with the same teacher that his brother had last year. Despite being the youngest in the entire school ((he was allowed special dispensation to start, although his birthdate fell short of the starting cut off date by a week) he seems to be holding his own, and is very pleased to have found himself in the same class as his best friend from preschool.
Meanwhile Littleboy 1 is adapting to the rigours of 'first grade', with a sheet of homework every night and a no-nonsense teacher who write their names on the board and leaves them there overnight if they misbehave. (Yes, we found out about that one pretty early on). He retains his manic enthusiasm for almost everything, and has recently decided he wants to be a scientist.
It's all quite different from when we first arrived and I had two little English boys in preschool, one still very much a toddler. They still eat their Weetabix for breakfast, and talk about 'trousers', but they are more and more like little Americans now. The Littleboys are very much aware that they are 'going back to England' in a couple of years, but in reality they have no idea what that will be like. Thus beginneth Chapter Two.