Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Chapter Two


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.

12 comments:

Tanya (Bump2Basics) said...

I've just caught up on your crazy whirlwind of late and am so glad you are all okay. I did think of you during the hurricane but then remembered that you were in Canada and "would miss out on all the action." So much for that. I heard of power cuts and trees falling and various little inconveniences but this was mammoth and I'm so pleased you all received support, frienship and wine while you put everything back together. I hope this is the start of a fab new chapter, and in a strange way, I guess it really shows the support network you have grown since moving to LI. Will be thinking of you settling in, keep that wine fridge well stocked!!

MsCaroline said...

The new house sounds absolutely lovely (jealous of the wine fridge and even more so of that gorgeous view!) and I'm so glad you're settling in well. I hope this 2nd half of the sojourn has a slightly less dramatic ending than the first!

Expat mum said...

Wine fridge? Wine Fridge? Bloody hell -there's posh for you! Hope you got everything out that you needed. Being a tad few years older than you (and thus, able to pontificate like an old person) this is but one of the trials and tribulations you'll experience in "grown-up life" and you'll get through them all!

Home Office Mum said...

stop it. You'll have me contemplating moving again. Probably the mention of boats that did it. Glad the move has gone ok though

Nota Bene said...

That is a gorgeous view...how lucky you are to have turned mis-fortune round!

A Confused Take That Fan said...

What a view! A bit different to the Northcote Road (where I am going for an event next week btw! I will take a picture for you ;)) I nearly had tears in my eyes reading this, I don't know why, maybe because it's all worked out so well, like the tree thing sent you in yet another direction. And also, my friend who moved to the US with toddlers and they are now both at school, I know that she is more than likely never going to come back. The boys are American now. I'm glad you are all settled two years down the line. You sound very content. xx

Knackered Mother said...

How exciting, looking forward to reading more of Chapter Two. Almost didn't get past the Wine Refrigerator, to be honest...

nappy valley girl said...

Tanya - thanks. Yes, there is a great support network here. One of my ex-neighbours already gave me a wine voucher as a housewarming present!

MsCaroline - so do I!

Expat Mum - I do hope so. This one has given me my first grey hair, though.

HOM - you would love the boats. Come and visit!

NB - yes, lots of lucky things in some ways, stemming from the first incident of very bad luck.

CTTF - say hello to the Northcote for me. I've just realised I haven't been in London for two years. That's crazy.

KM - I knew that would appeal..

Mud said...

So glad the move has worked out and the boys are enjoying school. ABout time for you to make use of that wine fridge and put your feet up for an evening!

wendy said...

It must be very hard adjusting to new country, new rules and new environment specially your babies. Well, all those will be set in time. For now, accept any changes you'll be adjusted very soon.

Paradise Lost In Translation said...

ah this all sounds lovely. You will find it very hard to return to the UK on so many levels...... I must say returning to our house in suburbia, in the UK, I feel very claustrophobic & really miss the view of mountains, lake & hillside vineyards we had & yet we were still very near town & amenities.

Iota said...

Glad you're keeping your trousers on for Chapter Two.