In flux. I like the way it sounds. I’m not sure I like the way it feels. For over two weeks now, we’ve been in the process of moving, splitting our time, our belongings, and our allegiances between two homes five hours apart. While most of this time has been physically spent in Seattle, nearly every spare minute has been consumed with tasks that need to be completed in order to move to the Methow. And mentally, we’re already there, if not 100% than at least 90%, picturing ourselves in our new rental house, discussing the logistics of the move and our new life, and answering countless questions from friends and family about what everything looks like and how everything works “out there.”
It’s been over 6 years since our last move, and over 9 years since our last big move, from New York to Seattle, and I’d forgotten how much there is to do. Stuff to pack, for sure; lots of it. Accounts to open and close. Places to notify of our address change (credit cards companies! magazines! auto insurance! And so. many. others.). Furniture to sell, and new (used) furniture to buy. In our case, there are also various random things to check off the list before leaving that are likely to be more of a challenge in the Methow, like put new heels on a pair of boots (me), try get a broken laptop screen replaced, and get a haircut (me again).
And, of course, there are people to see before we leave, people we’d like to spend some time with while we are still around and say good-bye to. Last weekend, we set a bunch of snacks out on the kitchen table and invited friends, neighbors and my co-workers to drop by. Many of the people we had gotten to know over the past 9 years were able to come, and while we’re not sure when we will see some of them again, somehow there wasn’t that sense of finality.
Mostly it’s because we are not really making a clean break, leaving one life behind and starting a completely different one, the way we did when we moved from New York to Seattle. I will be back in Seattle once a month for my job, possibly even more frequently, so it doesn’t feel like we are leaving “for good.” (Funny tangential story here: When I first moved to the U.S. as a 12-year-old, I didn’t know that the expression “for good” means “permanently.” When a new classmate asked me if we moved to America “for good,” I indignantly replied, “Of course!”, appalled that she could have suspected my father and me of having some evil designs.)
I’m actually not sure how I feel about these monthly back-and-forth trips. Certainly it will be nice to have regular access to all that Seattle has to offer, from shops to restaurants to art and music and film. However, I worry that these monthly “escapes” will delay our acculturation to Methow-style living. What if it’s too tempting to continue our current shopping habits, for example, stocking up on longtime Trader Joe’s favorites on every trip to the city? Nothing wrong with tossing a dozen packages of Thai rice noodle soup or a few hunks of Cambozola cheese into the back seat of the car before heading back to the valley, but I really do want the contents of our dinner plates to reflect whatever is locally available in the Methow plus whatever we can grow ourselves, instead of falling back on old city standbys.
It’s not just about the food, of course. It’s also about feeling like we can’t ever leave the city behind, like we will never fully settle into our new life and to some extent will always be, as we currently are, in flux. Not that I don’t want to ever come back to the city; I know I do. I want to be able to catch a movie at SIFF, visit friends, and take walks around Pike/Pine, or down Queen Anne Avenue, or along the waterfront. I just don’t want to live in constant anticipation of these trips. I want the best things about my life to be about the Methow, not about Seattle.
If things work out for us in the Methow, this will probably happen naturally. I am hoping for some sort of balance where I feel firmly rooted in the Methow while at the same time enjoying occasional trips to Seattle – without missing it when it’s gone from the rear-view mirror. And eventually, I will probably find work locally, eliminating the need for the monthly Seattle visits. Who knows, I might even miss them some day. For now, though, I am eager to get started with this next phase of my life and to immerse myself in it as fully as possible. I’ve waited for this for so long.