Tag Archives: moving

A New Normal

You know what’s weird to lack? A daily routine.

Most people have some variant of get up, go to work, come home, sleep with a bunch of little personal details. What they eat for breakfast, if they eat breakfast, do they eat with a spouse or on the way to work and etc. That sort of thing. We have routines from a young age starting with school and moving to work of some sort. They say that it’s good to break a routine every once in a while and it’s true. Too much of a thing, even if it’s a good thing, can be a bad thing. Change is good.

But not having a routine is a strange thing. You grasp for one that might not be there in an attempt to right yourself because not having one feels a little bit like a ship tipping over. Life last year didn’t allow for much of a routine. Now, truth is, I did that to myself. Nobody forced me to get on all those planes and to live in airport lounges, but I would have been desperately lonely had I not. Pro-tip: don’t spend the first year of your marriage in a country where you can only speak to your husband. We made it, but I’m not entirely certain how we did. In the end, disrupting my routine to the point that my routine was chaos was worth it, but it wasn’t easy and now I’m trying to remember how to build one again.

I don’t have work to go to, I don’t have school to go to yet, but I can’t exactly spend the day in bed. So what do you do when you have nothing to do? Let me tell you that while there is a small urge to clean everything in the very beginning it is small enough that I don’t actually get to clean everything and eventually I just end up bored. Being bored is no fucking fun. Having nothing to do is crazy-making. Remember that the next time when you’re talking to someone who is unemployed.

Turns out that building your own routine isn’t easy. I have no reminders or guidelines, I have no structure outside of Will leaving and coming home from work. I have email that I need to get to, but surely I can get to it later, right? I’m a procrastinator by nature. You don’t make a procrastinator their own boss for a good reason. Except now I am.

Thank ghod for Japan’s obsession with stationary. You couldn’t turn a corner in the town we lived in without running into a stationary store that had incredibly adorable pre-printed To-Do Lists. I have travel themed lists, cat themed lists, penguin themed lists and even book themed lists. And those lists are how I get things done around here. I had to bribe myself at first. Every time I got something done, I allowed myself to open a piece of mail from a friend or one of the Cards Against Humanity Bullshit items. But now I don’t need the bribes. The simple act of crossing through the list and getting to flip another page is enough motivation. I push myself to get my To-Do list done as soon as I can.

The real trick for me was to know what was reasonable to put on the list. If I put a bunch of small items on the list, it can seem like my list is longer than the Wall of China. If I put too massive of a job on my list, it feels like a boulder that I’ll never be able to work through. Learning to break up your tasks into manageable chunks is something you quickly learn in the real working world, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever get back to that world. Working through a list consisting of ‘Write letter to Brigid’ and ‘Call doctor’ can be annoying sometimes. It feels like I shouldn’t need a list to do those things. But when you’re sick, little things add up and become big things. While I’d rather my routine be filled with big things, right now I’ll settle for getting something done at all.

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In Limbo

Will and I are home. Sort of.

We’re in Kansas City until Monday, then Chicago for New Year’s, and we finally move back into our permanent residence in New York City on January 5th, 2015. Even though we’re not quite done yet, it feels like I’ve been able to release half a breath I didn’t realize I was holding so tightly. Of course with Christmas Day festivities I felt out of breath all over again. I loved every minute of it. This holiday season is going to be and already has been a blast.

Though being back has been wonderful and we were ready for our adventures to be put to rest, I found myself dragging my feet about leaving. No doubt that some of it was due to the actual packing process. It shouldn’t surprise anyone to find that I procrastinated as much as humanly possible and was still in fact, putting things into suitcase when the packers came to deal with everything that we weren’t taking with us on the road. It took the company only four hours to pack up everything we had brought with us and accumulated over the year. I was grateful that it was someone else packing our stuff instead of me, but having eleven people in my apartment, touching my things, when I didn’t speak enough of their language to communicate was a deeply uncomfortable situation. Living in a country where I wasn’t able to talk and be understood was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Our apartment had become my safe zone. I didn’t have to pidgin my way through conversation or emphatically gesture to be understood there. Even though it was my last day there, having that taken away, and in fact, having that be part of how we left was difficult. But, it had to be done. After they finished putting our things in boxes we went to our last dinner at my favorite yakiniku place (well, the only place I knew of…) a short train ride away. We made one last S’MORE in our awkwardly empty kitchen, shut off the breakers, and then I was in a car to a bus to a plane to Kansas City. Kansai, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Kansas City. Seventeen thousand, eight hundred and eighty-seven miles down, one thousand four hundred and forty-six miles to go.

I’m finding myself relaxed in a way that I had forgotten that I could be. My trips home to see friends and family were always refreshing but they were always also exhausting. While shy about meeting new people, I find myself sliding into depression without a certain amount of socialization that couldn’t be had in Japan. Most people combat this by hanging out with friends, usually so do I, but last year hanging out had a slightly longer commute. With a bit of jet lag. And the gas prices were just a little steeper. Now that I’m back, I’ve already started planning dinner parties and outings with friends and it’s fun in ways that it never was before. I’ve always loved getting friends together but never been crazy about the logistics. Now the logistics feel like a piece of cake.

The downside to being ‘almost’ back is dealing with the fallout from the false feeling of home. I’m staying with my best friend so it’s just enough home for me to relax, but just enough off for me to feel like I have to re-find my place in life. I don’t, or maybe I do, but I’m not actually home yet so I don’t know.

My life in New York City will be more than a little different this time around. I’m moving back with the knowledge that we’ll be there for the foreseeable future. I’m going back to school and I’ll have time to pick up hobbies and meet more friends. It’s easy to meet new friends while seeing the world, but it’s not so easy to maintain that friendship by actually hang out with them when your life is going 100mph. For the first time since college, I’ll be living somewhere without knowing when I’ll be leaving. We have an 18 month lease, but unless we find our neighborhood unbearable, we’ll probably extend it. New York is going to be home for a good long while.

I can’t wait to be home.

Countdown

Today started my last week in Japan. A week from yesterday I will board a US bound plane for the last time this year. I don’t know when I’ll come back here, though I know that I will. I know that I’ll miss this place. There is a more than small part of me that doesn’t want to leave. It’s the part of me that has come to know this place as home.

I’ve refrained from writing about my time here for a number of reasons but the biggest being that I  knew I couldn’t do justice to my experiences without the perspective only gained from time. Big adventures look awesome in hindsight. In the thick of things there is lots of angst, frustrations and pain. It would have been far too easy for me to fill posts with all of the hard stuff and forget to share the good stuff.

one of the hardest things has been my health. It’s no secret that I have a mystery chronic illness (to be clear, it’s a mystery to my doctor and me, too), but I haven’t done much to explain what that actually *means.* It’s a huge part of my life – something that I deal with almost every day. Life here has certainly complicated and exacerbated things, and it’s something that I probably should have been sharing about.  Figuring out what exactly to share is the tricky part. I want to loop people in, but not gross them out.  I’m working on finding that line. As much as I’d like to pretend that my health problems are minor annoyances that are an infrequent issue, they aren’t. I feel that I owe it to myself and my loved ones to be clear about what I’m dealing with. My medical stuff takes up a lot of spoons, and keeping it close to the chest takes up a few more. Time to change that.

While I’d love for this last week to be no work and all play, our apartment isn’t going to pack itself. Our movers will take care of most things but I still have to sort where our daily personal items are going, (with us for the holidays, dropped off by Will in NYC, plane shipment or sea shipment) do a crap ton of laundry and make a list of absolutely everything we own for insurance purposes. Prepare yourself for lots of before and after pictures and plenty of moving-related complaints. Moving sucks no matter what.

I wish I could find the pause button for life.

Going The Distance

I feel like I’ve been going about 100mph for the last month and a half. This certainly isn’t a complaint, as I’ve been having an absolutely wonderful time going places and seeing people, but I’m very glad to be in the middle of a recovering week in Chicago. 

I love traveling and I always have. I think there is a little bit of personal magic in traveling. Yes, I know how corny that sounds. You get to learn more about yourself when you travel. How much of you is you and how much is your situation or your location? And of course, this things that are dear to you become immediately apparent. For instance, it isn’t my computer that I need, but more the ability to easily communicate with my friends around the world, and the ability to create. Of course, those things pretty much require a computer, but details and all…

I’ll admit that while traveling is awesome, being away from Will isn’t all that great. We haven’t spent this much time apart since before we were dating and it sucks. The major difference in the time zones wasn’t something we could really have prepared for. Our daily schedules have very little overlap, and we’re only awake at the same time for about nine hours. It’s more like having a long distance co-worker than anything else. 

I’m also missing New York, which I wasn’t expecting at all. Going back to the city brought great relief even though not having an apartment of my own was weird. Not having a home base is weird, in general. I had gotten used to the pace of the city even if I wasn’t going as fast as everyone around me. Now every place I go – except conventions – seems a little slow. Everything and everyone is so much closer, there. I used to hate being packed so closely, but now I feel lonely when I’m in the big empty house that I’m staying in. And how could you not love the convenience? Having three Duane Reades on our street was pretty nice. Especially since one looked sorta like a gutted, gold cathedral. 

I’m not nearly as prepared as I should be for living in Japan. I’ve been studying one of the read and point books that the wife of another liaison lent me, but until recently that had been it. Then the other night the friends I’m staying with brought me to get sushi. 

Previously I hadn’t been a fan of sushi. Until Wednesday, I had only ever had spectacularly bad rolls. I got quite the education on different types of sushi and how the different fish taste that I think will be enormously helpful for day to day life. I enjoyed most of what was ordered, but did actually have issues with the huge proportions which seemed to be specific to the place we were at.  The texture of raw fish doesn’t actually bother me, but too much of anything is a bad thing. 

In five days, I’ll be off to London for the week. Meetings with friends about Loncon and doing a bit of obligatory sight-seeing. If you’d like to live somewhat vicariously, email me about things that you’d like me to go check out. I’ve started a list of things to do, but more ideas will I think, make things better. 

Pretending To Be An Adult

Thank You, BuzzFeed
Thank You, BuzzFeed

Packing, no, sorting goes well. My closet has been divided into three piles. Required during travel, shipping to Will, or Goodwill. This was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Champagne and girl friends were not required.

Which is good, because I don’t have both of those things here, anyways. Guess who cleaned out the neverending stock of unused alcohol that we had this morning? I am more than slightly pleased with myself about this and allowed myself a short celebration at Chipotle. Of course, I can’t actually eat the burritos anymore, but their guac is fair game, and what a wonderful game it is.

I have once again run out of water. Notable, because a month ago, I would have been thinking about the fact that I had run out of Coke. I have almost completely eliminated Coke from my daily diet. Not just Coke, but any soda. I still have one occasionally when Will and I go to a restaurant, but they are now a special occasion treat for me. So many of the things that I’ve been used to eating over the years have been cut from my diet due to all of the unknown crappiness that I’ve decided to make this one of the things that I can enjoy every once in a while. It’s been amazingly helpful in terms of weight loss. I haven’t been directly attempting to lose weight, but I can now fit into my skinny jeans (not that they are coming with my on my grand adventures) and that means a lot more to me than fluctuating numbers. I can move my body in ways that I haven’t been able to for longer than I’d like and that’s an incredibly freeing feeling.

I am endless thrilled with having Julie here for the week. She is unapologetically herself and that’s so wonderful to be around. It’s a hard balance to find. Am I being true to myself vs am I being politically correct enough for my environment. I don’t mean she’s a dick, because that’s never cool (and I imagine it’s not a happy self to have) , but she says what she thinks, wears what she wants and doesn’t hold back to make others feel better. Nor does she get hung up on things when others express their disapproval. She listens, decides if she’s going to do anything about it, and then moves on. I don’t know if it’s a me or everyone thing, but I find that balance hard to find and maintain. It’s nice to have someone around where I can let my hair down around that isn’t Will. Not that I don’t love and appreciate that side of our relationship, but it’s nicer to have multiple people around that I can do that with. There are a couple more on the list, but none of them are visiting me at the moment, though I’ll be seeing them in my travels soon.

Back to the neverending task of moving. My original plan was to see as many museums this week, but I’ve migrated to getting as much done on the apartment during the day and spending as little time online as possible. Quite a shift. Quite necessary.

Leaving on Jet Plane

Will left for Japan this morning. At 8:30am (EST) his car showed up, his driver helped him drop his giant suitcases in the back, and off he went.

I admit, I was a little worried about how sad I would or would not be after he left. Will and I have played the long distance game before and it sucked. And of course, no newlywed wants to split up only a few months in. Thankfully, I’ve got an intense travel schedule that will keep me on my toes and allow me to see almost everyone that I want to see before I start my adventure in Japan. I’m also really grateful that I’ll have the two flights home to use. Convergence and Detcon will allow me to see pretty me to see two-thirds of the people that I’ll be missing the most, and then Worldcon will allow me to see the rest. Smofcon at the end of the year will give me the highest concentration of friends that I’ll be missing, so all in all not a bad year planned out.

I’m digging deeper and deeper into research about the area we’ll be living in and creating a long list of things to see and document in one way or the other. I’m exciting about planning a climb up Mt. Fugi. I didn’t think that climbing a mountain would be in my plans during college, but I’m happy to add it and actually get the chance to cross it off of my To Do list. To be fair, living in a foreign country wasn’t on that list, either. I’m tremendously excited about this entire opportunity.

It’s a grey day in NYC today. It’s hard to believe that I only have seven days left in this magnificent city. I’ve got a short trip to North Carolina this weekend and then I’ll be packed and ready to go. If Will’s firm wasn’t paying for movers and packers, I don’t know what I’d do. Well, whatever it would be, there would be a lot less of it. I’m going to hit as many museums this week as humanly possible. Scratch that, enjoyably possible. I always hated running ragged during trips as a kid. Wen I visit somewhere, I want to enjoy the place. Not make myself miserable trying to pack every little bit in.

One of my fellow interns from the summer is crashing with me this week, and I have no doubt that she’s helping me keep the blues away. Julie is always full of life, and I’ll be staying with her for a while in Chicago in February.

And now, back to bed for some reading. This is probably my last lazy Sunday in months, and I’m going to enjoy it.

New York, New York.

I had a fabulous time in Toronto. Utterly fabulous. The conversations were breathtaking. You could suggest that I’m exaggerating, but I’d have to disagree. The level of conversation that I experienced this weekend was nothing short of amazing. 

That being said, I am really glad to be back in New York. 

I may not be crazy about loving here, but I missed Will a lot and one of my favorite travel experiences is flying up Manhattan and seeing the blinking amber jewels on the field of black velvet. It’s nice that it’s one of the things I get when coming home. 

I got my new passport this morning after managing to interrupt some film that was shooting outside of the Passport Office and it seems that the travel karma was on my side as my new picture is actually a really good one! I’ll post a picture tomorrow after I pick it up. Now I want to sleep for a week, but since the movers are coming by Friday to discuss things…that’s just not going to work. 

It hit my like a ton of bricks last night just how big this move to Japan is. That these two weeks are all I have left with Will before we go off on Christmas Vacation and then he is gone. Four months by himself on another continent.  It’s frustrating that we’re right back to being long distance. I know that we can deal with it. We’ve done it before, and there are countless other couples out there dealing with the same situations or worse, but that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. And it’s interesting that it feels like we have such little time left when we used to only have weekends together. 

My brain is too frazzled to write about anything more substantial after all the travel fun, so I think I’ll grab a book and watch the snow fall.