Thursday, February 17, 2011

these five years

it was a dark, ugly day,
that day we moved to moscow.

as it was,
i had to be pulled out of new york city
kicking and screaming.
i, like many, had a love affair with the city,
and finally after three years there
had established everything just so.
that circle of lifelong friends,
the jewelry making,
the environmental health research opportunity,
the odd job as a styling assistant,
and with our apartment
and a new baby,
i was perfectly and blissfully happy and content.
and to be uprooted?
and to where?
and why?

the opportunity for opportunities.
a return to the motherland.

and so, like with most things in life,
we closed our eyes and jumped.


and i'm pretty sure
i was out of my mind
those last few days as we prepared to leave.
we had packed boxes for storage,
and we packed suitcases to leave.
and with a renter moving into our place
upon our departure,
we had to place every last pencil
and bolt and spoon
into one of those two categories,
cleaning out every nook and cranny
of our spacious (550 sq ft) apartment.
now, this, i would not recommend saving
for the day of departure,
though yes, we live and learn
(as a few dear friends witnessed,
who had shown up that day to save us).

while i pictured a leisurely morning
throwing the last few things into bags,
and cleaning the bathroom,
while alex ran downtown to pick up the plane tickets,
turned into frenzied madness.
my 14-month-old milla
came down sick during the night
and so not only did nobody sleep,
but she would not sleep nor be put down
all the next day.
needless to say,
the house did not get cleaned,
i burst into tears in front of a jerky locksmith,
and the taxi ended up waiting outside
for half an hour
before we even started loading.
now yes, that meant
that we were half hour behind schedule
in trying to make our flight.
and it didn't so much help
when alex finally showed up from downtown
picking up the tickets
(curse paper tickets!)
to realize that he afterwards had left them in a store.
and so after our frenzied load
and our hasty goodbye to friends,
we had to steer that taxi back downtown
to find the tickets.

now this is where i put in a plug
for aeroflot
who not only received us with open arms
(at least it felt like it to us)
as the flight was closing
when we stumbled in with our ridiculous bags,
oversized, overweight, and too many--
but who also waited on us
hand and foot
during the next 10 hours
as our sick baby screamed nonstop.

why, again?
why are we doing this?
why me?


and yes, the baby eventually recovered from illness.
but to land in moscow
and it's -20 degrees and gray, dark and dismal landscape
without a home,
without jobs,
without a car,
without friends,
and what seemed to me without purpose,
let's just say,
it was a bit of a rocky start.
not to mention
being thrust into the throes of morning sickness
and living on the sofa
soon afterward. . .

and so it was we were jumping,
and into the dark, as it were.


today the sun is shining bright,
despite the -4 on the thermometer.
and it's been exactly 5 years
since that jump.
i can't say that i don't miss new york
or my life and friends there,
but we have long since settled into this life,
with all its nuances and peculiarities.
we have made ourselves a home,
in which we're happy and content--
alex has established for himself a career,
i'm proud to say a self-made one,
as we sift through
and take advantage of those opportunities
that we came seeking.
we have since added two babies to our one,
the youngest of which
who is to the day
the age milla was when we made the jump over the ocean.
it turns out that my children
have known only russia as their home,
and know america only as a vacation spot
(with a big, big bonus of grandparents).
we've made plenty of friends,
and lost plenty of friends--
but so it goes in the expat world,
and even new york was anything but
exempt from that phenomenon.
i don't have the same things going on in my life
that i had back then,
but life is a river,
and my work is different now.

our plans to leave this place
are certain, but very fuzzy,
somewhere back there in the back of our minds.
and in the meantime we live,
we enjoy,
and we're pleased with
where the jump and the rocky road have taken us
in these five years.


Olgon said...

Дорогу осилит идущий!

SweetpeainFrance said...

Thank you for sharing such honesty.
Oh? What would I give for your wisdom, perception?
Life is a river......... it certainly seems to carry the jetsom and flotsam into unexpected places.

christina said...

I really love reading your blog.

Your life looks and reads SO fascinating!


Davian said...

five years. enough already! we only agreed to let you go for five. i'm holding alex to it.