Tuesday, December 31, 2013

All New People

That's the name of a book by Anne Lamott, I think, and also the name of Zach Braff play, according to Wikipedia. 

I don't know if I quite have the energy required to do an end of the year recap--much has happened, mostly all in the last four months, and I haven't yet settled into the groove of this new life--it still feels like I'm just visiting this place. The other day, I said something to Dan like, Well, when we get back to your house...And he said, You mean, our house? Because, oh, yes, we both live here now, in this condo in Plainsboro with the three floors and giant bedroom with a master bath--that's new to me. As is the walk in closet, as is the fridge with the automatic water, as is the back patio and the trail behind it where people are constantly running or walking or whizzing by on their bikes.

And then there's also my new job and all new people. It feels a little bit like I've been taken from my home and dropped into a foreign country where I still need to learn the language and the rhythm of the place. Now, when I go back to Philly and visit my mom (who is living in my house), that's not the same either because it has her things in it; all nice furniture and much more cooking ware than I've ever owned, and the occasional vase. So, I don't feel quite at home there either. And Philadelphia seems different to me now; I'm nostalgic for the dirty streets and the simplicity of it in some ways. I had a routine--get up, write a little, drink coffee, walk two blocks to the subway, get off at 36th street, go to the Starbucks, buy my coffee, and then in to work to make my bagel and chat with Kristina before starting work. Work, maybe go to the gym, walk home, change immediately into my pajamas, and get on the computer again, cereal for dinner, and into bed by ten to read for an hour or so.

I think the biggest difference has to do with not having nearly as much alone time as I used to. Before, except for when I was at work, I spent most of my time by myself, and would see Dan and Luke only on the weekends. Now, Dan is here when I wake up, and then I'm at work with people all day, and then I race home and have maybe twenty minutes alone before he arrives. In the evening, instead of being by myself, I'm with him (and Luke sometimes), and I actually sit down and eat dinner with most of the food groups represented. Then, after dinner, if Luke is with us, we find something to watch on TV that's geared for kids, though now that Luke's older, it's more often than not a movie that is also geared towards adults (i.e. not an animated feature), so I've seen Batman Returns quite a few times in the last four months. Luke goes to bed a little after nine, then we watch TV until about ten, and then go up to bed, where I do read still, but Dan's there too, and he needs to talk, and recap the day--but he's also sensitive about knowing that I want to read, and so tries to wind down too.

I'm not unhappy--I'm glad I moved here, I like my new job, I love our condo, I am happy to be close to Princeton and Green Street and the lovely library in town and the one in Plainsboro too, I like seeing Luke more; it's allowed us to get to know each other better and he's such a good kid. And I'm lucky to have Dan with me--he listens to what I need, and he adjusts, and no matter how tired he is, he starts dinner right away, and he takes care of me and let's me take care of him too. I hope though, that I can start to think of this place as my house too. How much longer will that take? Part of doing that is finally unpacking everything--I'm starting to see my things mixed in with his--my kitschy cat paintings and Virgin Marys, my books, my pictures among his paintings and collages. We made one together the other day, and will hang it up once it's finished. And we also bought new furniture together; that's a first for me, so the new things are not mine, or his, but ours.

We're still figuring out how to blend our lives. This past weekend, one thing we did was have Ernesto come for a visit. It was strange to see him walking around, rubbing his face on everything, and then settling in to his new cat bed. He adapted to the new life pretty quickly, but then again, a cat's brain is the size of a pea. I will try to be more like him, and just settle in.


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