8.09.2015

ON LEAVING NEW YORK / ON MOSCOW, THE SEQUEL


Nestled low among the rolling hills of northern Idaho lies a tiny little town surrounded by wheat fields. 
Six hours from anywhere, in the middle of nowhere, the town was called Moscow. 

(Rhymes with Costco.)

This is the story of a girl with no home.
--or--
This is the story of a girl whose home is everywhere. 


Moooooviiiiing to Moscowwwwww. What is there to be said about moving to Moscow.

I think we've seen this episode already?! We've already done this once, right down to the tiniest detail, and it goes so beyond deja vu. It feels like time travel. It feels like bizarro worlds colliding. It feels like when you dream that you woke up and got ready for school, and then you really wake up, and you're like, oh man, again?? It feels like we are being given a mulligan, like we're just re-doing our Moscow time from the first time around, the first time twice, only this time the details are just a little bit different, and most of it is much much easier. 

Por ejemplo.

Instead of moving here from Brooklyn to go to school, we are moving here from Brooklyn to teach at school. Con mucho paycheck, gracias and cha-ching!

Instead of moving here from Brooklyn with a neurotic terrier named Pan, this time we are moving here from Brooklyn with a four-year-old named Huck. (Though really, exactly the same thing.)

Instead of moving here from Brooklyn Heights, this time we are moving here from South Slope! SO MUCH DIFFERENT. lol.

Everything here is precisely the same as it was the first time around, and yet nothing at all is remotely the same. I can't put my finger on it. But the Wal Mart is now a Super Wal Mart and there is no Miley Cyrus line to be found. 

***

I keep thinking about how the last time I held my baby as he slept through a long R train ride home was the last time I'll ever hold that baby sleeping on a long R train ride home. Just two weeks ago. Huck had fallen asleep on his hard orange bucket seat with his head on my lap and his long legs straight up in the air, resting against Brandon's shoulder. So I scooped him up by the armpit (he's getting so heavy!), placed one long leg on each side of my lap, and then I gently rested his head against my neck, like we do. Subway Sleeping Position, TM. I let the rocking of the subway train move us from side to side, and ran my fingers through his hair. Just like always. Just a mom and a baby swaying with the rhythm of the city, just one last time. It breaks my heart just a little. At the same time, I don't think I need it. 

***

I sat at the gate at the SeaTac airport last week with that same very-sleepy Scorpio, just one week later, his heavy head knocking against my clavicle as he bounced in and out of falling asleep. We were waiting on our final connection, a puddle jumper of a plane that was about to traverse the entire state of Washington in just under an hour, with a free glass of wine, they told us. I've decided that's strategic. They have to lube you up first. It's the only way to bearably leave all of civilization behind like this, to come to the middle of nowhere, to this Bermuda Triangle of nonsense and wheat fields and cows, where time stands still and nothing is real and it takes six hours to get to anywhere worth being. 

Perhaps Moscow is like the Hotel California? I'm starting to form a theory on this. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. I keep wondering, did I never really leave? Were these last five years all a dream? Is this the Matrix?

Maybe it's more like LOST. This makes me the Kate, yes? Not the doctor lady, please. But would that make Brandon the Shepherd or the Sawyer? Good crap let Brandon be the Sawyer. Only but Brandon is such a Shepherd. Sigh. Oh hell we are so stuck in a total time loop here. 

***

I think what I'm going to miss the most about New York City is that feeling of pure, sweaty, blissful exhaustion at the end of a long day. Basic stuff is harder out there. Satisfyingly hard. You work for it. The way the dry cleaning bag clings to the skin on your arms when you're carrying it home on a over-warm evening in the middle of June. The walking. The schlepping. Already I miss the schlepping.

But WHY are the parts that hurt most the best part of city living? Like, crying in public. Why do I have the fondest memories of stepping in gross puddles of gutter water, and not of bike rides through the park? Weird.

***

For a while I found it all quite humorous. I really enjoyed my weird emotional detachment to the situation. People would ask me if I was excited to move or if I was going to miss New York City, and I'd sort of shrug at both and say "sure," like someone had just asked me if I was okay with Pepsi instead of Coke. 

***

Being in New Orleans for the week (post on that one in the works), that really helped. It made a nice break between the sadness of leaving and the sadness of arriving, and it gave everything such a surreal feeling, like all of this was just another extension of vacation, just another airport, nothing permanent, nothing real, until, that is, I glanced at a face at the airport in Seattle that I thought I maybe recognized. And then shit got rill.

Do I know him from work? Instantly I'm doing all my best memory searching. Or maybe I know him from church? If I know him from church, he's probably noticed my knees, and that my shorts are a few inches more above them than they were the last time I was here, and oh brother, will this be awkward? Is he smiling at me because he knows me? Should I remember his name? Or is this an example of 'This Isn't New York Anymore,' because people here are allowed to smile at strangers, and oh gosh, of course! That's it! The people here just haven't been trained the way I have to never make eye contact with strangers! And that--that right there--that's when it hit me. That 'This Isn't New York Anymore' feeling, that's a doozy. And not only is this not New York anymore, but now it's also the Palouse, instead. It's Schweitzer again. It's that place and those people and that culture that I nearly let bury me alive last time. I only barely escaped from by clawing madly out of the mud with the dirt under my nails and it didn't need to be that way, and I won't let it be that way again, only but what if it is? And and no, I really do think that I know that guy from somewhere.

Once the dam finally broke it broke good and clean. And I needed that. You have to let that sadness out before you can replace it with reality. Uncontrolled sadness purged out of every inch of me that night and thank the heavens. Once the tears came they didn't leave for hours. I was so grateful for that full head of Huck mullet to hide behind, and later for that dark plane and the roar of the engines to hide behind. And then I decided to be SO. MAD. at BRANDON. INSTEAD.

Anger aaaalways feels better than sadness or confusion. Keep that one in the back of your pocket for later. ;) and then it was over, and hope and excitement elbowed it's way in, and now I have a hard time really remembering what about this move made me so sad to begin with.

***

Here is what it is like in Moscow right now:

Anytime you go outside you immediately sneeze three times. I forgot about this! I'm allergic to practically the entire planet out here! Also your lips super get chapped at just about the same time every evening. You can set your watch by it.

Our old house on B doesn't even feel remotely mine anymore. Brandon is heartbroken that the new owners haven't kept up the landscaping, I'm surprised I didn't hate living on the corner of a busy street like that.

The mornings here are chilly, the nights are cold and crisp. It's beautiful. You pad around the house in your slippers and the floors creak in spots and the tea kettle starts to whistle and it's exactly what you always wanted in your life. The afternoons get hot and dry, it feels like what I imagine it feels like to be a cookie. The sun bakes hard and all the world smells of stubble burn in the wheat fields. It's pretty close to divine.

My favorite sandwich shop closes at 3. There's an antiques shop I keep wanting to visit that is only open three days a week, and I can never remember which three days those are. They're not logical days for being open, either. Another shop has a sign that says "OPEN SOMETIMES." I find this rather delightful.  

Brandon walked into the kitchen of our rickety farmhouse our first day in town after poking around for a bit and announced, "I AM SO GLAD WE DIDN'T BUY THIS HOUSE!" But that is only because he has NO IMAGINATION.

I waver between thinking this is the most natural thing we could be doing and that this is the worst idea anyone has ever had, ever, and I can't do it. There is no way. This is asinine! This is five steps backwards. This is me giving in too easily and not putting my foot down, and this is going to kill me, this is straight up going to kill me, and oh my gosh how did we ever leave this town, this town is amazing! This town is FANTASTIC. I love it here so much. Oh my gosh this was a really great decision. I am so glad we are back. Let's never leave!!

***

I looooove my farmhouse. Luh-huuuuuve it. I couldn't love a farmhouse more, it'd be impossible. It has apple green shutters, and gables! It has green on its gables and so I am calling it Green Gables, don't you even start to argue with me. 

***

It has been dawning on me slowly that I am going to be back on the hook for nightly dinners again. Unfortunately for all, successful implementation of a nightly home-cooked dinner is going to necessitate me calling it "supper," and probably I need a bell for nightly ringing, that's just how it has to be, there's no point in fighting it.

(Pause here for a moment while I envision myself as the lead in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, sacrificing all my pride and dignity for the sake of a husband, and reading bible verses to boys wearing long johns.)

(Heehee that is an amazing thought!)

***

Jazzy, or Tucker, or maybe it's Bonita, I'm not sure, but at least one of those old horses is still kicking around over there at that farmhouse on D. While stroking that velvety nose the other day, it struck me that this is what I was always meant to be doing, of course. Not hoofing it up the stairs of a dirty subway station, as much fun as that's been, but this. This is where I belong. And I know I've always known it, though it's also somewhat confusing. Does this mean I failed at the city? I don't think so, is that even something you can do? As if success in the city is some kind of value statement. Why would success have to mean staying forever? And seriously, who cares? Maybe all those people who go on and on about how great the city is and how much they love love love it there, and how they're proud that they live in such an amazing city, maybe they're all totally full of it.

. . . . No, definitely not. But maybe.  

And I kicked ass at that city, let's be honest.


*** 

What it really comes down to, I think, at the end of the day, is this:

Home is wherever you fight like hell for. 

This time that fight will be easy. And me, I got my war gear on.

It closely resembles a trucker hat.

69 comments :

  1. Not that I can claim any authority on the question of "the real you," but I think a lot of it is right here in this post. I recently moved from a city I loved to a town near my home, and I can relate to these struggles. I hope you'll find some peace in this struggle, excitement for the extra year at home with Huck, pride in your husband's professional accomplishments (academia is no easy shell to crack into). All will be well!

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  2. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/art-thats-delicious-roger-rowleys-fruit-plates/

    I saw this the other day and it seems like quintessential Moscow from how you describe it. A photo exhibit of daily fruit plates.

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  3. Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh! I don't think I have EVER anticipated a blog post as much as this one. You're hands down my fave blogger, and I have been checking the past two days, like every few hours forreals. ( I know, lame!) I cannot wait to see more pix of the farmhouse when you get done putting your own spin up in it!

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  4. I can SO relate. I moved from a big city to a small town where my husband was from for almost two years once. I got through it by getting a raft float and a stack of Nora Roberts paperbacks. Everyday after work, I'd grab some smirnoff ices from the fridge and lay at the pool reading the cheesiest books ever written, listening to Lily Alan on my ipod speakers. It sounds so dumb but that little ritual got me through. I kept telling myself "you can't do this in NYC" and so I enjoyed that. and got super tan :)

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  5. With my family spread into different locations nowhere near and my current location chosen due to my husbands career but not nearly close enough for a livable commute, I am struggling with where to wage this war for my family. It is a tough emotional battle and three children 5 and under makes it even more challenging. Bravo Natalie for fighting the good fight and keeping it real. Your words always get me.

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  6. Leaving New York is hard. I left almost two and a half years ago and only recently have I been able to thing about it without getting either choked up or feeling a little defeated. My theory is that it is an intoxicating city and what you are intoxicated with is the fear of missing out. Big time. And that's a hard one to get over (if you are me). I feel truly glad now that I got away. Life isn't a competitive sport..

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  7. Your writing is beautiful! I love the comparison of the weather to a cookie. That made me giggle audibly. I too dream of one day owning a farm house to raise my littles in. It is quite the dream and I am super jealous!
    As for the allergies, try buying some local honey! Something about the bees and local pollen helps:)
    Leah Faye

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  8. I moved last year from Chicago to the middle of no where indiana, and ever since I moved, I have been fighting for the small town "charm" to feel like home. To change my expectations and find a new understanding of what home is. I'm rooting for you!

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  9. I can't believe how much this post sums up my feelings on moving out of the city. We moved from Brooklyn back to the Hudson Valley the exact same week that you moved out of Brooklyn, and oh man. I'm going through it right now. The feeling of "did I fail at the city?", feeling like I gave up or I'm less tough now than I was before, like I've lost my badge of honor because I can't say that I'm a city person anymore, and not just a CITY person but a BROOKLYN person. And then at the same time, feeling like yes, of course, I've made the best decision of my life and how could I even question it at all? It's so comforting to me to hear you having such similar experiences, and to know that I'm not isolated in my combination of fear, sadness, joy and relief. Thank you for this.

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  10. Oh my, this is tragic in the best way.... and makes for very great reading. Also, you have inspired me to write better. and I can tell, Moscow has inspired you!

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  11. This is the story of a girl who's home is everywhere.

    whose not who's.

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  12. Oh Natalie, my heart goes out to you! Big moves can be so difficult-- and this one is a doozy. I think you must make plans to travel -- no guilt, no questions asked, at least a few times a year. Meanwhile be gentle with yourself. I'm rooting for you. Hugs.

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  13. Hi Natalie, I've been reading your blog for awhile but am not really a comment poster ~ after reading this I felt compelled. I relate to your post in many, many ways as I continue to wrestle with a wild wide range of emotions after a relocation with my family about a year ago. I've been waiting for this post ever since you mentioned your family's plan to leave New York...it was wonderful and helpful and I appreciate you sharing. Wishing all of you the very best ~

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  14. We moved from Denver (super awesome city) to a small town in rural Appalachia three years ago, for my husband's job. I'm feeling really connected to your story as I still struggle with homesickness and frustration, these three years later. For me, there are things I can appreciate about this country life, but what it has taught me is that I am a city person at heart. Life has many permutations, and I believe I will make my way back to a place that feels like home. And I know you will too, one way or another, geographically, emotionally, in your heart.

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  15. I deeply understand the part about the culture that almost buried you.

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  16. Oh goodness. I just moved to the southwest and have so many feelings. Thanks for helping me come to terms. My ex also just gave me a copy of your book as a random gift (peace offering?) but he read it first and now he is in love with your blog. Thanks for sharing your world for us to enjoy and ponder our own lives...

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  17. RE: awkward encounter with airport guy. People change, and that's just a normal part of being human regardless of what peer pressure might make us feel like. You are obviously a very different person now than you were during the Moscow 1.0 years. If this guy you ran into really did know you back then (or any number of acquaintances you may run into from here on out), noticed your shorts and disapproved, well, obviously he can't gracefully accept that people change, and that's on him. I live in a conservative small town surrounded by people who have known me since I was a child. I am very different as an adult than I was years ago, and a lot of those people don't approve, but you know what? That's on them. They live their lives in a way that makes them happy, and I do the same. It's not my job to live my life in a way that makes THEM happy. I'm sure you know the Eleanor Roosevelt quote -- "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Try not to worry too much about running into people you knew before. I'm rooting for you!

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  18. This was a god read. There's no conflict between the reality of your sadness and frustration about the move, and the possibility of a full and interesting life ahead.

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  19. Thanks for sharing your life, your heart, and whatever doubts, fears, or battles lie therein. You do so beautifully. More of THIS, please! More of this fantastic writing.

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  20. This is definitely my favorite piece that you have written. Because its ME! It's almost exactly how I would react, even though I've never lived in either place. You have a real gift for imparting and making concrete that daily stuff that we think we don't all share.

    AND

    "it feels like what I imagine it feels like to be a cookie" FREAKING GOLD!!

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  21. I love love loved this. Raw and real. xoxo

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  22. I can feel this post in my BONES. I am that girl who hates the 'Where ya from?" question because it's rare that a person can hold out through the whole explanation.

    I really hope this time goes better for you, wishing you the best!

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  23. lovely post! I love how you started, because its exactly how I feel, since I moved around so much haah
    Love
    Pili

    Records of my Troubles

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  24. Love everything about this post. Small town living is divine!

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  25. I adore reading your posts and following your journey as you move. Change is always difficult but you might find that trucker hat glued to your head and day-to-day attire before you know it! Good luck. I'm sure you'll be okay!
    www.scarletstate.co.uk xxx

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  26. This makes me so excited for your blog! So much content to explore!

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  27. I don't think I've ever been able to relate more to you than I have now. we are kind of at a crossroads that could have us moving away from a metro area of 6 million people, to a tiny town of 30,000. it's the town my mom is from, where I was born, and actually where my husband and I met (while attending school there). it's a town that deep down I really really love, but have always said, "oh i'll NEVER live there again." as we are weighing the options and waiting on the ultimate decision, it makes me laugh at how much this feels like we might be coming full circle. how this really was what was supposed to happen all along. and i'm feeling every single emotion you just described. anyway - you're my fav. thanks for being so open and honest and awesome. i'm excited to follow you on this new adventure. xoxo

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  28. I moved to a new city with my 2.5 year old son a few years ago. I was shocked at how much it felt like my whole world had been left behind. It was easy to get very hermit-y and lonely and sad. I started throwing myself into activities for my son- Church, playgroups, extracurricular activities, story time at the library. Even though I was going through the motions, he was putting down roots in this new city and I started to not feel so lost. Even though, nearly 4 years on, I still don't feel like this city is my home, it is most definitely my son's home. And I fricking love it because of that. Force Moscow to give your son a dream childhood, and you will love it forever!

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  29. Congratulations on your latest move, Natalie! Transitions are the worst. Whenever I make a move, no matter how well-thought out and safe that move is, I spend so much of my time jumping between loving my new place and missing my old haunts. I'm so excited to see what new adventures Moscow brings to you and your family! And obvi pictures of your farmhouse. Like please, overdo the farmhouse pictures.

    The What's In Between

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  30. Loved this! I can' t help you in Moscow, but I can give you some great restaurant suggestions for Coeur d Alene/Spokane when you're ready to venture out. :)

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  31. Omg I'm so happy your writing is back. Thank the lord

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  32. Two years ago, I moved from Athens, Georgia (my most favorite town on the planet, full of indie music and foodie stuff and funky art and great big beautiful trees and azaleas) to the freaking DESERT. Yes, the DESERT....where I live in an off-the-grid earthship and have to drive 45 minutes round trip to buy lettuce or toilet paper. It was quite an adjustment, and I'm not through yet. But here's the thing, Natalie: when there's less of everything else around you, you realize that there is more of you. You become more fully you because a lot of the time, that's all that's going on. This was like an unexpected gem I found glittering in the desert sun. I hope you'll find it there at your farmhouse, too.

    Melanie

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    Replies
    1. I'm in Athens too, 4 years after having graduated, and I love it so much. Though I know I need to move away, since this sweet little town doesn't have what/who I'm looking for, and that makes me sad. I'll miss this quiet life. Change is hard!

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  33. I'm a little confused, did Brandon make the decision to move without consulting you? The way you reference your sadness and then anger at him makes it sound like you had no say in this. I'd love to see a post that tells more about this, why he decided to change jobs, how the two of you made the decision to move, how it's been for Huck, etc.

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    1. Even though the two of them might have come to the decision to move together, doesn't mean that she isn't going to harbor some resentment. My husband was offered a job across the country from my home and we decided that it would be the best thing for us. Its been 4 years and I am still sad that I'm not home and I sometimes get very angry that I gave up my family so that he could teach. It's hard to move away from a place that you consider your home.

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  34. wow, I am emigrating from the UK to New Zealand in 10 weeks and when I read:
    'For a while I found it all quite humorous. I really enjoyed my weird emotional detachment to the situation. People would ask me if I was excited to move or if I was going to miss New York City, and I'd sort of shrug at both and say "sure," like someone had just asked me if I was okay with Pepsi instead of Coke'
    - it hit home so so hard that I am welling up typing this. You summed it up perfectly.

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  35. Oh my gosh. THIS is the type of writing that brought me to your site to begin with and made me stay. I have really been missing this for a while now. I guess Moscow brings out the writer in you and that's a wonderful thing.

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  36. I left New York City three days ago for an "extended stay" in my hometown. I say that, because I refuse to admit it will be forever. As I sit here in the middle of nowhere, nestled between the Ohio cornfields, I can't help but admit my sorrow for leaving, my excitement for staying, and my confusion for where I am going next. Thank you for sharing your journey, because it so closely resembles my own and that is the greatest relief.

    - Melanie (www.athistage.blogspot.com)

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  37. loving the moscow pictures, excited to hear about this new chapter, wishing you all the luck and contentment!

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  38. Incredible, Natalie. I didn't want this post to end.

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  39. P.S. I'm a Coug ;) I'm still nostalgic for back to school, harvest smells, a fishbowl beer at Gambino's. Oh and the lentil festival!

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  40. This writing. These words. Are like everyones thoughts pulled out of their brains and plopped onto your wonderful blog. They are the words that people think but never say, the jumbled mess of emotions and confusion and joy and strange thoughts.

    To see it written as part of a blog, is exactly what is needed. I love this.

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  41. Welcome back to the Palouse! - i don't remember how i stumbled upon your blog...but I love hearing your rendition of the Palouse - I totally agree, yet love it at the same time. I moved here 8 years ago for school (Pullman, WSU) and am now married and calling it home. It's a unique place, so far from anything...but endearing in that way. Hope you are settling back in and maybe I'll run into you at that favorite sandwich shop of yours! - Taylor

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  42. Beautiful writer! Hope Moscow treats you well again this time around.

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  43. Word to the wise! Have your home checked for lead! If it does have lead, there are specific ways the lead needs to be safely removed or it gets in the air, your soil, YOUR LUNGS, …you get the idea. Lead Safe In America is an excellent FB page for lead information - the lady who started the page and the lead awareness over all will come test your home, too. She is great!

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  44. What a great post. I always enjoy your writing. Wishing you the best on your move!

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  45. Thank you so much for being so honest - I love reading your posts and following your adventures. You are such a fantastic person and I always feel so safe peeking into your world ! My man and I are going through something similar at the moment and I keep having this though that I need to cope with this because I chose it but it is so tough leaving friends and stability behind again and again ! but in a few months we will look back and laugh and think that it was easy ... Counting the hours :) Take Care !

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  46. This is great. Your writing is inspiring. Also - so excited that someone has named their house green gables. Its only been my dream for like, ever :).

    Just all this - so good.

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  47. I'm currently in a transition to move to a new area, and this post truly resonated with me. I'm so happy for you and your family and can't wait to see more of your new home once you've settled!

    awawegok.wordpress.com

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  48. If Idaho means more long essays, then bring it on! I love the fashion and photo spreads on your blog, but your writing is what keeps me coming back :)
    I lived in Idaho once, in Sandpoint. It's an underrated state, one of the most beautiful places I've ever lived.

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  49. I'm smiling, laughing and crying while reading this post. I love the truth in your writing. I get an image of the ping pong in your [our] brains as I read what you've written and it just makes me happy (smile, laugh & cry). You're a smart and funny cookie :)

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  50. Phenomenal. So well written. As much as I'm going to miss your life in NY I so look forward to watching how you rock your new life in Idaho. When we moved from San Francisco to Napa last year I felt like I'd moved to the sticks. And I'm still kind bummed about the whole thing. I think I stand to learn a lot about making it work wherever I am. Go on, Natalie ... inspire me you crazy cockadoodle beautiful lady.

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  51. I feel/have felt everything that you've written in this post. I moved across the country, from my home in Southern California to Massachusetts so that my husband could teach. We live in the boonies, I miss my city life more than anything, but I am growing accustomed to suburb life. Sometimes I feel like if I let myself get too comfortable here that I'll lose my real self and that I'll never get to go home. Because home to me will always be California, even though my husband and kids are in MA. I don't know if I'll ever let myself be truly at home here...this year will be 4 years.

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  52. This is so weird, I know I don't know you but your life experiences really resonate through your writing because I can't help but feel complete sadness for this transition of yours. In some ways makes me think that life as it happens is funny and scary and sad and cyclical and loving and hateful. And makes me think that no matter how you plan your life and envision the next 5, 10, 15 years you never really know where you might end up. Just reading about your life over the last 10 years is like reading this history of someone whose had quite the adventure in this life. And someone who knows how to roll with the punches. Because I myself would find it unbearable. But then again this is coming from someone who was raised in Brooklyn, so I can't imagine this kind of life. As if by some serendipitous miracle and by some single twist of fate you are meant to be where you are at least for this chapter of this Holbrook adventure. That being said, as much as New York is this romantic, gritty, beautiful disgusting place anyone who truly stays for the duration of their lives ends up being bitter about it granted, would never leave, but the lifelong struggle to elbow your way through life ends up eating away at you. I know that feeling of "pure, sweaty blissful exhaustion" its satisfying for now when you're capable of doing it but to really do that day in day out till your 65 eats away at you. What I'm saying is basically, you just might have gotten out when the getting was good.That you left at a time when your memories will last as favorable ones not when you remember "stepping in puddles of gutter water" is a gross, bad thing.

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  53. "Home is wherever you fight like hell for." I love that. Ditto on whoever you fight like hell for, no?
    I feel like the last couple of years here have been watching you learn to lean straight into the arms of the universe, and it granting you some serious serendipity right back. It's pretty beautiful, in a way I hope I can learn to lean someday too.
    I hope this round kicks your butt, lady, and lets you land exactly where you didn't know you need to be and that it's beautiful and hard and so, so worth it.

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  54. I have to say a nice long "amen" to all of the aforementioned :) And to Brandon Salude!!!

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  55. Well, this was pretty much the best. (So I read it twice.) I've felt every one of these things, in my own way, and you summed them up rather beautifully. I know each and every one of the phases of (relocation) grief. (Rural New Hampshire for 7 loooong years while Husband built his career.) I've come out the other side and am better for it. Small towns sort of force you to figure out who you are, deep down, and what you want from this one life. They were my hardest years, but also my most rewarding. (I left with a long overdue college degree and a career path that might not otherwise have been discovered.) I can't wait to follow along on your journey. You've got this.

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  56. Needs this. My husband is a professor and we just moved over 1,000 miles to Florida. I grew up in Vermont. It's hard. I go back and forth between being happy and relieved (nine years of his grad school, two years of a national search) and depressed (no friends, no job for me, lots of unexpected fees and taxes, no money to decorate). Trying to tell myself to take it one day at a time. It will feel like home eventually. Thank you for your perspective.

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  57. Natalie, i love this AND your amazing Spanish skills haha. you rock!

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  58. Amen girl. I feel you on this, so so much. We just left the craziness of southern California and we're actually on our way into New York City in just a few weeks, but these slow weeks in between, back home in the middle of nothingness in nowhere Virginia, feel a lot like the way you've described all of this up there. It's where I'm supposed to be, but I'm passing through, but I'll be back, and can I even deal with that? How can so many places possibly be home at the same time and how do I just keep marching forward, uprooting myself and putting down new roots and ripping those band-aids off over and over and keeping on? I love it. I hate it. I miss home. I can't wait to get out. It's a crazy feeling, loving so many places at once.

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  59. i'm moving to Boise next week and i'm all WAAAAHHHHHH about it! i gotta take it head on, thanks for the inspiration ; ) it helps that i'll be downtown tho!

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  60. Love your stream of consciousness here. And I can so related to your zig-zagging feelings - that's how I feel whenever life throws a big change at me. A wise woman once told me, when I was struggling to figure out where I "belong" (metaphorically speaking), that life is seasonal. So you DID belong in Brooklyn. And you do belong in Moscow. And maybe you will find that one belonging lasts longer or is more permanent than the other, but it doesn't negate the other. If that makes any sense at all. (Sorry for the rambles.) Enjoying watching your journey unfold. And BONUS so many new/old things to write about!

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  61. i'm pretty sure i've read every one of your posts & this is now one of my favs. raw & gooey & funny & sad. thanks for sharing this awesomely terrifying season in your life. i'm officially along for the ride. trucker hat or not. moscow or bust.

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