At 1:30 CST Saturday, it will be exactly four days since we first pulled up to The Cliffs at Barton Creek in the Big Bad Budget. Four days since we signed and initialed fifty times on a new lease. Four days since eighty boxes, fifteen pieces of furniture and a fuzzy dog got packed into #7212.
It still hasn’t sunk in yet.
Well, maybe a little. A quick moment when Scott and Marie, like unloading robots, helped us heft an entire truck’s worth of stuff into our apartment. No joke, we completed the schlep in about an hour and a half. The reality wormed its way in as we began to methodically and painfully unpack box after box. When we spent five hours at a Toyota dealership getting every sales trick known to man thrown at us, I rediscovered my hatred for car shopping. All we wanted was a lease price on a damn Corolla.
Like all things strange, it’s dawning on me in fragments. It’s in the tangled web of highways, US routes and fly overs surrounding Austin. Frontage roads and freeway loops. The dichotomy of sprawling plains and massive sky chocked with two million commuters. The differences hit when I’m standing in the midst of a giant Walmart, looking out on an ocean of electronics, discount food stuffs and Taylor Swift jean shorts. The shock of a massive H.E.B. replacing New York’s Gristedes, Dagastinos and Food Emporium. It’s not like I didn’t grow up with Target Super Stores in Jersey. I didn’t expect I’d be back to them so soon.
The apartment itself is a mixed bag of strangeness and open bliss. I’m typing this from my office, a place where I can close a door and enjoy separated silence to work, write and dream. It’s all a big tradeoff. Swap the ability to walk ‘round the corner to grab breakfast for a bedroom of size and space. The place is lovely and we’re halfway done unpacking, but it doesn’t feel quite like home just yet.
Despite the newness, the little things are what bring me back to a place of comfort and familiarity. Mr. Ming running around squeaking the toy we bought him in Memphis. Jamie watching a Bones marathon on her iPad. The familiar clickity clack of my keyboard as I spew these words onto a Word doc. Mom laughing at over the phone stories of scumbag car salesmen. Emotionally recognizable elements shortening the distance. The space between Point A and Point B reduced to null. All things equal.
In the end the cliché holds true, no matter how many times you say it. Home isn’t the roof over your head, your seventies modern décor or the numbers in your zip code. It’s the people you choose to fill those walls with. Even if they’re 1700 miles away.
NOTE: For those looking for pictures of the new apartment, there are none. Not until we get everything in and everything up. Could take a few weeks, but I’d rather present the apartment as we want it to be as opposed to pics of how we found it. Besides, it’s not home until we make it so. Once done, there will be a whole multimedia presentation. Pics, videos, the whole schmear. Mmmm. Bagels with lox and schmear. Talk about things I’m going to miss…