Saturday, July 21, 2018

Settling in

Chocolate-cherry birthday cake; flavor combo requested by the birthday girl (host family/friend turning 14) and executed by me using my mother's Chocolate-Chocolate Cake with a layer of cherry jam in the middle and fresh cherries on top

It's exactly one month today since we left Australia. It's a rainy Saturday afternoon and the temperature is in the mid-60s F, a welcome change from the pretty consistent 90F (30C) weather we've had since we got to the northern hemisphere, first in Italy and now here. The friends who have been kind enough to let us camp out in their in-law apartment are away for the weekend, so the house is quiet and empty apart from the three of us. And it's the first weekend day in a while with no commitments or major errands on the schedule, which feels like a luxury after everything that's been happening.

People keep asking me how the transition's going, and I list off all the things we've accomplished since we've arrived, which mostly involve acquiring things like cars and phones, or plugging ourselves into the local infrastructure: school registration, utility bills, library cards. All important, and necessary checklist items for getting everyday life up and running efficiently.

What feels more important to me, though, is the less tangible accrual of local knowledge that I am compiling, starting more or less from zero, and which I need to make me know that this is a place I am going to live. How to navigate the VRE/Metro journey that will allow me to get into DC without driving. Which of the local supermarket chains I am most likely to shop at regularly. If the ice-cream shop in our new town is a worthy local stand-in for the best ice-cream shop of all (last night's first visit was a promising start). Where our local post office is.

We've also had the chance to catch up with lots of friends and family already, and there's plenty more on the schedule; DC is definitely more of a destination for my personal network than Canberra, as well as being much closer to where lots of my key people are based. All of that helps me feel as though I'm re-integrating pieces of my life which have felt fragmented for a very long time.

We're still somewhat in limbo: our household goods are making their way across the Pacific Ocean, and our new house is in the throes of renovation. We've probably got another month before any of that changes. So we're not fully transplanted yet. But I feel like I'm starting to settle in, and to look around for where to put a root or two.
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