Dear friends and readers! We moved apartments last Friday, leaving our sweet tree-house apartment with the incredible view almost five years to the day after we moved in. I still distinctly remember how much I disliked the apartment when we first moved in. Isn't that nuts? I missed Max's old place where we'd been camping out after I moved to Berlin from New York, and I was convinced I'd never feel at home in the new place. Now, of course, it feels like it was the truest, most perfect home I ever had the privilege of living in and it's the new place that feels weird and foreign and not quite right. (Even though it is right, I know it is - just in my brain, not my belly yet.)
I do this to myself every time I move and yet I'm never prepared for the force of melancholia associated with moving house, changing perspective, seeing your whole life packed up in anonymous brown boxes and schlepped around by a bunch of guys with big forearms and blue overalls. I never quite know how to deal with it.
We've been in the new place for five days now and it is beautiful and we have made great progress unpacking things and moving furniture into its rightful place and putting my beloved books where they belong and yet I'm still a little shaky on the inside. When I dropped off Hugo at Kita this morning (taking the car back to our old neighborhood instead of running down the sidewalk with him) and realized I couldn't just walk back home the way I have the past few years, my heart sank just a little.
Silly, I know.
I'll soon get used to the new place, will stop tripping over the bathroom door step, will learn which floorboards creak particularly loudly, will know precisely which corner of the place is the best one for me to curl up in when I need a quiet moment. One day, I tell myself, I will feel the same way about the new place as I do about the last. It will be ours and it will be home and it will mean something really deep to all of us. Until then, patience.
As for the little guy, we took Hugo to the apartment many times while it was being renovated to show him "his room" and get him acquainted with the place. He always seemed cheerful enough. But when we started packing things up in boxes last week, he got really upset. "Dis my home!" he said indignantly when we explained why we were packing. We gave him to my in-laws for two days while we did the move itself and unpacked the bulk of the boxes. On Saturday night, he came back to us and slept in the new place, falling asleep just fine as he always does The first morning, Sunday, though, he woke up cranky and sad, whiny and angry. It took him all morning to work it out, so we talked about how strange it is to move and that it's okay to miss the old place and be sad and mad, but that this new place would feel like home one day too. By the afternoon, he was back to his sweet old self again. On Monday, I took him to the old apartment to say goodbye, but I realized as we were doing it that he'd already moved on. So I nipped it in the bud and that was that. Bye bye, apawt-men.
On Monday morning, the gas stove got switched on, but it took me a couple days to work up the courage to use it. (I also couldn't bring myself to drink out of any of our glasses, drank out of the Oxo plastic measuring cup instead. I have no explanation for that one either.) We went to my mother's house for lunch and dinner instead, since she's just a short walk away now, and it felt good to have her feed us. Maybe that's it.
Last night, I finally made dinner - my dad's tomato sauce with onions and carrots*, and spaghetti, because I always have to make that the first time I cook somewhere new, to feel like I'm home - and Hugo slurped up two portions and we talked about how my papa used to cook for me every night when I was little and how my papa is his Grandpa (Hugo saying "grempa", with a big old German "rrr") and even though the counter tops felt too tall and the sink was too far away and I kept reaching in vain for the dishtowel that doesn't hang in the new place where it hung in the old, it all felt really good. Hopefully I'll do it again tonight and tomorrow and soon enough, I'll know my way around again and it will start to feel like home.
I'll be back with stories and pictures of the new kitchen and its, uh, transformation soon. (We have no phone line or internet and my computer is literally buried underneath a stack of 84 empty boxes, so bear with me on this one for a little bit.)
In the meantime, thank you, as always, for reading and for steadying me, dear people. xo
*The recipe for my dad's tomato sauce, in case you were wondering, is in the second chapter of my book, on page 18.