Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jon's America I


Thanks to Betsy’s admirable efforts to recount her life and day-to-day goings on through the medium of a relatively new technology that will one day plunge us all into a social abyss, many of you will have been aware of the epic odyssey we endured to finally be together. Despite mild Ron Swanson-esque personal misgivings about the internet in general, I genuinely have been touched to see the outpouring of goodwill from all of you online, so thank you. 

I’ve been here in the US permanently for around 10 days now, and I couldn’t be happier to finally be with the woman I love. Obviously I have a great deal of feelings about that, and naturally I won’t be sharing many of those feelings online because I'm British and we don't talk about things like that publicly. However, I would like to share with you stray observations that float by me from time to time, as I embark on a new adventure that will likely come to define my adult life (ulp). I’ve read a few expat blogs and (he says, generalizing wildly) they often seem to follow a similar theme – “Customer service sucks/is too in-your-face, why can’t I get good Mexican/ Indian food, I miss things... why can’t everything be just how I want it...”

I could do that if I wanted to, and start focusing relentlessly on what’s different about where I’ve come from to where I am, but frankly I find that tedious. In the time that I’ve spent in the great city of DC, I’ve seen far more that makes me feel that I’m right at home than makes me feel that I’m somewhere new. In London, I was sent off by a wonderful family and a fantastic group of friends that I consider myself lucky to have, but in DC I was greeted by the same. Of course I miss people back at home, and that won’t change, but then again my wife and I spent two years desperately missing each other, and now we get to be together again. However, all that said, allow me to be grossly hypocritical: you need to sort out your tea situation, America. $11 for a box of PG Tips? No. And fancy “breakfast teas” with delusions of grandeur just ain’t gonna cut it. (I'm looking at you, Lipton). That’s my one (probably inaccurate) bitch about this otherwise great land, and I shall cling to it.

And so now I’m here and there’s a lot to do and a lot that’s already been done. We’re currently moving into a new apartment and finally getting to do the things that normal couples do, like argue where the sofa goes and how big our new TV is going to be. And I couldn’t be happier about that.

If she’ll let me, I’m thinking about borrowing Betsy’s excellent blog once a month or so to post updates about what’s going on now that I’m here. I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether that’s a good idea or not – if you feel I should never darken her online doorstep again, be brutally honest! If you’re all willing to let this thing, whatever it is, continue, you’ll hear from me again at the beginning of November.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Moving in and Settling Down


Well, I'm pleased to report that Jon and I are on day three of shifting all of our possessions down the hall from one apartment to another and we're still together both physically and emotionally.  It would be a lie to say that some casual threats haven't been flung around, but we're actually having fun with this.  Believe it or not, even moving hasn't propelled us out of the honeymoon stage after more than two years apart.

I made a real effort to call the last apartment "our" apartment and I conferred with Jon before making decor decisions because I wanted him to feel like it was his home, too, but realistically it would have always seemed like mine.  That's why the timing of this move, though unexpected and largely unsought, is perfect; we found out the day Jon arrived that it was an option, picked out paint colors that weekend, and began moving five days later.  And so this apartment, right next door to the first, is technically our first real apartment together as a couple.  What a start to the new year, right?  Talk about moving oneself as the rabbis suggest!

The plan is that we'll stay in this apartment until we can buy our own place.  It'll take a few years, given the state of our savings accounts after months of unemployment (formerly mine and now Jon's until he finds a job in the States), the price of maintaining a transatlantic relationship, and the cost of the visa process, but I'm okay with that.  I mean, I want us to own our home one day, but I'm so glad to be settling down for an extended stay in one place.  It's strange to think that my stint in the last apartment, all 17 months of it, is the longest I've lived at any one address since I graduated from high school.

I've spent years in one city before moving to another, but, like most college students and recent grads, I moved every year or so until my mid-20s.  Since 2004, I've lived in five different rooms in Manhattan, two apartments in Paris, three flats in London, my parents' house in suburban Maryland, and in this building, my current home, in Washington, DC.

Whew!  What a whirlwind.  Jon had been at the flat in North London that he left ten days ago for three years, so he's good at settling in and settling down.  In fact, I think he'll be guest posting here tomorrow to tell you how he feels about the new apartment...

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