Wednesday, February 16, 2005

papaya, pt. 2

Looks like I won’t be enjoying the fruits of that papaya tree after all…

Yesterday morning at work, after checking the office email account, I thought to check one of my own email accounts that I hadn’t checked at home. I had a message from my landlord (she only lives upstairs but we almost always communicate via email). She’s asked us to vacate our condo by March 31. Her mother’s sight is failing rapidly and they want to move her down here from the States since she‘ll be unable to drive or live independently. They want to put her into our unit.

We certainly understand. After all, my own mother has a pretty serious vision disability. And this wasn’t a total shock--they had mentioned it might be a possibility at some point. We just didn’t realize it was going to happen so soon. I think we held out hope that they wouldn’t need our unit until after we’d headed back to the States (probably early next year).

I was shocked to get the news, and instantly felt a little teary. It's hard for me to imagine living somewhere else on this island, even though we lived in two other houses before this place. It's not so much the condo itself (although it's a nice place) but the setting, and the privacy and peace and quiet we've enjoyed here.

I called the boyfriend to break the news. He was rather quiet, but assured me it would all work out. He said we could find a cheaper place to save even more money this year. I immediately began scouring the want ads in the paper. But then it dawned on me that if we move from the golf course we'd have to buy a second car, since he'd no longer be able to walk to and from work. And we'd also need to buy a bunch of furniture, since we don't own any--we lease the place fully furnished. And of course I'd have to immediately find full-time work to help pay for all of that stuff. But I kept reminding myself it was still do-able. After all, he'd said he wanted to stay through this year. But he called me back a short while later and said, "Let's just go. I'm ready to go." And suddenly that seemed the best decision. Why spend all that money on a second car and a houseful of furniture when we'd just have to turn around and try to sell it in less than a year, and probably for a lot less than what we paid for it? Better to take those funds and resettle somewhere else. Besides, we've been here five years and we're ready for a change. So within half an hour of seeing the landlord's email, we decided to head to the States instead. Although we've been looking at other areas, we decided our best bet was to head toward my brother and his family in California. We can use that as a jumping-off point. We'll see how we feel about being in California (home for me and a place the boyfriend loves) and decide what feels right once we get there.

I phoned my mother (in California) at lunchtime to give her the news. She's beyond excited. She called back awhile later to say she'd just heard on TV that Delta had started a price war, so we might luck out on our fares. By the time I got home from work, the boyfriend had been to countless travel sites and found a very reasonable Delta fare for one-way tickets to Sacramento. (The Sacramento airport is 20-30 minutes east of my brother's house.) We decided to jump on it and bought tickets for March 31.

We called my brother's family. They're, of course, thrilled. My sister-in-law's mother was scheduled to move in with them temporarily at the end of this month. But she called my sister-in-law yesterday to say she's not moving in--she's found a place she can afford. But my oldest niece's room had already been cleared out (my nieces were going to share a room). I suppose it's no accident that my sister-in-law was in full prep mode for someone to move into one of their four bedrooms...she just wasn't expecting it to be us. (The 'coincidence' of her mother's phone call followed by ours was not lost on her.) :) She graciously said we can stay with them for a couple of months if we want/need to. They have busy lives and we don't want to impose, but it gives us some breathing room to know that we don't have to find a place right away. We can chill for a few weeks, scope out the area (an area I already know) and see if California feels right or whether we want to look at another area.

So we've got six weeks to dismantle our lives here and get ready for a new adventure. The boyfriend was pushing for us to sell most of our stuff, but then I reminded him of replacement value. Seems silly to sell stuff for maybe a fifth of what we paid for it (if that), just to turn around and buy it at full price on the other end. His idea was to sell as much as we can and then mail the rest. But having done the Priority Mail thing shipping boxes down here, I'm not anxious to do it again. Because these post offices are really funky...lord knows when it would show up. I think we've decided instead to let Viking handle it. We box it up, they pick it up and put it on a container, and deliver it to a storage place on the other end (if we so choose). That seems like the best solution. And if we have them pick up the stuff to be shipped about a week before we leave, we can spend our last week pretending we're on vacation. Remember, we live in a fully furnished place, so all we need are some clothes, toiletries and (of course!) the laptop.

I finish at my job next Friday, the 25th. My Portland pal arrives on the 26th and departs March 6th. She scheduled her trip last year when we thought we'd be moving to California (at the end of March!) She was going to help me pack...looks like she still can. :)

Boyfriend is going to give two weeks notice tomorrow at his job at the golf course. He's been there 4-1/2 years. I'm sure they'll be sorry to see him go. I don't think it's a stretch to say that he's probably their most conscientious employee.

As I've posted many times before, I often walk on the beach after work. Yesterday I asked the boyfriend if he wanted to join me. He surprised me by saying yes. We took a leisurely stroll and reiminisced about our time here. Something tells me he might be joining me more often from here on out. It's hard to believe that we'll only be able to enjoy Magens Bay for another six weeks.

I felt teary as we walked. We've been through so much here, individually and together. I thanked him for bringing me here, even though I came kicking and screaming, and told him it's been a life-changing experience. It has been, just not in the ways I would have even better ways.

I'm so grateful to all of you who've entered my life through this blog. You've given me so much friendship and support and laughter and joy this last year-and-a-half. I'll decide down the road whether to keep Island Fever going once we're stateside--maybe it'll be time for a new blog to go with a new chapter in our lives. We'll see. But for now, I'll still be here...and hope you will be, too.


Blogger Pam said...

Meet the blogosphere, the most portable of communities. You want to put your people in a suitcase and take them with you where ever you go? Well through the magic of technology, it's almost like you can.

Talk about your serendipitous timing - the tickets, the housing, the family opening space... sometimes you gotta pay attention and just jump.

Here's to easy transitions and taking all the right stuff with you when you go.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Katherine said...

. . THAT IS FABULOUS NEWS!!!!! Oh the million and one ways that Life takes care of us when it wants us to get going . . . you guys are going to be fine . . . I am soooooo pleased for you :)

10:22 AM  
Blogger Michele said...

Wow, I'm always so amazed when I see fate so clearly at work.
And I love Pam's comment. I hope you put me in your suitcase!

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

holy moving companies, batman!! I'm dumbfounded by this post. WOW! I can understand your mixed feelings, though, that's for sure. On to another adventure! ~lizardek

2:28 PM  
Anonymous kat said...

wow!! what a big change for you! i'm glad you're just going with the flow which is awesome. and how nice for all of your family!

i don't blame you for feeling a little teary at the thought of leaving this part of your life behind. but if you were both needing a change, then life has certainly provided it. i'm cheering you on!

and yes, yes! take us with you...california fever? ;-)

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Serendipity, fate, chaos theory - whatever someone wants to call it, when the pieces fall together to make such an interesting pattern you just have to step back for a minute, take a long look at the map that's just been created for you, and figure out how you're going to follow it.

I think this is another adventure on an amazing journey. Sometimes for them to happen, you just need a little kick in the pants. And sometimes those kicks come from landlords (man, have I got a landlord story like this for you - let's just say without a goofy landlord who spied on Swedish exchange students I'd be a lawyer today. Long story).

I'm very happy for you, and I can't wait to see how it all turns out.

1:23 AM  
Blogger Will said...

Wow, a guy doesn't read a blog for a couple of days and all the sudden the world turns upside down.

If this were a network program I would say that you were just playing for the sweeps! But this is life, which can be so much more interesting than fiction (that's why I read weblogs).

I'm with Kat, please take us with you to Calie. Pretty please. Blogger let's you change the title so easily that it wouldn't be anything to change the title to a "California Fever" or whatever. And if people get confused as to why the URL still says Island Fever, you can tell them that California IS an island, you know, sort of metaphorically speaking.

Ok, whatever. Just take us with you. I'll be here as long as you are.

Godspeed. :-)

8:15 PM  

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