Sunday, September 26, 2010

The one where I pretend I really want to bake muffins

Living in a new city is always a bit of a humbling experience.

You never think of it that way, of course, when you are leaving. That is the time where every spare moment is crammed full of the people you are expecting to miss. When you're leaving, it suddenly seems rational to invite people to assist in wrapping plates in newspaper while you are wearing sweatpants, when in any other month, the same request would be a little tactless. And people, because they expect to miss you, volunteer for such ridiculous tasks as fishing cardboard boxes out of the recycling bins behind a Pottery Barn. They pepper you with hugs and goodbye gifts. You leave the city with your head foggy from a dizzying mixture of gratitude, excitement and wistfulness.

The first few days in your new home are dizzying yet again, but this time from the sheer number of baking dishes and pyjamas you own, and how boxes seem to be exponentially multiplying every time you turn around. Finally, you pause.

And realize how you know absolutely no one.*

When you were leaving, you knew this fact. But you tell yourself things like "Yeah, it'll be kind of weird, but I'm independent, so I'll manage."

And you do manage.
And you go to parties and say hi to your neighbours.
But you still have those humbling nights, the ones where you convinced yourself that you really did want a Friday night alone because when was the last time you baked muffins.
And you aren't sure who to call when things feel a just little empty.

You also wonder when making friends got so systematic. In high school, you just somehow had friends. Suddenly, you're questioning yourself.
"Is it too soon for me to call them? Should I add them on Facebook? What does 'we should hang out sometime' mean?"**

But you expected this, in a way. What you didn't expect is how lonely you are by virtue of lack of contact from home. When you were leaving, everyone was waxing on about keeping in touch.

But for them, you are just one person, while for you, they are everyone. So it's easy for them to not respond to emails right away. Yet its easy for you to count the people who haven't responded to your emails, and feel that number weighing on you. As though you expected your absence would change everything for them, when really, it's only changing everything for you.***


*Okay, that line was a little over dramatic. To be fair, I do casually know a couple people here- oh, and that handsome dude I moved here with.

** I actually discussed this experience with a handful of people who were also new in town. We all laughed about being 'friend desperate'.

*** I feel as though this is all coming off a little more pessimistic than is genuine. This city has actually been remarkably friendly, and relationships are developing at about the speed one could really expect. However, I think what really stands out is the act of 'getting to know' a lot of people, but not really knowing anyone just yet, if that makes sense.


Caz said... is hilarious and definitely cheered me up as I was going through the friendship hunt in my new city. love it!

eric1313 said...

Good to see you back!

When I moved to Hot Springs, AR, I felt the same way. The difference was I had a friend who had moved there, and he and his wife were kind enough to allow me to camp out on their sofa for a couple weeks until i had a job and a place to go. And luckily, it did not take very long.

It also helped that I was able to meet lots of people and developed a lot of friendships with people who will welcome me back any time. I also met many girls and had quite a lively love life.

Why did I come back home to Detroit? I missed everyone, family and friends. Mom had surgery and I helped out too. But other than that, coming back home here was a mistake. There is nothing else here for me.

Good thing I'm now confident that I can survive almost anywhere. That was the greatest part of the move, that I learned to truly rely on myself in all matters.

Hope you and the Duke are doing well. It's good to hear back from you. Your voice has been missed.

Mandy said...

I agree with the first comment suggesting Rachel's blog. Its such a well written blog about finding new friends in a new city.

In the mean time, know that it takes times to really get to know those new people. Maybe schedule a fun game night once a week or something for a month or so. I bet those friendly strangers turn into friends!

Arielle said...

I think everything about the last paragraph is so very apt. The thing about you being one person and everyone at home being, well, everyone? Totally felt that before.

choochoo said...

I was prepared for things like that to be a bit weird and I thought about it a lot before I moved. But then it turns out that moving to a different country is nothing like moving to a new city. Go figure. But hey, at least there's cake.

secretlysupergirl said...

Making friends is hard. I don't know how we did it when we were kids. These days, I find myself having to make friends all the time due to others moving, and it's simply exhausting.

Jessica (Bayjb) said...

Aww love this post. You're right in that moving to a new city and finding that new balance and dynamic with new people is really tough. I'm glad you have the BF though, doing it alone is MUCH harder!

accidentallygraceful said...

Oh gosh. I hear this all too well. I've been here for five months, and there's only one person I feel comfortable regularly hanging out with and doing things with. The others tend to be people who I meet by virtue of them being friends/coworkers/kickball team members of my roommate's...

Daisy said...

It makes sense to me :) But that's because I up and moved across the whole world to a county where I didn't know anyone.

It doesn't matter how friendly the city is - it's still hard to re-adjust and fill the gaps from the old life.

xoxo! Good luck

Abbey said...

I wandered the city tonight looking at potential apartments and found a bunch of new places I want to try out to eat...then I realized I don't actually have friends to eat out with...or the boyfriend. What started as a pretty cool evening ended as a little sad. Also, was sort of counting on a call from someone from home tonight that never happened. I know people from the old city miss me, but I know they don't know how much I wait for their calls, emails, and text for a little human contact in my day.

cdp said...

We've been unpacking for two months now. There are still bins and boxes everywhere.

Just last night, I fished my miniature muffin pan out of a large bin of cooking items and granted it its very own shelf in the kitchen, thinking I might want to make some mini muffins or cupcakes this weekend while the kids are gone (and I'm ALONE).

So, yeah. I feel you, sister.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Yeah, this makes sense. I know th feeling.

But I think you're doing better than I did when I moved to Perth in Western Australia a few years back.

That was a disaster.

Mega said...

I'd say that its going to be much cooler when I come to visit, then again your prescense makes the hood hit a level of coolness that cannot be achieved.

eric1313 said...

Now tell us the one where you realized (realised?? in queen's english, methinks...) that muffins are best when shared with people you barely knew prior to the event... (and not a silly FB 'event' where you have to go through the list of faces and not pick the people who live 1000 miles (errrrr, kilometers, in actual measurement, lmfao) away from you.

Hmmmm... perhaps that's a bit hard hitting. Still, would love to see you back, so therefore, I'm sending this little note of encouragement to a fellow blogger who always has something to say that is worth reading.

LiLu said...

"But for them, you are just one person, while for you, they are everyone."

It's been a long time since I moved to a new place, but that's *so exactly IT*. I think it applies to a few different scenarios in life, as well. Love.

Tiff said...

I wish I knew what it was like to move to a new city. I've been stuck in Hawaii all my life :(

Kudos to you. Leaving (I'd assume?) is the hardest part :).

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eric1313 said...

Go Canucks!!!

Yes I said that seriously! I know that in the new era of hockey Vancouver is actually a bigger rival than the hated Avs, but after the wretched squids , errr, sharks of san jose, beat my beloved Wings, my friends and I all decided only a Canadian team from the west was suitable to root for. That fell on the Canucks.

Hope you and yours are enjoying these epic games.

eric1313 said...

damnit, sorry to jinx the guys. Guess there's always next year.