Everything is just about packed and out now. The truck came yesterday morning to pick up the larger pieces; I took a carload of smaller things to work for temporary storage before redistributing them in a few days.
Frustratingly, I had some vandalism in the back yard while I was at work yesterday. Nothing major and the house wasn’t broken into, but it may have been a reaction to the truck’s departure.
I talked with my landlord and there isn’t much to do: the neighbors are not apologizing and still have keys that they took. She suggests that I just pack and go, likely a day earlier than I’d hoped.
I just want to leave without incident, but it’s becoming harder.
A friend and I were reflecting over a beer about how we choose a place to live. It’s aspirational: we want a better life, proximity to family, friends, and opportunities, someplace that we think we’ll fit into and build a new life.
There’s always a leap of faith in moving someplace unfamiliar. I trust that the house is sound, the setting peaceful, the neighbors congenial with values and outlooks that I share. And the first year is a test, reaching out, making social connections, finding friends, exchanging favors. Eventually, I do feel like part of the community, recognizing folks and joining events. And most everyone was very welcoming and inclusive.
Village life had a lot to offer, and I’m happy to have had the experience. Most people had deep roots and a lot of pride in the homes and relationships along the Green. I’ll miss the sports matches, the social gatherings, the lazy twilights talking and laughing over a good meal or a drink in the yard.
I’d hoped for more of the Cambridge experience in living here, but 10 km is a surprisingly big distance. I can chase up people and academic lectures, join Formal Halls and festivals, attend theater performances, Chase evenings, and Chemistry Department Christmas tastings (all wonderful). But I’ve learned that I’m not really a part of the University unless I’m in the University.
So, I made a celebratory dinner and toasted the life I’m leaving tomorrow.
Then, onward as ever with the 13 boxes that make up an expat’s ‘home’ and and optimism for the future.