There was no backing out now, all my worldly possessions, if you can call plates from Linen’s and Things and towels from Target worldly possessions, had been packed in boxes labeled 1 to 76; how Devin and I have accumulated 76 boxes of stuff I have no idea. And that’s even after I had given away tons of decorations, wine glasses, and patio furniture to my sisters and coworkers. Our one way tickets to Newark had been booked, and a lease was signed on our new apartment. The day had finally arrived- Devin and I would be leaving California to start a new adventure together in New Jersey.
This day had been 10 months in the making; although, ever since the first time I went to New York, in 2006, I had dreamed of living there for a few years before I got settled into a house, and started having kids. The company that Devin and I worked for wanted to open an office on the East Coast, and having recently obtained my degree and already being interested in moving out to New York I was the obvious choice to spearhead the move. So the researching and planning started. We developed a business plan, took several trips out to New Jersey to look at office buildings, picked the one we liked, got the company to sign a lease, started buying furniture, picking paint and carpet colors, and planned the grand opening. Honestly all by myself with no help or direction from the company I, a 24 year-old, was given absolute control over hundreds of thousands of dollars, thankfully for them it was a success.
So it had all boiled down to this, the office was ready to go, my bags packed and it was time to say goodbye to all our family and friends. It was a bittersweet moment, I mean I had wanted this, no one had forced me to move, yet I was leaving so much behind. Space for one- I mean in California Devin and I lived with my little sister in Huntington Beach in a two bedroom townhouse that had two patios, a garage, walk-in closets, and an attic- In New Jersey we were lucky to find an apartment with a bedroom large enough to fit our queen sized bed, and two people in the kitchen at the same time forget about it! Our beach cruisers- I mean I guess we could have taken our bikes, but there’s nowhere to store them because like I said our apartment lacks space, and it’s not only the bikes- we were giving up the beach. Southern California has great beaches and I lived less than a mile away from one of the best in Huntington – now my nearest beach would be 40 minutes away and the beaches just aren’t the same. And year around beach going temperatures would no longer exist- now I would be faced with shoveling snow.
But at the same time I was gaining so much. Big city life, being able to go out at all hours of the night and see activity- people walking around, cabs honking, lights flickering, a city that really never sleeps. Seasons- I could actually see the trees changing colors in the fall, the flowers and bushes coming back to life in the spring, and the wonderful peacefulness of the snowy winters. No longer having to have a designated driver- with such good, reliable public transportation both Devin and I could go out and have a great time drinking together; instead of the usual one person gets wasted while the other sober one gets mildly annoyed at the other because they are drunk and acting stupid. And I could finally live somewhere else outside of California and actually choose where I want to live and settle down. While I love California, I never chose to live there, my parents didn’t even choose to live there nor did their parents; with both my grandparents immigrating into the country in the 50’s they went to live wherever their sponsor lived, which happened to be in California. I could now go out explore the world and actively make the choice where I wanted to live- and I do believe that California will always be my home.
Packing up the 76 boxes I mentioned earlier took several weeks. A lifelong procrastinator I couldn’t pack more than a box a day, its amazing how side tracked you can get looking through old photos instead of just packing them up; coupled with my old standby excuse of “needing it out”, because I couldn’t dare not have the potato peeler easily accessible. Well as you can imagine the necessities that we would pack very last ended up being our whole apartment; which lead to us bubble wrapping and taping boxes up as the movers were knocking at our door to load everything. Once we were finally done and our apartment was completely empty Devin and I toasted with a swig of champagne (remember all the dishes were packed) and sat on the ground eating our last meal in our California home.
We weren’t flying out that night, we had decided to stay a few days in California with our families and still had a bit of loose ends to tie. There were our appliances I couldn’t get rid of on Craigslist which found their new home with Devin’s grandparents, and all the things I just couldn’t part with, yet no longer had room for in my place, which filled up my childhood bedroom. Despite being exhausted and ready for bed we couldn’t just get on the road- see while Devin went to grab our dinner I had let our cat, Bandit, out into the backyard. She was so freaked when the movers came and cleared the place and had nowhere to hide that I thought the backyard would calm her down- usually she would roll around and get into a tranquil like state after sniffing and chewing on the plants. Well that was a terrible mistake on my part, for not realizing the freaked out cat would run away… oops
I went outside to call her back several times, I put some food out (she comes running at the sound of Friskies being poured), but still nothing. I walked all around the block searching in every bush and under ever car, yet no signs of the cat. So we sat and waited and finally like two hours later she sneakily crawled back into the backyard and all I could do was smirk at Devin and tell him to save the lecture, she had come back!
We spent the last of our days hanging out with family and friends; we had already had three going away parties, one with our coworkers, one with Devin’s family and our friends from the orange county area, and then with my family and our friends from Murrieta. We had celebrated our leaving so many times that it had just become no big deal in my mind- and I had one last celebration to go before leaving, Lorenn’s Bachelorette party. That was amazing and you can read all about it.
Sunday I left the bachelorette party early in the morning so I could make the drive back to Murrieta, wash the last of my clothes, and re-pack my bags while barbecuing with my parents, grandparents, and Devin’s dad. We had already said goodbye to Devin’s mom which was sad and had me shedding a few tears, but because we weren’t boarding the plane was a bit easier. Saying goodbye to everyone all at once and then getting in the car with my suitcases in the trunk had me bawling my eyes out. The drive to the airport in San Diego with my parents was surreal; looking out the window passing all the buildings that were so familiar yet would soon be so foreign to me.
We got to the airport and checked in showing our licenses the last time as Californians. I hugged and kissed my parents goodbye one last time and fought back the tears as my dad told Devin to take care of me. I can’t even find the words to explain how I was feeling, sad yet anxious and excited at the same time with a dash of nervous. Devin and I didn’t talk much that night- I think we were both too lost in our heads dealing with our own emotions. Our flight was a red-eye so we would wake up in the morning in our new home state.
We had chosen the town of Hoboken, New Jersey to call home. It’s right across the Hudson River from New York so on any given night you can see the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and One World Trade Center. It has direct access to New York via the Path Subway and takes about 15 minutes to get there, or a ridiculously expensive cab ride (they won’t run the meter and jack up the fares, for a distance less than a mile you end up paying $10 a 1/5 mile as opposed to .40c) yet is on the Jersey side so that we could get to the office easily and inexpensively (the tolls are $12 which I can’t fathom paying each day if we were to live in New York). There are tons of bars and restaurants to eat at as well as cute boutiques along the main street of Washington. We found a cute brownstone right next to the park where the first game of baseball was ever played, and we have tons of windows with natural light shining through, which is a rarity in these parts; most people are lucky to have one window at the front of their apartment making the rest seem dark and cave like. Hoboken is considered a mini-Manhattan and is the place to be in New Jersey.
We had scheduled our stuff to arrive on Wednesday so that we would have a day to get acquainted with where we were living and rested before diving into unpacking, but according to some unknown asterisk in the contract our stuff wouldn’t actually leave California until the day we said we were ready for it. So basically our stuff had been sitting in some storage facility somewhere and would be delayed a week until it got to us; so we went to Target bought a blow-up mattress and some pillows and made our makeshift apartment. Finally a week later all our 76 boxes arrived, and I was so thankful to have movers carrying it up the three sets of stairs and not to have to do it myself.
We were in the middle of a heat wave, it was 103 degrees outside, and the heat here isn’t a dry heat but a very wet, humid heat. Not only was it hot and humid but our building lacks central air and we hadn’t quite realized the importance of the window air conditioning unit (that was probably the last day we didn’t have one) so our poor movers were dripping wet carrying all our things, again better them than me!
We jumped in and started unpacking and much to my horror I discovered something broken in just about every box I opened. I seriously have never seen so much broken glass in my life. Some of it was due to my poor packing, which was sticking something inside of the glass vase, even though they were both bubble wrapped or stacking the cups inside one another and wrapping them as a group, and the others were from the handling of the movers. Your stuff gets loaded and unloaded off the truck several times in the transition, for example our stuff was loaded into a small truck in Huntington Beach, driven up to LA where it was unloaded into a warehouse until our call date, where it was reloaded onto a large truck along with other people’s stuff to travel cross-country, where it was unloaded in New York and then reloaded onto a small truck to be delivered to our apartment where it was finally unloaded into our place, if you are following along our stuff was moved a total of seven times. Needless to say our boxes were in pretty bad shape, several looking like someone climbed ten stories and then dropped them off the roof. Nothing that broke was irreplaceable or extremely valuable to me, and since we were downsizing anyway I saw it as a sign that we didn’t really need it.
We finally got our stuff settled in and started to explore the city since we were both working from home while the office build outs were being completed. We were able to eat at a few different places and get used to our new city and even get our New Jersey driver’s licenses.
And because I am such a procrastinator and am just now writing about my July move in March I am happy to report both Devin and I are loving life out here, are enjoying our first winter (although it is extremely mild and we have yet to be hit with a snow storm; it has only snowed three times, each time just a few inches) and are enjoying taking in the sites of the city, and exploring the East Coast from the tip of Maine, to the Jersey Shore, to Gettysburg. There is still tons more we want to do here and it’s great because we got plenty of time.
It was a memorable move and I am so glad that Devin was there to help me through it and experience it with me because it’s not every day you pick up and move from Coast to Coast.
That’s my story…
Peace & Love