As much as I understand how the wedding ceremony signals the beginning of our life together as husband and wife, I feel like Joey and I really became a permanent adult couple this week. When Joey offered and I accepted that beautiful diamond ring on that beautiful Santa Monica day, we made a commitment to each other. That proposal supposedly was the moment that we officially decided that we were sticking together no matter what, and at the wedding that contract will be sealed.
But this week I moved to Omaha. This week I left New Orleans, the city that I have come to truly love in a way I never would have expected before that first fateful trip five years ago. This week I said goodbye to all the wonderful people and things I have become accustomed to and familiar with and all the opportunities I had yet to explore in that crazy beautiful city with so much hidden below the beaded surface. This week I got in my beloved little red firetruck, the car that has served me faithfully since my first frightened 6am forays behind the wheel onto the streets of Los Angeles, packed up a very confused and concerned kitten, and drove a thousand miles to live in Omaha, Nebraska with the man I love.
To me, this is the commitment. I am taking a huge leap of faith here. I am leaving comfort and familiarity, friends and organizations that I know how to work into my life. I am moving to a place where I know almost nothing and almost no one. I am moving without a job, without the majority of my belongings including furniture (and cooking utensils!), and without a built-in community into which I will fit, like a university. I am moving 100% to be with Joey, who has chosen the University of Nebraska Medical Center as his overlord for the next several years of his life.
There is hope, though; Omaha streets appear to have been laid out by sober city planners and Joey has introduced me to a wonderful new group of friends over the course of the last year of visits. We picked out a great apartment in a safe part of town. My car and my relationship survived the trip from New Orleans through Mississippi (lots of Mississippi), Arkansas, St Louis (where we were able to take advantage of the everlasting HGM family and stay with the inimitable Dean Tambling), Kansas City, lots more Missouri, Iowa, and finally to Omaha. I have job interviews lined up all week, and plan to apply for more, so at least I've got that process started. Joey and I have done a lot of shopping these last two days and now have what I am calling a "minimally functional household". We have a place to sleep, minimal kitchen utensils, and two chairs. Our first night here I made midnight pasta which we ate standing up in the kitchen before collapsing on a sheet on the floor of our bedroom. Our second night, I made miso-glazed salmon from Trader Joe's, brown rice, and steamed green beans, which we ate on newly-purchased dishes with my grandparents' silverware, sitting on newly-purchased patio chairs (thank you, craigslist) on our private balcony before going to sleep on our brand-new mattress in our newly-purchased antique bed. We are definitely moving in a positive direction, and fast.
Last month I was focused on finals and finishing school (turns out, my last semester was the one in which I finally learned to get things done early and earn consistently good grades). Three weeks ago I was focused on packing up and downsizing my New Orleans life. Last week I was hosting my family for graduation while finalizing packing and coordinating my move. Just a few days ago I was putting all my energy into driving (and worrying about the cat, who was nonplussed about the whole thing). This week I am setting up my new home and worrying about things like "where do these bowls go?" and "did we buy a sponge?". Today is my first job interview, for a family looking for a once-a-week babysitter. It's not a long-term career, but it will give me something to do and some new people to meet for at least a little while.
Next week is when the reality of my new life will really sink in. Joey is going off to work in a lab for the summer, and it will be up to me to figure out what I'm doing here. Fortunately, I have the love and support of Joey and, to a lesser extent, Boudreaux. I have a safe place to live and wonderful friends I can turn to, even if they're far away. We're moving forward, and the road ahead may be scary, but it's leading somewhere good.