Montgomery on my Own

Today the sun came out and we enjoyed a bright beautiful Montgomery winter day with temperatures in the low 60s.  It felt like an early April day in New York.  

Yesterday was a gloomy day, and it doesn’t help that my apartment complex sits off a major road that resembles Rt. 9 in New Jersey.  It’s a great location if you need to be close to Home Depot, Winn-Dixie, Lowe’s and Best Buy, but not a very neighborhood-like place.

In the afternoon, we drove to Cloverdale and the Garden District, areas recommended to us for a home. We turned into these curvy, quiet tree-lined streets filled with lovely homes to see people out walking dogs, running and just strolling.  “This is a neighborhood,” Mr. NYer observed, and we both felt a surge of relief and remembered why we thought we’d enjoy living here after all.  

We’d arranged to meet one of my colleagues at Louisa’s Cafe, a coffee shop in the small village across from the independent movie house.  He was bringing my new blackberry, hoping to tether it to my computer so I would have Internet access.  He spent well over an hour, not wanting to admit failure, but alas, the tethering function had not been set up.  First thing this morning, though, he texted me:  I was tethered and should try it out.   It worked.

He was genuinely concerned that I not be disconnected and gave up some hours on a Sunday afternoon to come help me out.  That felt good, as did the FB comments appearing on my phone from friends encouraging me to have faith.  Thanks to all.  This is going to be tougher than I thought, but that’s mainly because I tried not to think about how tough it would be.  Denial is powerful, and often useful, but it doesn’t last forever.

This morning, I dropped Mr. NYer at the airport for his flight home.  It was a heavy-hearted parting, with me fighting panic (I need an escape plan!), and with him worried that I wouldn’t feed myself properly.  I have a tendency not to eat much when I’m anxious.

I drove into the nice neighborhood again and called the one person I knew from before.  The person who made me aware of this job is a professional colleague — and friend — whom I’ve known for over ten years.  He asked me to be a reference when he was applying for a position here, and one thing led to another … and now we’re both here.  And for the second time in a decade, I’m his boss. 

TR (not to be confused with the former prez) said, “I’m so glad you called!  Come on over.”   We gave each other a big hug, and he gave me a tour of his new house — the first house he’s ever owned.

TR loves change and has lived around the world, from Turkey to Saudi Arabia to Indonesia.  For him, change of locale is easy; putting down roots not so much.  Buying the house for him is a lot like moving is for me — terra incognito.  He’s waiting until summer for his partner to join him, so he’s struggled some with separation as well.  

I met TR’s cats and was glad to hear that their arrival had helped him feel at home.   After we caught up we decided to take a walk through this beautiful and gracious historical enclave.   In the sunlight, everything feels good.   TR suggested stopping in at the house of a friend of his, which we did.

Ms. Atlantic City is the first person I’ve ever met who born and raised in that New Jersey shore town.   She’s lived in the south for many years, in Atlanta, then Florida and, for the last six years or so in Montgomery.  TR said, “You’re going to love her.”  And I did.   We talked houses (I have my eyes on one across the street from hers), gardens, and personal stories.  

When I came to Montgomery for the first time, back in October, I dined with future colleagues, none of whom were from the area.  Mr NYer and I jokingly referred to it as the “ex-pat” dinner.  In fact, there is a substantial community here of “ex-pats” who seem to find each other.  It helps that they all seem to live in either Old Cloverdale or the Garden District.  I’m told that sooner or later I will meet most of them, and because of the nearby Air Force College, more arrive constantly all the time.  

Now I’m back at the apartment, getting ready soon to go out to dinner with my new boss.   So the evening will pass, and I’ll head into work tomorrow.  I just found out that they start at 8 am, and I’m in a small state of shock about that.  But I still won’t have to get up any earlier than I did when I commuted to Soho.

Tonight I will miss Mr. NYer, whom I clung to for the last two nights as if he were the only life preserver in a rough sea.  I’ll pretend I’m just on a business trip and try to enjoy having the entire bed to myself. 

I took photos once we entered Alabama and will put them up in another post.

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4 Responses

  1. whew !!!..this reminds me of the constant flow of communication I received from my sister,Alex, who is now head of the UNICEF office for Moldova (between the Ukraine and Romania) and the region, She moved to the capitol, Chisinau, without her partner who was still tying things up in their Gramercy park apt. not speaking a word of Romanian and only a little Russian, she was utterly disheartened for the first couple of weeks.

    They are now so well settled and happy there, in their own ex-pat community ( US, UK, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, SA…etc) that I haven’t heard a peep from her about wanting hto be transferred to South America or J-burg, where she’d originally hoped to be placed.

    Sounds like you’re making some rapid inroads..

  2. You sound much better today — I was concerned by your last couple of posts so I am glad you are beginning to feel more comfortable in your new surroundings. Good luck tomorrow — I’m looking forward to hearing about your first day on the new job.

    • Yes, I’m better today. I’m working hard on making this work. But I’ve never been good at anticipating just how lousy I’m going to feel. If I were, I’d probably never do anything.
      Tell Peter that House of a Thousand Grits is good.

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