After seven and a half years, we are leaving Newton. We moved here with a just-4 year old, a 1 year old, a pregnant belly and a kitty. We first lived at 31 Miller Rd, where we rented for 18 months as we got our bearings. While we originally thought we could get to know the area from Miller Rd and later buy a house wherever we wanted to be, we learned that we wanted to be exactly in our neighborhood.
On a run, Matt saw an open house sign at a house on the field. It hadn’t come up on our search, because it was listed under-value. He did a quick tour, called me and told me to run over. I had about five minutes to run through it before the agent left. We got approved for a mortgage that day, put in an offer later in the day, a few back and forths, and out of 21 bids, ours was accepted the next day. That set up our life in Newton.
Being in our home, in our neighborhood and our community has been wonderful for us. It was really hard to break into Newton and find friends who had space in their lives for us while we were at Temple Shalom, where the kids first went to preschool. That first winter we were here - we moved in December - was the winter there was 100" of snow. It was awful and lonely. It took a few years, but once we met more people, started at Bowen Elementary school, met our neighbors and found friends, we finally built our village. Our people and our life over the last few years – honestly even in covid - have been idyllic. Kids playing outside with friends from the neighborhood, walking to school and activities, lake a few minutes away, amazing grocery store/s, people who fill our life, the nicest neighbors, hiking close by – genuinely it’s been a wonderful daily life in Newton.
Leaving our house and that life has felt very sad. This is the house where our kids have become people. Their rooms were where they learned to sleep through the night, experienced the pandemic and learning on zoom, read books together at bedtime, played games at the tables and on the floor, spent endless time in the back yard, on the patio and on the field. These are our memories and their early childhood, and now the stage is sealed. Over. Walking into the house after it was emptied, especially the bedrooms literally took my breath away. (We are not selling the house. We are renting it out. We genuinely plan to be back.)
As my friend, Caroline said, “it’s only sad because it was so good.” It was so so good. I love our house. Our neighborhood. Our neighbors. Our community. Our life.
I am pretty tired from the pandemic and being the primary parent of three children for the last seven years. Matt works and travels a lot. I sort of just want to stay home and read books and never leave again. I try to remember how our life was in Singapore, traveling all the time, experiencing new things, meeting new people, and it all exhausts me to even think about. Yet when we lived in Singapore, our friends' kids who were functional people were so cool. They understood so much and thought about different things. We said we wanted to make sure our kids lived their lives abroad a bit. Get some perspective and gain some resilience and see some shit. But gosh, now that we have three kids, it's so much harder, and again, I'm just so so tired.
We realized that it's now or never. Samara will be in high school in three years, and we didn't want to move our kids in high school (ideally). Matt's work makes sense from London. He covers countries in the Middle East and Africa for his company. London doesn't have a language barrier (for the most part). It's a place we have been a bit, experienced some of the language and culture from travel and Singapore (Singapore was British), and I decided I could muster enough energy to make this happen. So the plan is to move to London for three years.
When we recognized London was a real possibility, the kids applied to the American School in London (and they also finished applications for Southbank International School, but we didn't pay the hefty fee of something like 300 pounds per kid, so they didn't officially apply - this was just in case ASL didn't work out, though if we were planning to live abroad for many years, I would have chosen this school. The curriculum is so damn cool and I bet it makes for some super neat and functional kids.). ASL has an American curriculum, so transitioning back and forth from their schools in Newton will probably be as smooth as possible, given an international move. It was also recommended by our good friends there and other friends here, so this decision has driven when we leave (next Tuesday), where we plan to live (somewhere around St John's Wood area) and will strongly influence our experience in London. ASL gets something like 300 new students each year, so they have major infrastructure for welcoming new families. They have a huge document on how to get settled in London. They pair us with welcoming families. They have new family meet ups and coffees. This is exactly what I need at my sadly tired stage.
In terms of logistics, two and a half weeks ago we had everything taken out of our house that we plan to ship to London. This included our beds, kitchen table, toys, some clothes, dishes and kitchen stuff, a small couch, bikes, bedding etc. It was supposed to go on a container last week and get shipped to London to arrive in the beginning of September. This did not happen. It is now schedule to get into a container on 28th Aug and arrive at end of September, but we are not optimistic.
Last week we had everything else taken out - some items to send in an air shipment (mostly clothes and some games) and everything to store (couch that's too big for a London home, ping pong table, grandfather clock, dressers and random shit), which we will get back when we move back into our house. My car is currently full of photo albums, cabbage patch dolls and documents that we will keep in Michigan. Everything else will fly with us to London next week.
I am in Cleveland for some serious Vilensky time and then we are in MI with grandparents for a week. Back to Boston for two days, and we fly next Tuesday to London. We have an air bnb for 40 nights (I emailed them to see if we can extend, given our sea shipment situation, but we haven't heard back). School starts 8/31 with orientation on the 30th.
Off we go...
And two other updates:
Camp: Elie and Samara went to Camp Ramah in Canada. Elie went for 2 weeks and Samara for 3.5 Elie came back last week and LOVED it. It blew his mind. Not sure if he will go back (we are specifically not asking this question for a few months), but he absolutely loved it. So much so that he didn't open 90% of the letters sent to him. "Why would I want to sit and read a letter when I could be playing with my friends."
Samara (trying out Sam for the summer) is still there, and I know they had a rough start, but then decided to stay. I genuinely have NO IDEA if they're having fun or how they're doing, but we will find out Thursday.
My leg: I was on crutches only for three weeks. Then I could walk in the boot with crutches. Then I could walk in the boot without crutches. Then I slowly started ditching the boot at the end of July. Now I can totally walk. I can even go for a walk. It's taking a lot of time and effort to get my muscle back, but it's coming back. Doc said I can play tennis sometime in October or November. It's slow, but it's getting better.