Thursday, April 3, 2014

Leaving NYC

So—we've landed.

With two suitcases, one carry-on, and a wee personal item each, and armfuls of flowers for me. The first one from my own mother when I left my country and the second from R's when I arrived in hers. We were also accompanied by very little sleep, heavy-lidded eyes, and hearts that simultaneously felt heavy with the magnitude of our departure and light with the anticipation of our next adventure together.

I can't even begin to tell you what my last 72 hours of living in the country of my birth was like. I've always thought of myself as a bit worldly, but closing the door on the apartment that I'd lived in for 7 years, getting into a car towards JFK knowing that I wouldn't be returning anytime soon, seeing the city skyline glistening under the early evening sun and fading into the distance, and of course, saying goodbye to my parents, was all much harder than I thought it would be.

Even though R did the same 4.5 years ago, I never realized exactly what he went through. I suppose I thought he was an old pro since he left Italy to spend his twenties in Sweden before coming to the U.S. in his thirties. Of course it wasn't easy for him either, it just seemed that way because I hadn't given up anything for us to be together the way he had.

Our friends and family made our last weekend in town special, which of course made it harder to turn around and walk the other way, too. There were extended coffee breaks and strolls in Tribeca, farewell brunches that turned into afternoon desserts that turned into evening shopping sprees, pastries followed by manicure/pedicures, handwritten notes on peacock-designed paper from India and a beautiful framed set of portraits that my friend took of us and our other friends during our "I am here" day in Red Hook.

Still—the final weekend ended. We spent our last night in NYC on the floor of our bedroom (having sold our mattress that evening). Neither of us really slept though, so it didn't matter that we were uncomfortable. Once we were up on our departure day we cleaned the last traces of ourselves from the apartment, FedExed our modem back to our internet provider and saw my parents before turning over our keys, hauling our luggage downstairs and climbing into the back of a black sedan.

I usually don't like to drink or eat before a flight, but a toast had to be had so to a martini bar at the awfully depressing Terminal 1 at JFK we went once we'd huffed our way through security. Then, onto a plane that can only be described as "vintage" for the (admittedly) smooth ride across the ocean. After what seemed like days we finally broke through the clouds to a cold, gray Swedish day.

I was a bit cheered up though when we walked into the pristine airport with beautiful espresso wood floors and chic little immigration booths. Although, back into the grumbles I went when the agent at the border flicked my hard-earned letter permitting me residency away and casually stamped my passport without even a nice "Welcome to Sweden" (the immigration agents at JFK said "Welcome to America" to R when he arrived on his Fiance Visa and they almost always say "Welcome back home" when I return after a trip abroad!).

And so we stepped out of the customs hall and into the embraces of R's mom and her partner before being whisked to their home for hot showers and a salmon (naturally) dinner. Before tucking into bed, though, I put my American Lily into a vase on our bedside table—it and I had both survived the journey over.

Stargazer lillies  |  Leaving NYC on afeathery*nest  |


  1. just reading this i could tell how hard it must have been. i moved to US like 8 years ago and i was young so didnt care too much but now if i have to leave everything behind here and move it will be very hard. its so sweet of R's mom to welcome you guys with flowers. hope you are well rested and ready to explore. xoxo

    1. On the one hand, moving to a new country at a young age like you did must be incredibly scary, but then on the other hand, even more exciting, especially because we're much more resilient when we're little—very adaptable and flexible, compared to when we're adults and settled in our lives.

      And yes—after a good sleep, hot shower and nice few restorative meals, we bounced back quickly after arriving and have been exploring everywhere the last few days. :) Xx

  2. You're such a beautiful writer, J. This post took me back to when Aaron and I moved to San Francisco. The night before we left, we "slept" on the floor in our living room, except I didn't sleep at all. Leaving was much harder than I thought it would be, but it was balanced with excitement and anticipation. Even though SF didn't end up being our home, I'm glad we made the trek. It was a HUGE growing experience for us.

    I'm so excited to follow along on your journey! It takes courage to leave home for a new adventure. xo

    1. So sweet of you to say, thanks, Amanda!

      I wonder if anyone ever sleeps the last night in their soon-to-be-old home. We must all start our new lives incredibly sleep deprived! :)

      I'm glad to have you along for the ride as we start making a home here, thank you for leaving a note! Xx


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