(in the taxi from LaGuardia to our hotel in Manhattan on the night we arrived)
While I am packing up a box of bathroom supplies right now (Saturday), I am imagining what my “homecoming” to Oregon will be like.
I am imagining myself running, slow-mo style, towards my dad for a hug. Then, bursting out of the double doors into the fresh cool air with my arms spread open. Lastly, I will twirl around with my arms out and roll in the grass like a spring pony!
Or…something like that. There is a good chance that I will actually limp towards my Dad, covered in bodily fluids, lollipop stickiness, and sweat, and mutter “Let’s go. NOW.”
But, I’m hoping for the twirly-pony thing; aren’t you?
Anyway, my point is, as I am looking towards this transition, I can’t help but think of my first night on our move HERE. To New York City.
Want to hear about?
Well, you’re in luck, because I want to tell it and this here seems to be a blog named after me!
When we landed in LaGuardia, I craned my neck to see out the window. No luck! We were in the back seat of the plane, and the only window was the next aisle up. No breathtaking first glimpse of the big city for me!
We deplaned and waited in a crowded terminal for our luggage. Already I was in the presence of more “minority groups” that I had been for the previous 3 years we spent in Idaho. I couldn’t help but notice that Joseph was staring at a few.
Did I mention that we had no one to meet us at the airport? So, while Brian was hauling our huge suitcases off of the turnstile, I was looking around and thinking- “I know NO ONE in this city of six million people.”
We loaded suitcases onto our stroller and maneuvered our way outside into the muggy September air. Already I could hear horns honking, Hollywood-style. And it smelled like…a city. A BIG BIG city.
Making our way over to the taxi cab area, we noticed that there was NO WAY all of our bags and car seats were fitting in a normal taxi. We had to wait while hundreds of taxis circled through the pick up area until we could flag down a wheelchair accessible van-taxi.
Then, we headed into Manhattan.
I had never seen so many people or buildings in my life! Just person after person after person and huge apartment building sky scrapers sandwiched next to each other.
The horns were louder now, and some of them were coming from our own taxi driver as he muttered about others on the road.
I glanced over at my sweet, innocent little Idaho babies, who were staring out the window wide-eyed.
Brian pointed down a row of buildings towards a bright day-time glow. “That’s Times Square” he whispered back to me and stretched to see the glare of so many neon lights that they boggled my mind.
We arrived at the hotel, and unloaded our luggage into the room. (I remember looking around and thinking- what am I going to do with the boys HERE for a month?!) (PS: It ended up being two)
Then, we set off walking down the dark city streets to find ourselves some dinner.
I had Isaac strapped to me, and I couldn’t help but feel that he was my little shield, my security blanket, as we passed by hundreds of people; no two alike, and many looking like nothing I had ever seen before.
The sidewalk was pockmarked with old gum, and just when I was looking down at them, I felt the sidewalk rumble. A terrorist attack? An earthquake? I looked up to Brian who smiled reassuringly and said, “That’s just the subway” just as a blast of hot stagnicity blew up from a vent into my face.
A few moments later a cockroach (the only one I have actually seen during our stay here- although I didn’t know that then!) ran across the street and into the subway grate.
And the noise! So much noise! People and music and cars and yelling and…while I felt the buzz of excitement from the city, I couldn’t help but look at my little family and think
“What in the world have I done?”
It got a lot better after that first day, and, other than going a bit crazy in a hotel room for so long, I really did enjoy my stay in the city.
I would not wish that first night on anyone though. It is even hard for me to look at the picture.
That feeling of being so foreign and that gut-turning suspicion that you might have made a mistake. That maybe you don’t really belong here after all!
Which is why (along with the pain in the you-know-what that is packing/sorting/moving), God willing, we will settle in Oregon for the rest of our lives!