Picture the perfect holiday: wiping out oven cleaner, scrubbing the floor, vacuuming the baseboards and ceiling fan blades, and hauling boxes in and out of the rental truck. Nonetheless, my last Christmas of the previous millennium was filled with the joy of working diligently to get back my full deposit. Anyone who works in an office environment may know that the days between Christmas and New Year’s tend to be slower, so it’s not a bad time to tackle an apartment move. It’s just a poor way to celebrate Christmas. There’s never a tree, lights, or decorations when they are all in boxes between residence A and residence B.
By the time I reached the eve of Y2K, all my belongings had been relocated to my new apartment – and not just new to me, but first-occupant apartment. While much closer to work, my new place also found me starting over in a new town. There would be new doctors to be researched, new grocery stores to navigate, new day care to which I would drive twice daily, not to mention boxes to unpack, and dozens of other life adjustments to manage. This small step, while not even remotely close to a first move (see Storage Units from June 2021), marked a big step away from my ex-husband, and a giant leap towards my professional and personal independence. Exhausting, my Christmas move definitely counted as a hell of a Christmas gift for myself.
Almost two decades later I find my head is back in the oven and the ceiling fan blades vacuumed as the festive way I celebrate Christmas, except this move includes distinct differences. One, I am moving more than a thousand miles northward in the middle of winter – bad idea – and, two, this stretch includes the second phase of the move, with the bulk of my household goods already in storage in the no-so-great white north. What’s especially distinct about this move, is not the destination (albeit one I never thought would be my end point) or the multi-month packing process, but that I am moving towards another human. I never expected to make that choice, but again, it’s a Christmas gift completely worth it.
This final phase of the relocation includes a scenic route, plus an overnight in Moab, Utah, a morning drive through Arches National Park, a trek up and over the Rocky Mountains dusted with snow, and a stretch across the back roads of Wyoming into the Black Hills. The duration likewise provides a chance to inhale and exhale between the packing up of the car, the apartment, and my time in Utah, and my final arrival in North Dakota on New Year’s Day. Above all, this holiday week marks a movement towards a new phase in my life – one where my superhero and I are within a short drive of one another. When we reach his time abroad it will mark be our first stretch apart, both distance and duration, since my most recent Christmas relocation. While I always hope each move equates to my last move (obviously it won’t), I likewise hope his travels abroad may not be our last time apart. I guess that’s my Christmas wish.