Friday, June 13, 2008

And they're off...

Brooke is, as I write this, on her way to Salt Lake City. Sarah is back in Jersey. Margaret is in Buffalo (and I hear there was shuffling involved). Jen is in New Mexico. Cynthia is way out in the western wilds of Oregon. The women I was closest to in Pittsburgh, the women who laughed with me and cried with me and had babies the same time I did and made it through grad school (our own and our husbands') with me are all scattered.

I should feel happy for all of us, because we're off doing what we wanted to be doing. We finally have income to pay off those student loans, hooray, and the in-limbo feeling of being somewhere we knew would be temporary is over (well, except for Brooke, but that's another story). Instead it makes me sad. We had something really special, something priceless, and it's gone. Okay, not gone gone, but we've replaced library dates and morning walks and campy moviefests with phone calls and e-mail and the occasional visit.

It's been a rough first year here in Boston. (In all fairness, I have to admit I made it worse for myself by holding on to some hope that Brooke's husband would do his residency at Brigham and Women's instead of the U of U, and figuring that if I just made it through the first year I'd have my library-and-lunch buddy to go on grand new adventures with.) But it's a tough audience up here. That famed New England reticence? Alive and kicking, ever so politely. The ingrained formality of this area is such that I don't feel I can or should speak my mind — when I spoke my mind to someone this week I got a curt e-mail telling me the friendship was over. (It's no great loss, but still.) There are playgroups we aren't invited to join, a discussion group that took me off the e-mail list, couples' movie nights I hear about after the fact. No one is trying to be unfeeling; they're very kind when we're around; we just don't belong yet. And despite what you're thinking, it isn't my big mouth that's gotten me sidelined — I've heard the same thing from other newish people here: "It's a tough ward to break into." "No one talked to me for the first year." "There's a huge division between the owners and the renters."

On the other hand, there are people who have been marvelously kind: Danika, and then Mindy, who each took my kids for three days when we had to go out of town, and made them much more fun-filled days than I would have; Jen T., who stepped in and ran a book group discussion for me on zero notice when I couldn't do it (and by all accounts did her usual brilliant job); Marci, who recognized me in line at Costco the first week we were here; Emily, for whom I really should make a mix of gingerbread house party tunes; Lisa, who is possibly more vehemently opposed to the school district's kindergarten plan than I am, and who may even have a bigger mouth than I do; Kiersten and Ana, my terrific neighbors. I like these people. There just isn't enough history yet. We have kids, and the people around us have kids, and that means that we're all a bit wrapped up in our own lives, and it's easy not to think about adding new people to the mix.

So this is my tribute to my glorious Pittsburgh friends. To Brooke, who opens her arms to everyone and will make vats of homemade ice cream to share after a huge backyard circus. To Sarah, who shares hilarious (and potentially embarrassing) stories about herself with anyone who will listen. To Margaret, who won't let you be new in her ward without finding out what you like to do and introducing you to someone else who likes to do it (and inviting you to join book group while she's at it). To Jen, who is Beth's godmother in all but name. To Cynthia, who won my heart when she stepped out of standard-visiting-teaching mode and said, "Can I take Beth for a walk and let you sleep?" I love you all, and I miss you, and I would transplant you all to my corner of the world in a heartbeat, but instead I wish you deep roots in the new places you're planted.

(I know this post was sappy, so I'm apologizing now, and don't leave me comments about how sappy it is! And I know I've been off the blogosphere for a while. The last month has been a roller coaster ride, and I have a lot to write about, and I promise to get to it, but first things first.)


Cynthia said...

Sappy indeed! But so nice to hear. Well, not the crap people of Boston, but the fun Pittsburgh times. I miss Frick Park with a physical longing. And the truly, "won't you be my neighbor?"- ness of it all. And I miss Mary Eror! (Who taught high school for years and years at Glencoe High School, from which I now live app. 2 inches from! Okay, one block.)
Anyway, lets all meet in the middle. Omaha has a nice zoo!

P.S. WHERE IS MARGARET???? Do tell. Since when? Does Margaret have a blog? Again, do tell.

Jen said...

I'm feeling similarly lonely in Denver: I know I must be surrounded by fun, cool people, but somehow nothing has really clicked yet. Sigh. I'm sure it will happen for both of us eventually, but the waiting is tough. Thanks for the fun day in Boston -- it was good to see you!

Libby said...


Margaret's in Buffalo, as of approximately three weeks ago (I might be off by a week) because Erik found his Dream Job. I know, I know: how could anyone's dream job be in Buffalo? But it's all cool, and her cell number is still the same, so I'll let her tell you the details herself. She, of course, has way too many REAL things going on in her life to spend frivolous time blogging.

And I don't mean — truly don't mean — that people here are crappy, 'cause they're not. They're smart and cool and do amazing things and just don't yet know how smart and cool and amazing WE are. (You guys were just so smart and cool and amazing that you figured it out, like, really fast.)

Libby said...


LOVED seeing you. Really loved it. Hang in there! (You, of course, were smart and cool and amazing enough to know more than a quarter century ago how much fun I was, so you win the smart and cool and amazing trophy.)

Jen Stanford said...

If only I could wave my magic wand...we'd be visiting in more than voice. If there is anyone who can weather the transition to live well in Boston, it is you, Libby. Hang in there and the phone is always open.

Robyn Kailiponi said...

I can definitely relate! Paul and I haven't lived anywhere for more than two years since we've been married. It's definitely hard to make really good friends in that short of time, and then to leave them, or see them leave it tough. Hopefully you'll start to feel more welcome in your new place, and that you can find some really good friends, or as Anne Shirley would say "kindred spirits". I know that our paths didn't cross for very long, but I really enjoyed knowing your whole family while we were both in Pittsburgh. It was so nice to know that your home was always open to us, and I will never forget that. Thanks for being a good friend to us. Maybe some other new people will move into your ward or neighborhood, and you can start forming your own groups if needed. Well, we miss you guys. Good luck in Boston.

Kathryn said...

Aw, shucks.

We just arrived in Provo last night, after six straight days of driving. (Fear not -- Grandma Shirts had flown Jeff & Ella across the country one week earler, so we only had Wim Wim with us in the car. Wim now whimpers whenever he sees his car seat).

Anyway, the "vacation mode" feeling hasn't gone away yet, especially since we won't be able to move into our house for another month yet. Aauuugh . . . but thank goodness my parents have a gorgeous finished basement (complete with foosball table and a whirlpool tub!).

Whoa. I'm feelin' wordy tonight. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm terrified that the move has finally happened, after anticipating it for so long. We aren't going back -- aaaaaa!

We have to survive living with in-laws for a month -- aaaaaa!

And even after that, they'll still be living nearby -- aaaaaa!


Brooke said...


That "Kathryn" that made the above comment? That was me. Kathryn is my mother-in-law, and she had been logged on Google just before I got online. Consarn these shared computers!

Anyway, please attribute the above comment to me, Crazy Tired Brooke, and not to the mother of my spouse.

Rebecca said...

It is hard and I am getting worried. One thing that I have learned from a friend here is that you find someone new to the ward and there first Sunday invite them over for lunch sometime that week. I was so shocked and filled with love that it really made me feel welcome and taken care of. Little did I know that she was new as well and needed a friend. It is hard when everyone is spread out! Maybe I will move to Boston, and we can do library lunch dates!!

Margo said...

Haven't checked on you in awhile so I'm a bit behind. When I moved to Boston we all (newcomers) called it the "mean bean". I now remember my first visit to the store with fondness. The cashier wouldn't even look at me and I left in tears. Ah, Boston.