We made it! I know you have been holding your breath for an update all this time; don’t worry, we haven’t died, we just don’t have the internet. (Despite what you might expect, being without internet is very unlike death.) And we’re unlikely to get internet before the end of next week, but we’ve figured out how to use the library at least. I have also been faithfully taking pictures so I could share with you as things progress, so now you get the overly-detailed version of our adventures over the past week.
On Monday, August 29th, around 9 O’clock in the morning, Jared and I left our home in Ellicott City, Maryland to start a new life in a new state.
Observe, if you will, in the bottom left side of this photo, the moving truck containing more or less our entire lives.
Do not be deceived by the cute yellow-brick house behind us. It does not belong to us. In fact, the only part of the house that pertains to us at all is at the very top edge of this photo – those two windows look out from our dining room and guest bedroom, respectively. We’re renting the second floor of an interesting old Ambridge house, and you may see the inside of it later, when it is in a state that looking at pictures of it would not make me want to tear all my hair out. It’s getting there.
Getting us stuff from said truck to said house took something akin to a series of miracles. In the first picture, you can’t quite read Pennsylvania’s motto, which is “The State of Independence.” We find ourselves rather in a state of dependence. We had no idea how much help we would have unloading the van, our plans left completely in the hands of a student couple who would supposedly arrange things. Imagine our shock when about fifteen spry, young, mostly male seminarians show up and start lugging furniture. All our crap was emptied in less than two hours. We are even blessed to have the handyman for the property living on the floor above us, so when we thought we’d have to resign our big couch and our washer and dryer to charity, he removed doors and knocked out parts of doorframes to get them where they needed to be. Jared’s dad painted our bathroom, Jared & I painted our bedroom, my mom unpacked our kitchen and all our books, and my little sister provided motivation to get our Wii unpacked and set up.
We live in a relatively cute part of Ambridge, PA; it is called “Old Economy Village” and feels like a tiny version of historic Williamsburg. This is a bit of our ½-mile walk to school, on brick-lined sidewalks under peaked-looking trees.
Fifty-one hours after we arrived, orientation began with Wednesday’s Evening Prayer. Our school is Trinity School for Ministry, and this is their chapel, and the incoming class, looking rather better dressed than we are likely to look again during our time here. They fed us dinner and sent us home to collapse in a heap.
Orientation began in earnest on Thursday morning, and I sat there with Jared and my intimidated-looking September sock soaking information on school policies etc. After two days of this, the sock had grown to two inches in length, been completely rejected as too small and having fabric like unto corrugated cardboard, ripped out, and a couple more inches completed on magic loop with needles several sizes larger. (000’s? With fingering weight? No thank you.) Jared and I had, in that same period of time, learned how to fulfill our chapel obligations, been taught to use the library and computer systems, and received a primer on “Pittsburghese.” We had also gone from awkward getting-to-know-you conversations with our fellow classmates to playing ridiculous games involving physical contact and improv and throwing noisemaking stuffed barn animals at each other.
It’s a start – just a start, but a start. We have three days now to finish unpacking, run a plethora of moving-related errands, and do a pile of homework due before our first class. Meanwhile we are missing family and friends and trying to sleep and eat enough to keep mind and body together. But every now and then we stop, look at each other, and pinch ourselves a little bit. We’re here. We’ve waited for this for ages, and this is the start of living our dreams.