I landed in Austin nine days ago and in those nine days, I have unpacked for our week-long stay at a hotel, repacked to move into an apartment, and started to unpack our belongings (with the bulk of them arriving tomorrow from New York). We have bought furniture, household items, and a car. I planned and prepared my son's first birthday and threw a small party for him. And, in the new year, I will be setting up a home, albeit a temporary one as we signed up for only a three-month lease. I am exhausted. Physically, yes, but more so emotionally.
Austin, Texas, is turning out to be far more of an adjustment than I had anticipated. In all of the places I have lived, New York was the first place that felt like home to me, and to leave it has been very difficult. I find myself in the middle of the country, hours away by plane from my best friends and family. No one is close by and that saddens and scares me. I hate intense heat and the hot summer here has not ended yet. I see chain restaurants everywhere yet my favorite retail chains are nowhere close. There are highways upon highways but no sidewalks. The trees are dry and short, and the only reason they are turning colors are because they are dying from the drought. I have casually chatted with other mommas at restaurants and stores, but unlike New York, the conversations remained brief and no phone numbers were exchanged. I have cried every day.
My husband is trying so hard to make me happy, and I am trying to find the positive aspects of living here. So far they elude me. I am trying with all of my might not to jump on the next plane back to NYC. I have committed to trying this out for a year or two, but I am torn. Trying it out means building relationships, putting down roots. I hesitate to do that in the event we move again. Trying to love a place that does not fit me seems inauthentic.
My goals for now are all short-term. Get through unpacking and putting everything away. Cook a meal for my family. Pack us up (again) for a trip to Vancouver to see my family for Yom Kippur and a wedding. Then what? I have no idea.
I feel trapped and overwhelmed. Getting to Shul for services would take more energy I can muster, but it's impossible for me to avoid reflecting on the past year and the coming year -- how to do better, be better, listen better, and cope better. My hope for the New Year is that my situation will change. But I know that all change must come from within. So here is my prayer that I will change for the better in the New Year, and if Hashem would be so kind, a good night's sleep wouldn't hurt either. Amen.