I live somewhere else now.
I cooked dinner on the stove tonight, which helped me feel more normal. It's the fourth day of living here. Dinner was nothing fancy--sausage and peppers--but it meant that I have done enough unpacking and organizing to use a pan, a cutting board, a knife, a big spoon, some countertop, and the stovetop. (My original approach to unpacking cookware was to stack it all on the stove so I could see it and figure out what to do with it. That lasted about two days. Combining two full sets of kitchen stuff into one tiny kitchen is a process.)
Oh yeah, that's the other part. I officially live with a partner again. We've been living together for about three months already, depending on how you count, but now we are in the same place, with all our stuff in the apartment (instead of mine stored in the garage), with both our names on the lease. This is only the second partner I've ever lived with, and given how the first one turned out, I've been understandably apprehensive. I'm not nervous about this one--they're good. They're a good person, and they're good for me. But when you've been tricked, goodness doesn't seem as genuine. I'm still rebuilding that trust, and I kind of expect that I always will be.
The view from my front window used to be a brick wall, and now it's trees. The row has a backyard with bunnies in it. There are no tall buildings, and there are mountains everywhere. I'm so disoriented. On day 1, it was an enormous relief to walk into Target: basically the same everywhere.
Every successful drive without GPS feels like a victory.
My partner had to go back to Pittsburgh for another week to finish their job, so I'm alone with both our cats in an apartment full of boxes, and no one expects me to be anywhere until the middle of the month. There is a heady freedom in that, and also the knowledge that two weeks without structure and routine will probably be the most that I can handle. Boxes and furniture and checklists.
I cried when I came through the Fort Pitt Tunnel for what could be the last time.
I am about to be a doctoral student. What an exciting, scary adventure.