My husband and I were driving to my grandparents' to settle in after our wild and crazy night at the shwarma grill, where we knew most of the restaurant staff and some of the patrons who happened in while we were there with our family. Dan laughed a little at what the relatives must think of us, and then he mentioned that we had really begun to settle in to the area when we lived in Queens. "We could have made a life here," he said.
Oh, the speculation. The "what-ifs" such a statement begs.
We moved from New York because my husband found another job that took us out of the area. It just so happened that job was in Baton Rouge. We had no clue that we'd be leaving the New York City area that soon. But yes, there were other things that factored into our decision.
-We moved back into a house we already owned.
-We moved back near friends we kept in touch with all the years we were up north, just like we are currently keeping up with friends in New York now that we are down south.
-We are more equidistant from our relatives, both Dan's and mine. That way, no one can get too jealous of anyone else in terms of time with us and the little guy.
-Money-wise, it's smarter to get out of New York for us. We aren't independently wealthy, and we certainly weren't living in a rent-controlled place.
-We love New Orleans, and we are living an adventure down there, certainly.
-We hated having to pay for parking, or having to move the car all the time so that we wouldn't get ticketed on a street sweeping day.
However, we really got to know NYC while we were here. We miss our former congregation in Queens, and all the people we got to know and are still keeping up with. These people care, and I have dedicated this blog in part to them. Once they heard we were moving back to New Orleans, they asked us for the latest news of what was going on. They voiced their concerns when Nagin made his asinine "chocolate city" comments (and, boy, they weren't entirely wrong in their concerns). They gave us their blessings and good wishes on our journey, and I wish I could have taken every one of them with me...or, at the very least, give back even a tenth of what they have given our family.
We miss singing with our Yiddish chorus. We miss exploring downtown Brooklyn, where Dan used to work, and which is currently going through a mini-gentrification in some parts. I miss the museums, and the library system, and being able to find parking pretty easily around 103rd Street and Broadway. I miss the subway, of all things. I miss the graduate level courses I was taking at a Jewish seminary by Columbia. And we all miss our friends we've made here.
It's why, every time we come up now, we aren't just here to see family. We have to take a few extra days and check in with our friends. Our cell phones are stuffed with saved numbers, and if we're missing one, there's always the email addresses to fall back on. These folks have touched our lives. How can we not return the favor?
This is something we are always thankful for, regardless. That kind of thanks needs no holiday.