Substantive blog posts are few and far between these days. But this week’s Friday Five makes blogging easy – just answer a few simple questions. Here goes:
1.How many times have you moved? When was the last time?
I recall living mostly in two houses as a child – a colonial-era farm house said to be haunted, and a cute 1920’s home with a front porch in a neighborhood of front porches, parks, sidewalks and two Italian delis. Oh how I miss that neighborhood!
In the past 11 years, however, I’ve had about 8 addresses. Recently, I lived in Philadelphia for almost two years, in Princeton, NJ for two years, in Doylestown, PA for two years, and now I’ll be at our current address in Fairfax, VA for two years. We hope our next move – somewhere in the DC area to be determined by my first call – is our last move for a long time.
2. What do you love and hate about moving?
I like finding a new house/apartment and working to make it home. Same can be said for the neighborhood. I don’t like feeling like an outsider. Wherever I live, I want it to be home (even if I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Havertown, PA and the Philadelphia area).
3. Do you do it yourself or hire movers?
Hire movers. Last time we hired movers to pack up our house and move our stuff. It was great. With the help of church folk we got unpacked fairly quickly and settled into the new house within a day or two. We’re still shifting furniture from time to time, however, to find that perfect arrangement.
4. Advice for surviving and thriving during a move?
Hire movers. One man packed up our entire life in about a day and a half. For our previous move, we packed ourselves – over a period of three or four weeks. Living out of boxes stinks. And get unpacked quickly.
5. Are you in the middle of any inner moves, if not outer ones?
I’m moving into a new career – ordained ministry – within the year (by Christmas, I hope). This will likely involve a move into a new house. My wife is moving ever closer to finishing her dissertation and being awarded her doctorate. We’re also awaiting the arrival of our new au pair on May 9. Yes, there’s lots of moving going on in our household.
Bonus: Share a piece of music/poetry/film/book that expresses something about what moving means to you.
My folks were divorced when I was young, so I spent a lot of time moving between Mom’s house (during the week) and Dad’s house (most weekends). During most of my elementary and middle school years my dad lived about an hour away, and every Friday we had a lovely drive along I-95 or Roosevelt Blvd (US 1) from Delaware County (south and west of Philadelphia) to Bucks County (north of Philadelphia), crossing directly through Philadelphia during Friday’s evening rush hour.
For a while during those years my Dad was on a Willie Nelson kick, and he’d often play – and sing! – "On the Road Again" in the car ride to his house. In a situation in which getting "on the road again" was often a hassle and a strain marked by traffic and long days for my dad, and a reminder of the unfortunate brokenness in my family, singing "I can’t wait to get on the road again" somehow made the whole situation alright. The road became something to look forward to – the smell of Oreos as we passed the Nabisco factory in Northeast Philadelphia, or the inevitable fart jokes as we passed the oil refineries in Southwest Philadelphia, or the guy who sold us five (usually wet – I’m not sure why) pretzels in a brown bag on a street corner in Southwest Philly just before we got onto 95, or . . . oh, there are so many memories I have from those weekly journeys to my dad’s house. Perhaps that is why I like driving so much, and took to the traveling sales representative role so well. For moving and driving can be worthwhile experiences in and of themselves, interim places where meaning is made . . . quite unexpectedly.
I just can’t wait to get on the road again.