Monday, April 28, 2014

The Countdown Begins

I realized with a start today that we have only ten (TEN!) days left in Berkeley. In a fit of, what I can now say with perfect hindsight, sheer insanity last year, Suresh and I decided that we'd not live in one locale for the duration of the sabbatical, we'd live in TWO. Oh yes, we thought to our innocent, unthinking selves, MORE is better. Right? More is better. We'd hang out in our old grad school stomping ground of the Bay Area for a while, and then, tootle-y-doo, we'll whisk ourselves away to Europe. Except, right now we are not tootle-y-doo-ing. We are not whisking.  We are not prancing to and fro in a merry state of moving. No. We are frothing at the mouth. We are suffering. We are crying out in pain at UPS, who missed a pickup of our worldly belongings, who caused my loss of an entire day waiting for them, while our boxes of clothing and various items got soaked in the rain. Perhaps last year I envisioned myself tootle-y-dooing my way to Denmark, but no, it was not meant to be so. Now we are surrounded by packing materials and a chaos of household effects in various states of being sorted and wrapped for transit. The house echoes with a disturbing dearth of books and Legos, and with children driven mad with desire for the one ball, the one ball that we did not pack, that got stuck in the tree, just out of reach, in the backyard game of baseball. Children, howling for me, are mad with the knowledge that if they come inside there will be nothing left to do or play with. We are surrounded by a life unfurled: items once tucked away and forgotten lie open, naked, looking as though they walked into a party where they don't know anyone and aren't quite sure if they should leave or try to look as though they belong. The spare bedroom is awash in miscellany, an uncomfortable mix of trash, unfolded laundry, and store receipts we do not know whether to recycle or keep.

Certain lovely Berkeley friends have taken pity on our self-inflicted plight and have offered us succor by caring for the children, offering extra playdates, executing extra pickups from school for us and the like. And this has certainly eased our pain.  But not to the point where we are tootle-y-dooing.

So, while I lose myself in contemplation of my sorry fate, I shall suffer in silence now and strive to entertain you with a few photos in an attempt to capture some memories of the neighborhood, before they become just that: memories.

This is the house we lived in, in an area known as the Berkeley Hills

We could see the Bay, and both the Bay Bridge
and the Golden Gate Bridge, over the rooftops
from the front porch of that house.

Semifreddies is an excellent bakery within walking distance of our house.
Family favorites: sweet batard loaves, morning buns,
and the veggie muffuletta sandwich.

The scent of neighborhood jasmine in bloom year round was just intoxicating.

And deer loved our backyard, so between Whisper walking all over my keyboard,
and backyard visitors who came close enough to monitor my emails
 through the window, I was never alone while working from home.


  1. Hi, Karen. I feel your pain. We've moved house so many times, but never found that magical formula for painless packing and unpacking. But we did discover a magical motto, which at least helps:

    When in doubt, throw it out!

    Words to live by, my friend! (except when applied to that one ball - sorry, you're on your own there!).

    We'll be in Europe for 2 months, too, this year. France and England. Do you guys plan to travel?

  2. (I thought my Google ID would appear as my full name here, but apparently not. So Magda = Magda Procopiuc, in case you're wondering.) :-)

  3. Hello Magda, So good to hear from you, and I love the motto. Wise words from a wise woman, indeed. Let's try to get together while we are in Europe!!