Nearly 9 years have passed since we left our family to go overseas for a year or two. Terrell’s dad was 98 and we were going to be company for him for a time. So we found a cool trailer right opposite his trailer, and with his rusty car parked in our drive, we started our American adventure.
It was such an exciting time. Terrell teaching at SUNY, and me with my 2 part time jobs at Albany academy and playing the organ for Christ Community Church in Clifton Park. Our trailor landlord, Loius was a kind and generous man who left us a half eaten roast in the George Forman oven, and some quilts and furniture. We managed to convince T’s father to park his Ford Temp (circa 1994) in our drive and gradually it grew into our car. I loved it. It had cruise control!
One day Terrell decided to show me the nearby Victorian village of Round Lake which became one of my favourite places on earth. Well, to cut a long story short 2 years later we were the proud owners of 2 lovely wooden houses….well one was a cottage and the other a proud, half falling down, house. Looks pretty good these days though. If you’ve ever seen the movie The Money Pit; well, that says it all. We were so naive. hiring contractors with no real references, paying them too much money before they had completed work…..I won’t go on. But we love the houses and lived in them for about 3 years. I could tell many stories about it. there was the time when the handy-man we hired, who was, in his own words, an expert, drilled a hole into the outside wall, straight into a major electrical conduit and blew himself right off the ladder. Sounds a lot like the movie doesn’t it!
In the meantime I happily taught my music classes to the boys and girls at the Academies, made some great friends , even got a nice promotion and, despite my 8th grade girls’ chorus class, had a good time. And I fell in love with my senior chorus. They were such a nice bunch of kids. On the last day before I left, we had a big cook-up breakfast in the music room. I can still see Ryan, Steve and Jesse in their aprons. Of course also memorable where our arts faculty meetings at the local pub. So much creativity. Thanks guys.
Then we decided that we should really live in the big apple before we leave the USA. It was again only going to be for a short while, but 5 years later, here we are. St Luke’s School in the West Village has been amazing. Here is a church and school that is truly diverse and a warm welcoming community. I never dreamed that I would be teaching Junior Kindergarten, but some of my funniest memories are here. I remember little Colin who suddenly figured out what I was talking about when I played music from Carnival of the Animals. “Ms Biemond, I know what carnivals are, carnivals eat meat.” My lively 8th grade advisees Nicole and Blythe taught me about Justin Beiber and where to get decent cheap meals in the village.
Administration, faculty, and kids. What a great trip!! I will remember the first large coffee of the day, sitting down with the early bird ‘breakfast club’, getting greeted by Nancy with ‘gidday mate’, finding the latest great reads from dear Freyda (who finally relented and bought a Nook, prompting me to buy a Kindle!), picking up my endless report card corrections from Lyn (what a remarkable woman…and an Aussie), going to chapel for a chilled out meditation with Shelli, setting up the PA with Karen (and a few beers to follow….), getting some great chocolate from Maureen. So many more wonderful memories, I could go on.
We started our New York living in Brooklyn in a one bedroom apartment near Church St on the F. It was a great commute. I always got a seat in the train, and read many many books. There was also an excellent grocery store with Russian, Mexican, Asian, Middle eastern influences. Living in Brooklyn pretty much covers all the travel you ever need to do. You can walk down the street most days and hear no English at all. Our kind of place!
After 2 years of Brooklyn we decided we should be home owners again, and found a 3 story row house for a verrry good price in Jersey City. Our first impression was..folks are so friendly. Our second impression ‘where did all that trash come from?’ So it’s a balance. I think this house has been our favourite of all. Old, funky, spacious, and right now we have it rented out, covering our costs easily. What more can you ask of Jersey City!