So the antique mirror is above the fireplace. A huge bouquet of flowers, courtesy of Best Friend O. is overflowing from a vase on the dining room table. My grandmother's silver tea set is on the cabinet, and my great-grandmother's tea cups are inside. The bookshelf is up, anchored to the wall, and filled with all the fiction (alphabetized by author), poetry (ditto), and miscellaneous art books, atlases of foreign countries, and crumbling antique foreign-language grammar books. None of the plants, dug up in haste from my perennial herb garden and dumped unceremoniously into an assortment of pots, have yet died on the balcony. The keys are in the little bowl I made as a small child on a table by the door, the good sheets are on the bed, and the cat is lounging on the desk, draping his paws over the edge.
In short, we are settling in.
And part of that settling in means looking around and imagining a new life in a new place.
So there's the overwhelming task, overwhelming even to an extrovert like myself, of saying yes to every. single. invitation, even when it means you end up at a departmental party, looking lost, trying desperately to find some nice cheerful soul who will introduce you around so you can talk to somebody.
There's the trip to the grocery store that takes twice as long as it should, because you have to walk the entire length of the store three times before you find the bread.
There's the church-hopping. Best part of church hopping? Getting to sing one of my favorite hymns four weeks in a row at four different churches. Worst part? Sheepishly raising hand during the "Are-there-any-newcomers-here?-please-raise-your-hand" announcement at one church, and the being completely ignored by those around me. Awesome.
I don't feel lonely yet. I'm recovering from a stressful summer and I am, frankly, still tired, so I've been sleeping in my spare time. But can imagine that some time soon I may be lonely, in part because everyone is married here. Now, I'm sure that's not true. It can't possibly be true. But in almost a month in new town at new job, I can't think of one person I've met who's single. Not the co-workers, not my boss, not the new postdoc, not the IT folks, not the people I've talked to at the churches, not my TA. Not one.
But at the same time, I'm more relaxed in my single state than I've been in a while. Firing up that old online dating profile to see if anything new floats to the surface in a new town several years since the last attempt has reminded me that what I've got on my own is no bad thing. For instance, I was matched with a man who had a self-disclosed preference for a girl with "nice eyebrows." I have no idea what that even means, and must confess that I giggled. I mean, who on earth thinks that, much less writes it down for other people to read? And the bigger issue still is that I promptly thought "are my eyebrows nice?" and actually thought about this later that night when I was brushing my teeth. I looked in the mirror and evaluated my eyebrows because some stranger on the internet said he like nice eyebrows. That's clearly a stop on the train line to CrazyTown. So I just need to remember that being single, even if it is the extreme minority, is frankly more appealing than assessing eyebrows.