Tuesday, October 25, 2005

October 25

We bought the airline tickets and yesterday I cancelled the phone service, the cable TV, closed my bank account (I kept one NY account open for all the checks I’m expecting!) sent change of address forms everywhere and signed up for electronic debit bill paying for any remaining stateside-based services … So the check list is dwindling. Thursday I will go to the apartment and breakdown my garden.

I started building this garden in 1998 on the terrace of my apartment. It’s a large terrace, over 300 square feet, so I had some space to play with. It is by necessity a container garden. I built planters and found containers of all sorts wherever I traveled; sap buckles from Vermont, decorative tin buckets from Venice, stainless steel mop buckets from the trash pile down the street. Almost any container could be used and at the height of summer it didn’t much matter what the container looked like because the plants were always overflowing their nests onto the retaining wall in search of light and space and freedom. I had planned to transplant some of the larger and older plants to the grounds of the cabin here upstate, but I may have waited too long. Last night the first snow fell a few hundred feet in elevation north if us. It will only be a matter of days, maybe weeks, before the temperatures drop below freezing here and snow begins to fall regularly.
There is one tree I want to save. It was a drug store miniature Christmas tree, about 12 inches tall and when that first Christmas season was passed I set it in the corner of the terrace in a large planter all it’s own. Over the years it has flourished, weathered bitter winters and ice storms and cigarette butts tossed from the neighboring building on dry summer nights and grown to be almost five feet tall. Each year I drag it over to the middle of the terrace and draped it in Christmas lights – it’s annual dress up. It’s so large now that I need two strands of lights to wrap around it … Thursday I will take it down and pack it in a van, transport it upstate, plant it and hope for the best.


Blogger Ron, apparently said...

Just an FYI, check the US tax regulations on working abroad, but if you close that last bank account and own no property in the US you shouldn't be liable for income tax on your earnings in the US assuming you're planning on being away more than 2 years.
I'm sure you've checked this anyhow, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Ron, apparently said...

I meant liable in the US for your earnings abroad, sorry.

5:35 PM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

The packing up, giving away, and getting ready to go is so bittersweet, isn't it. Memories long forgotten come flooding back as you run across this and that object. You feel heartless as you cull through what stays and what goes. You wonder, will I have a collection like this after my years over there, and will culling that be as bittersweet?

I hope your tree survives the transplant.

8:52 AM  
Blogger christina said...

Hi--thanks for stopping by my blog. I am sooo jealous you're leaving the US for Cologne. I spent a year living in Germany and remember it as one of my happiest--mostly because I simply love the European way of seeing things. A little more consciencious, a little more community oriented and a little more wholesome. I'll have to read through some archieves to learn why you're going... wow. Big step. With little ones too?

3:01 PM  
Blogger christina said...

There are so many little last minute details to attend to. When I came over we had just gotten married, so I shipped our wedding presents along with my other stuff - 40 boxes in all. It was fun unpacking them and having things that reminded me of home.

Hopefully you'll be able to have a garden like that again in Cologne if your apartment has a balconey. The Germans are avid container gardeners because most of them have such small spaces to work with.

-the other christina :-)

8:26 PM  
Blogger J said...

Don't worry about too much snow in Cologne, it rarely sticks in this area.

Are you flying into Frankfurt or Cologne/Bonn? Usually Frankfurt is cheaper.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I just happened upon your site from Chistina's. My father is German, my mother Canadian. I grew up in Canada but lived for a couple of years in a small town not too far from Koln. What a wonderful place for a child to spend some time growing up. Best wishes to you. And the world does not hate Americans. We know that Americans, as individuals, are wonderful people. The world hates your government. The distinction will be made. People will love to hear all about New York City....and want to share their culture with you. All the best.

3:21 AM  
Blogger Chloe said...

i wish you all the best in your new adventure. i hope you'll keep blogging!
Good luck.

10:20 AM  

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