Questions I Wish I Googled When I Moved

Packing up is hard to do.

Author by Julianne Adams
Credit: Megan Schaller

I’ve moved a myriad of times.  But my most recent move was different: I was renting a house, instead of an apartment. And, most importantly, I was doing it alone. I needed to relocate to start a Ph.D. program in 18th-century British women’s literature so… the job market better watch out.

The double-edged sword of moving by yourself is no one will really help you. You are on your own. Yes, I have a puppy, but the conversation isn’t great. Before lugging my life down south from New York City, I was incredibly excited. My own house that I could decorate entirely by myself! Naïve millennial that I am, I failed to realize that this move would be the least fun one I’ve ever done.

Over the course of the crucial first days at my house, I was faced with a number of conundrums, all of which I had to answer myself. I wish I had asked Google these questions first, but I didn’t. Here are those existential queries and my responses. 

Did I really have to move?  

Sure, I want to get my Ph.D. and I signed up to do so in Nashville but I still found myself wondering whether I had to move. Shouldn’t Elon Musk have invented teleportation by now so I could just appear in Nashville already living in a perfectly decorated house? Well-adjusted people are like, “It’s about the journey, not the destination blah blah.” Moving is not a journey, it’s an extended nightmare.

How many boxes will my entire life fit into?

Life isn’t supposed to be defined by material goods, but moving seems to prove the opposite is true. Your existence becomes all about what you have. Packing brings back memories and makes you reflect. “I sure do have a lot of black dresses” is one thought I reflected on quite often during this move. Deciding how many boxes I needed for my black dresses was itself a stressful endeavor.  At first, I had bought the perfect number. As my room became overrun with boxes that were increasingly filled to the brim, I somehow didn’t have enough. There’s a metaphor for life somewhere in here. There’s definitely one in the fact that while I very carefully packed every box, every single one was a jumbled-up mess when I opened them up later.

Am I sad to leave my old city because I now love it or because I only love it when I know I’m leaving?

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with New York City. The two times I’ve been happiest in New York were the months before I moved to England and to Nashville. Leading up to these moves I tortured myself with the prospect of leaving my beloved New York and the city’s vivid culture that I never took part in. For the rest of the six years, I lived in New York, I often felt like I was drowning in loneliness in a bustling ocean of bourgeois life. I probably don’t need Google to know the answer to this question.

What do I do first?

After the landlord gave me a tour of the house—which I’d only ever seen in photos—I had no idea what to do. I was exhausted by my flight thanks to my puppy who had peed in the airport terminal. I had no food, no bed, nothing to sit on, no internet, and if I didn’t act soon I’d have no electricity and water. Utterly overwhelmed with what I had to do, I did the rational thing and went to Target. In the first ten days of moving, I went to Target roughly five times.

Why do the men in my life not know what a neutral color is?

Upon seeing photos of this house, I could tell a man picked the color. I was correct in this assumption, for when I told my landlord I wanted to paint the interior white, he informed me he’d specifically chosen burnt orange because it was a neutral color. My father agreed this dirty orange was a neutral tone. They are both incorrect. Fortunately, my landlord’s girlfriend talked my landlord into letting me paint the house an actual neutral color.

Should I get a brass or a marble accent table?

Moving has revealed something previously unknown to myself: I don’t really have a style. My decorating style has always been “I need to furnish this room as quickly and practically as possible.” Now that I have a whole house to furnish, this style is showing some holes.

Where is the hose hook-up?

I needed the hose to spray a mosquito treatment in the yard. Mosquitos are not a joke here. I searched the exterior of the house then finally asked the landlord about the hose. I think I saw a wasp near where the landlord said the hook-up is so I’m not going closer anytime soon.

Will I get murdered?

I debated for a month about whether I wanted to move into an apartment complex or a house. My main hesitation with a house is that I have an intense fear of home invasions and murder. My cousin politely told me that nobody had any interest in killing me. I still do not entirely believe that. This question is more “When will I get murdered?” than “Will I?”.

Will the increased distance from my ex help me move on?

Without giving too much away (please contact my mother if you’d like more gossip), I have a thing with a guy that is not always a good thing. This move is literally putting distance between me and this guy. Does this mean I will be able to move on and meet the Chip to my Joanna Gaines? Is that how life works?

How do I make friends?

The great problem facing many young adults is neither student debt nor the job market but how to make friends. Luckily, I’m starting graduate school soon. But in the meantime, I have no friends in this city. Not one. No one. Completely friendless. Don’t know a soul. My great plan of having my dog make friends for me is going very slowly. If you would like to be my friend or can provide any answers to the above questions, please get in touch! Please. It’s been days since I’ve conversed with something besides my dog or a Target cashier.

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A curious exploration of comfort, wellness, and modern life — emotionally supported by Casper. It’s a beautiful magazine published by a mattress. Come on, you know it’s not the weirdest thing to happen this year. The first issue includes a love letter to comfort pants, a skeptic's guide to crystals, and an adulting coloring book.