Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Against all odds, I made it back to Rhode Island. The final days in Essen were chaotic and stressful. Despite all my efforts to keep my life lean while I was on sabbatical, stuff accumulated. I jettisoned most of my clothing as I packed, but I had a year's worth of paintings to transport, a bicycle, books and plenty of odds and ends. When I saw it all together, loaded into a friend's Citroën Berlino, it became very obvious that my decision to rent a "compact" car at JFK to haul it all to Rhode Island was absurd. Still, we checked the bags the evening before our flight without real difficulty, turned over the Wohnung the next morning to our landlady, got a ride to the airport from Thore and his mom, and I crossed my fingers things would work out when we arrived.

The box I packed my bike in got wet on the plane and and was a damp rag, barely holding together when we arrived in New York. I loaded the mountain of suitcases onto a cart and laid the bike carefully across the top for the trip from baggage claim to ground transportation. Presumably the mysteries of plate tectonics were responsible for the slide that brought the bike and all supporting cases to the floor of the main entrance hall. Aftershocks were to follow, but I didn't know that as I built the tower up again.

At the car rental agency, as I waited in line, I heard one of the agents tell a prospective customer without a reservation, "Sorry, if you have no reservation, we can't help you. We're out of cars." I had been expecting to be able to upgrade my own reservation to a "full size" vehicle, or maybe an eighteen wheeler. Sweat dripped from my brow as I watched the woman helping me complete the paperwork. Plan "A" was removing my shoe laces and using them to lash the bike to the roof. There was no plan "B." Then the woman behind the counter looked up at me and asked, "We don't have a compact car available at this time. Would you accept a Jeep Liberty instead?" Always cautious, I asked, "Will there be any additional charge?" Nope. No additional charge. I agreed to accept the Jeep and when we reached the Throgs Neck Bridge we stopped for a short victory dance.

I could never have gotten it all done without help from lots of friends. Many thanks to all of you, and a special thank you to Thore who came by on the last full day to help with packing. He was a blur of activity all morning, but finally settled down for a rest long after his nap time had come and gone.

Two weeks here and then it's on to Utah and yet more culture shock.

1 comment:

Em said...

How fortuitous, a Jeep!
Welcome back to the US of A.
We've recently (today) just avoided having to move, and I was feeling the drudgery of having to pack my belongings already.I can't imagine trying it internationally.

Goodbye Thore, you've been a cute addition to the blog.

So the question remains, does the FORSCHUNGSJAR end here? Or does the blog serve a new purpose beyond the sabbatical?