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Finally, the sleep was deep. For the previous several days, after a few hours, the eyes would spring involuntarily open at 2, 3 or, on the good days, 4AM, the body so tired but the mind racing with knowledge of and stress over the many things that still needed to be done: the packing, the cleaning, the disposing of trash, the moving process, the preparation for and execution of the drive north.

But now it had all been completed: extra money had had to be spent on the hired disposal of all the extra junk and on a final night’s hotel room to make one last, desperate effort to get a good night’s sleep, and the drive – all 600 miles and 11 hours of it, the final 90 minutes through poor visibility and freezing rain along dark country rods at night for a true “welcome to Vermont” experience – was in the rear view mirror. Barely three hours after closing the door to my rented room, I was asleep, and I slept hard.

I slept overnight for as long as I had driven the previous day, and as I drifted fitfully between slumber and wakefulness in the morning, my mind tried to remember where I was and how long I would be staying there. It is the traveler’s curse: I have on more than one occasion woken up in a hotel room and had absolutely no clue for several seconds where on Earth I was. But then the realization dawned that I was in Bristol, and I wasn’t going anywhere else for a little while, because this is my new hometown. I lay there, filled with fear and doubt. It was fine to talk and think about it all in the abstract and the theoretical, but now here it was, and there was no turning back.

I made some coffee, ventured outside, crossed the street. Ordered some breakfast, drank some more coffee. The final walk-through wasn’t for another couple of hours and the closing not for another hour after that. But I wanted to first of all say hello quietly and share a brief bonding moment with my new house. I walked up North Avenue, past the Almost Home Market, the fire station and the library, and there it was, with snow on the roof but with the front path and driveway plowed or shoveled by an unknown soul. And I knew anew that I had done the right thing.

One week later, my house is slowly becoming a home. Cable and Internet have been connected, books are being placed on bookshelves, clothes are hanging in the closet. Much remains to be done: there are still too many packing boxes, both full and empty, and bulging trash bags for comfort. But in another couple of days, all will be almost as it should be. There will of course remain teething problems aplenty. But I shall be at home here, in this my new home.
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