First some medical stuff:
Nurse practitioner Jenn (aka awesome Jenn) informed us that Dr. F. wants to do another blood check for the liver in two weeks, June 6th. If the liver enzymes remain high we will have to put Miabelle back onto Actigall, which she doesn't really mind (but tastes horrible). Hopefully the Actigall will lower the liver enzymes. Fingers crossed that we can avoid the drama with the liver. Also, Noelie's mild cold has transferred to Miabelle (it was a question of time), and knocked out V as of tonight. But we are glad to report that beyond sneezing and some nose drainage, Miabelle has no fevers and it seems, for now, that her body can control and fight the bacterial invasion. This is Miabelle's first cold in 1.5 years and so far so good and it's a great indication that her immune system is working. This is excellent news!!
From a developmental point of view, Miabelle is doing very well according to her speech therapist Jessica, who is by far the girls biggest love because every time someone rings the door they scream "Jessica!!!". Miabelle is speech and developmental wise 100% at her age level, however this does not take into account that she understands Dutch and can even say several words like counting to 10, vegetables and fruits. So we are happy to report that little giggly girls has fully caught up and is a braineac like her sister Super-Noelie.
So all news is good, we are awaiting the results of the engraftment test done this past week and keeping our fingers crossed that the new cells remain strong at 91-92% or higher.
Now to the less important stuff:
In English there is an expression to state that information has been revealed, it goes something like "The cat is out of the bag". Needless to say, you don't need to be a foreigner with broken English to ask yourself: What is a cat doing in a bag? Who ever started this expression was clearly not an animal lover or PETA member and probably on the FBI most wanted list for animal cruelty. This expression is very disturbing to us, an animal loving family. To show our respect to the cat world, we are lobbying for a new expression, more cat friendly, with the same meaning. Something also more child friendly, like "The cookie is out of the jar". Cause cookie's do belong in a jar or in papa's stomach, whereas cats don't belong in bags. So... what was the point of our story again?
Yes!! The big announcement is that the cookie is out of the jar: we are moving back to New Jersey this coming July. We have signed a lease, and amazingly enough we were accepted, to rent a dwelling in Hoboken, NJ, as of August and will be moving in August 10th. Our dwelling is in a town right across from -Manhattan making the commute an 5 minute boat ride into mid-town Manhattan. No more 1.3 hour commutes like before.. Yippie. Why waste time in commuting when you have two adorable toddlers at home. We always wanted to live in this town and now, with our values reorganized, we will do what pleases us.
Before I start, we do want to make the following disclosure:
We are making this announcement so our friends and los abuelos, who helped us move out of our previous home in NJ, have enough time to pack their bags and move to another state or country. In this move 'Mon Capitaine' Vanessa will be in charge, she is a very organized person who, easily, without uttering a word and with one single finger can run an entire military battalion. It makes me very happy because this time I will not be the one barking orders and running crazy; I see myself lounging on a chair in the back yard sipping a cocktail... sweet dreams. But, the good friend that I am wants to warn our friends and family to book their flights as soon as possible: the word on the street is that Greece is beautiful this time of year and man is it cheap. Them poor people probably cannot handle another move of the G-family and this time we have two Pods (moving containers), therefore as your friend I tell you... RUN FOREST RUN!!!
The move bag to NJ-NY area is good news because it implies that Miabelle is strong enough to be far away from her doctors, her immune system is in good condition and that life can resume towards normalcy. All we need to control and watch at this point is her liver and start her immunizations (hopefully last step in the process). We will have to come back 6 months post our departure and then yearly for checkups. More importantly this is a major milestone for the entire family. Honestly, we sometimes doubted that we would return home in four, and now we are four and much stronger than before.
The decision to move back was not an easy one and with mixed feelings. We love NY and miss our friends and family but adore Cincinnati, our home-away-from-home, with our new friends who are just like family. Life is good here in Cincy with on top of that some very nice people (icing on the cake). We still have to find someone to tick us off, which in NY happened weekly if not daily (you know them tourists asking where the Empire State building is: "Hellooo!! It is the big building! Now leave me alone."; just kidding peeps, just kidding). In addition, every trip in Cincy takes about 10 minutes to go anywhere, very few waiting lines (especially in the emergency rooms), good restaurants and the cost of living is considerably more humane than NY. All this leading to the simple fact that the quality of life in Cincy is very high, and after an experience like this quality of life and family time is key. So Cincy was such a good experience from a living and encounter perspective (wish we were here for other reasons) that leaving will be by definition with mixed feelings.
Although returning to see our friends and family is our first concern and something we are very much looking forward to, not thinking about work I also offered V to move to Puerto Rico or South of France were colds are relatively rare (no flu), which is good for all of us, and life feels like vacation every day, which personally I think we deserve. Unfortunately, V objected by saying that we would miss again our friends and family (both from NY and Cincy) to which I rebutted that everybody would love to visit because we would live in paradise. And who does not like to visit paradise? Having moved countries my entire life I can say that true friends always remain and often visit. Then she proceeded with a silly yet important detail to bring my dreaming back to earth: "what about work?". A detail I had honestly and on purpose forgotten. Work? Yes, I was not born a trust baby and thus work is an essential part of our human survival. Waa Waaaaa Waaaaa!!! So the choice was made for us: Hello NY, byebye Cincy! We are heading back to the NY area so we can enjoy our friends and family in NY finally again and to seek the American Dream (New York, and if I can make it there, I'm gonna make it anywhere... I truly hope so!) for papa.
We are looking forward to seeing all of our friends and family back, it doesn't feel like a year and half but more like an eternity since our last encounter. We cannot wait to see little Abby and Henrik (kids of our best friends born after our departure). We cannot wait to see all of our family and friends and just catch up on their lives. We cannot wait to have a BBQ or go for dinner to catch up on the latest gossip of NY (that is for V of course). Meet all those people who have helped us with donor events and fundraisers. And much more. There are so many people we want to see and so many things we want to do, and now that time is back on our side we have the time to do so.
So V is departing Cincy beginning of July and I will follow a week later, the time to load up the container and ship it out. Between July 10 and August 10 we will be staying at los abuelos in PA, which we all look very much forward to. We have all missed her parents, sister and nephew/nieces mucho (and so did they), and it will give us all some much needed time to catch up and enjoy each others company. Personally, I cannot wait to eat Abuela's home cooked beans... I mean, if in heaven they serve food it would not even get close to them delicious Abuela beans. So some good family time and then August 10th we move into our new home.
Some people may ask why not move back to your existing home. Unfortunately, the existing home would need some serious renovations to allow Miabelle to come home. The time and effort as well as the money are somethings we do not want to invest in anymore because we do not have the energy nor the desire to inject more capital in an already underwater ship. In addition, after this experience there is not a hair on my head that finds a 1.5 hour commute daily, at best, acceptable and worth it. We got some great toddlers at home and they deserve to see their father more than once a week, during the weekend, or me rushing home to see them just before bed time at 8pm. Commuting is overrated! So the house stays rented to amazing tenants and we will live finally in a town we always wanted to live in, close to work.
for those who we might see, we do have to warn you, we are not the same people: V has more grey hair and I have about 30 pounds of mushy "muscles" more. We are also a little more anti-social and have little to talk about other than our experience as life has been limited mainly to the walls of our cocoon for most of the past 1.5 year. We are very paranoid (that would be me) and beg you to stay away when you feel ill, have a cold or your kids are not immunized. Yes, I am serious. We do clean a lot, even in public, it has become a second nature. Living in a cocoon has had its positives (many of them) but also some minor physical and mental impacts that may come over to the normal human being as a little awkward. Although we are coming back we will remain very cautious with Miabelle in the first year until her immunizations are 100% done and unfortunately until then socializing will be mainly limited to the summer and early fall. We thank you in advance for your understanding and cannot wait to see you all again!!
So the cookie is out of the jar: We are coming home!! Hope you are excited cause we are.
PS: I cannot stress enough to our friends and family that Greece is cheap and very nice this time of year!!!!
PPS: Beans please Abuela... beans please!