Tag Archive | relocation

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

The weekly Photo Challenge this week is: change:

It’s kind of spooky, because a big sign of change JUST popped up on my property. Today.

I knew the sign was coming up today from our realtor. I’ve known for over two months. It still is a shock.

But still, it seemed as if it came out of nowhere. No knock on the door. It just sprouted up like a mutant spring bulb.

To me, this is a big life changing event, selling one’s house. And to me, being Jewish, there are usually rituals associated with life changing events.

But trhere was no ceremony, no blessing for putting up a sign as in Judaism, when there is a blessing for putting up a mezzuzah on one’s  door.
I just opened up my heavy, ancient oak door this morning to let my kid get on the schoolbus, and there it was. This to me is clearly a sign of change.

If you have ever sold your home, what were your feelings the first time you saw the sign on your lawn?

Sometimes, You have to Live like a Refugee

Okay, April fools! We’re really not refugees. But during this very weird week of “vacationing” in extended stay corporate housing, you can say we are a family in between states.

This week, the kids and I joined my husband to live in a hotel just outside of Pontiac, the blight-stricken city just outside of Detroit where General Motors has relocated him.

The hotel is just across the street from the abandoned Silverdome, the former home of the Detroit Lions until 2002.


This stadium cost $55 million to build in 1975 was auctioned off in 2009 for $583,000, property and all.

That’s about the cost for a starter home in the Boston area.

I’ll talk about housing in the Detroit ‘burbs in a minute, but back to the Sonesta:

We are in the company of other GM families in our situation: spouses living here on a temporary basis and commuting back “home” (wherever that is) on the weekends. Wives and children also spending their spring break here in hopes of finding their next home. Only problem (and it’s a big one): there just are not that many homes here on the market that are worth living in.

So many of us are scrambling for the same properties in the same subdivisions.  We talk in terminology like “foreclosure” and “short sale” and “HUD ownership” over the breakfast buffet in the common dining area.

Our first room was a bit – fragrant. The previous guests liked to cook with a LOT of cumin and turmeric and the pungent aroma invaded our nostrils the minute we entered. The hotel manager claimed that the room was ionized yesterday when we were out for the day house hunting, but the stench was that of “the beast.” Like Jerry Seinfeld’s car that could not be purged of the B.O.

Then, there were the roaches.

Yes, it was starting to feel like home more and more.

So, after I woke this morning to find a tiny cockroach crawling up the wall of my bedroom, I demanded the front desk to be switched from our cumin-encrusted suite to a smell free, cockroach free one. So now I am sitting in a much better suite.

I may have to like it for a few more months into the summer.

Yesterday, our realtor, sick with a horrid cold, greeted us at the first property.

Now, as we get ready to list our home (no, I can’t call it that anymore. It’s our house. A house. An investment.), we fret about the chipped brick on the front porch stoop. Or the grouting around the kitchen sink.

When I saw these properties, listed for way more than my house could ever fetch, I wondered, “WHY am I killing myself about the clutter?”” The hardship that the previous owners must have faced, to walk away from a house with an underwater mortgage, was evident with each cracked door, torn off sheet of wall paper, or appliances ripped from the wall:

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Still, there are friends who have settled happily here, who have transplanted themselves to Detroit, who gave us shelter from the house-hunting storm to feed us not one home-cooked dinner but TWO, and show us around the neighborhood that they are glad to call home.

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So, I will still hold out hope. It’s early. Too early to settle for a house that will need months of work before it can even be lived in. Come May, I’ll start to panic. There’s got to be a house out there somewhere that will be our new Detroit home.

Photo Challenge: A Day in the life

WordPress asked us bloggers for an in the moment day in the life photo challenge. I am sure That others will post about their day on a safari or exploring  some Eastern European hamlets. I wish I could offer a post as exciting. But, here is an honest glimse of my life from yesterday. The last […]

Swan Song, House Hunt

soldOn my latest trip to Wegmans, my shopper’s club card failed to scan after many attempts to swipe it though the machine. It seems I have used this card so many times I’ve worn it down. Now, if a girl’s Wegmans shoppers club card no longer functions, I guess that’s another sign that it’s time for me to leave town. 

Here is my final column in the Democrat & Chronicle. Thank you to all the readers, including the cashiers at Wegmans who recognized me with my groceries, who all made me feel like a celebrity. 

Tomorrow, we head to Detroit for a “vacation” of looking at houses that are already pending a sale, houses that just went on the market only days ago. 

Maybe at least this time, we won’t get a flat tire on the way. 

Never underestimate the power of a smile. If you attended a CenterStage show at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester in Brighton, Cora Holliday’s smile from the box office booth was almost as unforgettable as the performance.

For the last several years, Cora was box office manager for the theater. When she sold me tickets to shows, we always chatted about how rehearsals were going and how excited she was for opening night as she browsed her computer screen to find me the best available seats.

“Even if you came to just one play at the JCC, you would remember Cora. She just had that way about her that made everyone feel special in her presence,” said Ralph Meranto, director of JCC CenterStage.

Behind that smile, Cora was fighting diabetes, a battle she succumbed to on March 13. She was 50. Even after having her second leg amputated, Cora’s positive attitude never faltered as she planned to soon be driving and yes, dancing on her prosthetic legs. The JCC in January held a fundraiser in her honor to offset her medical bills and to retrofit her car.

A celebration of her life is planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, at the Jewish Community Center, 1200 Edgewood Ave., Brighton. Donations in her memory can be made to the JCC or the National Kidney Foundation, 15 Prince St, Rochester, NY 14607.

Thanks to all who shared stories

Goodbyes are tough. I have been dreading writing this final column for weeks now, but it is time for me to focus on my family and our big move to Detroit.

To all the readers and all who made my job so easy by pitching me story ideas over the last three years, I thank you. I especially want to thank the Democrat and Chronicle for helping me find my voice in reporting on all the local heroes in our midst. It gave me such a sense of connection and belonging in Rochester to know that this column helped raise funds and awareness for so many of the causes that you support. It truly has been a privilege to write it each and every week.

I will be sticking around for a few more months, so say hello if we bump into one another in the Pittsford Wegmans. You also can follow my Motor City musings and adventures at my blog atwww.stacylynngittleman.com or @slgittleman on Twitter.

Starting next week, please welcome Missy Rosenberry to this column.

A graduate of Cornell University, Missy has lived in the Penfield/Webster area with her husband and three children for 11 years. In addition to writing this column, she is a teaching assistant for the Webster School district and a part-time karate instructor. Please send her the latest happenings in your town to missyblog@gmail.com.

As for me, it is time to plan my life’s next chapter. Once I get to Detroit, I hope to find a writing gig as good as this one.

I also look forward to making many new friends in a city poised for an economic and cultural renaissance.

I hope to take part in Detroit’s gardening movement as it sets to turn its urban blight into the world’s largest urban farm.

And when new friends ask me where I am from, after living here for 13 years, I have earned the right to proudly declare, “I am from Rochester!”

New State, New Life: Transplantednorth needs a new name

Thank, you, WordPress, for your latest daily prompt: All About Me.

It was the impetus that got me thinking: Once I move to Detroit, the name of my blog will be outdated.

When I started this blog about three years ago, I named it Transplantednorth because that’s how I felt. Even after nine years of moving from the New York Metro Area to Rochester, I still felt somewhat on the outside, still very much a transplant.

Now, (as we native New Yorkers say)  whadaya know? Just as I’m feeling grounded and rooted, it’s time to move, to transplant, yet again! (Yay.)

So, this is where you come in. And you get to vote.

When I move, what shall I name my blog:


I’m waiting with bated breath for your vote OR other suggestions!


The Last Post from the Brighton Community Garden

Now that December is here, this post about wrapping things up in my little spot in the Brighton Community Garden is way overdue. But I must write this final post as a conclusion to the unforgettable experience it has been digging, weeding, watering and reaping alongside my fellow Brighton  neighbors.

My neighbors and I have shared watering and weeding responsibilities through a hot dry summer. Our tomato patches bursting with more than one family could possibly consume, we’ve traded beefsteaks for exotic varieties such as the green-striped zebra or tiny yellow jelly bean.

Sue Gardiner-Smith, the manager of the garden, made sure that we kept up with our commitments to clear the common paths of weeds and not let our own plots get too overgrown (that meant taming my wild pumpkin vines!) In return, she gave me carte blanche to take as much Swiss Chard as I could cut from her never-ending crop of the green leafy stuff.

My garden experience ended on Veteran’s Day. The kids had the day off. First, we paid a visit to the brand new Veteran’s Memorial sculpture, just next door to the garden:

The talons and feathered legs of the Eagle sculpture at the new Brighton Veteran's Memorial.

The talons and feathered legs of the Eagle sculpture at the new Brighton Veteran’s Memorial.

Then, we got to work. We pulled out the last of the vegetation, blackened and dead as a result of a hard killing frost that descended over Rochester a night or two before:


We pulled up the fencing and the poles ( the boys had to have a stick fight with them atop the compost heap, of course):


Harvested our last pumpkins and carrots, and finally, chopped down the remains of that sunflower that grew to be about 10 feet tall.


Putting this garden to bed would be the first of many lasts for me in Rochester.

Like clearing out this garden, I’m literally pulling up my roots again. Rochester may not be my hometown, but it is for my kids.

When I cleared the last weeds with my kids, I  knew I would never garden here again.

In the end, the plot looked just as it did back in March. You would never knew how it was covered with tomato, bean, pumpkin and flowers just weeks before.

In the end, the plot looked just as it did back in March. You would never knew how it was covered with tomato, bean, pumpkin and flowers just weeks before.

I would not be putting down my $25 deposit to renew my lease on this 10’x10′ piece of land that gave me so much delight. Next spring,  this plot will be cared by someone else.

Next spring, I’ll be well on my way to finding our next home, and hopefully our next garden somewhere in Michigan.

Mr. Paladino moves to Panama: Transplantednorth’s first guest blogger

Sometimes, one has to make a big move, say, relocation for a job.

Here is a guest post from a man who took a chance with his wife and son to live in a new place simply because it was the place they wanted to be.

I’m off this weekend to check out the next potential chapter of my family’s life in the Detroit, Michigan area. While I’m away, I’m letting an old friend hold down the fort here at transplantednorth.

I met Chris in college at the Daily Targum, the daily student-run newspaper at Rutgers University. I wrote copy while he was either shooting photos or developing them in a darkroom. Though our paths did not cross until college, we also both grew up on Staten Island.

I haven’t seen Chris since those college days, but we’ve kept in touch thanks to the miracle of Facebook. Since our college days, Chris worked for 12 years as a fundraiser and spokesperson for the American Red Cross, being the spokesperson for major disasters such as the TWA flight 800 and other air crashes, several dozen major hurricanes, tornados and floods, the Kosovo crisis, the 1999 Turkish earthquake and many others.

 After leaving the Red Cross, Chris moved into private business in sales and business development and acquisition.  In 2010 Chris led a group of investors in the acquisition and restructuring of Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company in Crofton, Maryland, where they produce a premium coffee that is also the most sustainable coffee you can buy.  From the custom-built roaster that uses 78% less energy and packaging manufactured entirely from recyclable materials to the “H2O Initiative” which commits 2% of coffee sales (not profits) to organizations that help protect and restore the watershed, Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company coffees make a great cup while making local communities better places to live, work and play.

 Now semi-retired and living with his wife and son in Panama, Chris keeps his hands in some charitable organizations with a mission for sustainability, including raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for EarthEcho International (EEI), an organizaiton  founded by naturalists Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau. 

He and his family relocated to Panama City, Panama in the summer of 2012 to give his son an international high school experience and explore life and business opportunities in a booming Latin American culture.

Here is his story of being a transplant. What is yours? 

Three months ago my wife, 14 year son and I picked up and moved from Silver Spring, Maryland to Panama City, Panama – after just six whirlwind months from coming up with the idea to execution. We’ve always been a little impetuous, but this one was our biggest idea yet!

We actually made the move because we wanted to, not because of work or family.  The idea of “slowing down” while giving my son the chance to go through high school in an international environment was one we all thought shouldn’t be missed.

We knew we were moving to a completely new environment that operates in a language we don’t speak, but it was still a major shock once we arrived.

No matter how much you prepare yourself, stepping off the plane without a return ticket and realizing you actually live here is something you really can’t understand until you do it.

I went from feeling like a confident and successful entrepreneur to someone who struggled to set up the basics for his family.  I just wasn’t ready for how difficult it would be to get cell phones and internet service, satellite TV, and an account wit the electric company.

Even though I learned to drive in New York City, I was completely unprepared for the insanity of Panama City roads and the aggressiveness of the drivers.  Traffic signals are truly suggestions, and a road is any place you can drive your vehicle – shoulders, medians, even grassy strips.

three months into the adventure I’m starting to see the challenges as opportunities.  The Latin attitude of “mañana” is actually a great way to live if you can embrace it.  Panamanians truly “work to live,” as opposed to the American attitude of “live to work.”  I never really though that was how we were living our lives back in the States, but now that we’ve lived someplace else for a while we’ve realized just how much our American lives were defined by what we did for a living, and how much time and energy we devoted to it.

We’re really starting to have a lot of fun, from visiting the Panama Canal (how in the world did they build that thing 100 years ago?!?)

to trying to figure out what all those guys standing on the side of the road are doing (relieving themselves in the grass – why actually find a rest room?).  And there have been plenty of humorous moments as we learn Spanish. (Text messaging is huge here; for weeks I kept asking my wife, “what the hell does ‘jajaja’ mean?”  Must have read it 20 times before I pronounced it in Español – hahaha!)

We’ve also tried to find a way to make a difference in our new home country, and we’ve “adopted” a home for abused and abandoned girls. We’re leading a campaign to raise the funds to rebuild the roof, electric and plumbing.  It’s been a moving experience (you can read more about the project at http://www.panamahogar.org).

Now that we’ve been here for three months, I’m realizing most of life here isn’t better or worse – it’s just different.  Embrace the change – which was the whole reason we made the move in the first place – and life in another country can be a really fantastic experience.

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