Saturday, August 23, 2008

Things we left behind

Post by: Beth

We've had to leave many things behind in St. Louis. In some capacity, we've both left our jobs... we've left our first "home" as a married couple... we've left behind great friends that we already miss... and we've left behind a sort of comfort that St. Louis came to offer us. We've left behind the only things we've known as "Beth and Raja Gupta," and we're unsure of what our next home will be like, what our next jobs will be like, who our friends may be, and what comforts and risks await us. The move to St. Louis and then our move away has been a rollercoaster of sorts -- We've had our happy moments, our sad moments, exciting times, anxious times, and it's really been a great opportunity to grow and learn more about ourselves and how we play the cards life deals us.

Ironically in the middle of all of this, one of our toughest decisions so far hasn't involved a home, or money, or logistics --- it's centered around my cat, Aidan. (As silly as it may seem to some of you, this was a big thing for us -- Even allergic Raja grew to love Aidan and Aidan finally returned the love right back.) When we first started getting choices for overseas rotation locations, a huge factor was "How do we get Aidan over to this country? What is involved for him during all of this? What's best for him?" As we came close to a rotation in Singapore, we fretted over mandatory quarantine. When we were about to accept a rotation in Seoul, we did hours of research on what all could be involved in flying Aidan to the city. And when we finally ended up with Bombay as the next locale, we were excited because it seemed that the move to India could be relatively easy for Aidan compared to some other countries. However, the more we made calls and did research, we learned that this could be quite a difficult move for my persnickity furball of a cat. Aidan doesn't like change very much (I can hear the jokes, guys.. not funny), and he's scared of pretty much everything (again.. not funny). ;) The 15-hour flight, the possibility of quarantine, and the numerous vet visits, poking and prodding that must take place before the move... All in all, the poor cat would have to go through quite a bit and after many tears and frustrations, I decided it would be best to try to find him a good stable home for the duration of our international travels.

Luckily, my boss in St. Louis has a wife that rivals any cat-lover I've met anywhere. After many emails to her with the caveat that Aidan is not one that immediately takes to new people and places, Gretchen decided she was up for the challenge and so Raja and I (ok mostly me...) were thrown onto another rollercoaster. Knowing Aidan would be moving into a new home (and SOON!) made it real and it was very hard to know that I didn't have many more days with Aidan before the move. At the same time, the relief that we were doing what was best for Aidan was a great feeling, and I really felt like John and Gretchen would provide a great home for the little critter.

So Raja and I made the drive over to John & Gretchen's with a curious Aidan in tow, and we stayed about an hour to get him acclimated and answer any of Gretchen's questions. We took his vet folder, lots of info about what he likes and how he acts, his bed, a new toy, and all his supplies. To our surprise, Aidan took to the house very well and even let Gretchen hold him! By the time we left, Aidan had found a spot under an end table and seemed quite comfortable -- we were shocked. Turns out that after we left, Aidan wasn't the best new houseguest ever and did his growling thing (no surprise there... he means no harm). But the next evening (Raja and I were flying to New Jersey on this day), Gretchen sent a follow-up email and said he seemed to be doing much better and was venturing around the house and exploring. Day after day, patient Gretchen sent me emails to let me know how Aidan was doing, what new things he'd attempted, and his overall accomplishments of the day. And day after day, they saw improvements. As of 2 days ago, Aidan was purring for Gretchen and letting him pet him, and seemed to be starting to follow her around the house. So he seems to be settling in just fine, and Raja and I are extremely relieved and happy. It makes us really feel like we did the right thing for Aidan, and Gretchen has just been wonderful and very understanding during all of this. She's already taken pictures of him and sent them to us, and she gives me daily updates about him. She's understanding Aidan like only a real cat-lover can, and I have a feeling Aidan is going to not want to leave her when we return from overseas! We miss him very much, but these updates help a lot, and I have a feeling it's going to be a while before I quit diving for Raja's Blackberry everytime it vibrates with a new e-mail (Gretchen copies Raja on all of the Aidan updates so I can get them even if I'm not home).

Here are some pictures of him that Gretchen sent us recently... He isn't the most photogenic cat ever, but we love him anyway. :)


Rhonda Walker said...

I am so glad that everything has worked out for you guys. I am glad Aidan is taken care of and being loved while you are gone. I only wish the best for y'all in all your travels. I am very glad you have this blog to keep us all updated on what is going on in your lives. I love you very much!
Oh the new blog looks good. Good job!!!

Beth & Raja Gupta said...

heh.. thats funny mom.. your post is very sweet, but no one reading it would guess that i spent the whole day yesterday w/you and am spending the nite at y'alls house tomorrow.. it sounds like you're writing me from afar ;)

Wishful Thinking said...

I have three cats so I know how difficult it would have been for you to leave Aidan behind but it does sound like you made the right decision.

I'm also loving the new blog look!