Posts Tagged 'goodbye'

mumble, mumble, flying, mumble

Photo by Jason Maggini under a Creative Commons License

In which to say: has it really only been eleven days since my last post?

I owe you a post on quite a few things, but considering the circumstances I may leave them be and make this post a summary of all te things I’d write more about if only… mumble, mumble, flying, mumble.

There was, for instance, the goodbye party, for which many different folks showed up. Two colleagues from the pet shelter – puppy in tow. A random assortment of aunts and uncles. Some former colleagues from the publishing house. Some friends of mine, some friends of Beloved. It was one of those lovely chaotic moments with too many people to really talk to anyone. It was a worthy farewell. And people were lovely. We’d requested no presents and people really worked well with that. We received some small packets of flower seeds, a basket of lovely edible specialties from our home country (which was presented to us by the ever-thoughtful Amanda) and my pet shelter colleagues gave me a small key chain with a picture of one of my favourite dogs. I admit it. I cried.

Another story, certainly post-worthy, is that of the actual departure and journey. In which there were check-in troubles, delayed flights and trying to clear a transfer desk, security, customs and immigration on a less-than-one-hour layover. In the end, we arrived in San Francisco with a 90 minute delay and crashed in an Oakland hotel to lay our jetlagged heads. It’s funny to realize that I changed my legal status to ‘permanent resident of the USA’  in an Irish airport while frantically fidgeting and hoping not to miss our connecting flight and didn’t even realize it until the next morning.

On a related note: I’ve not been refused entrance, am now a green card holder and am allowed to live here despite my political leanings. Great 😀

Perhaps I should also mention that somewhere between Rotterdam and New York, sails a ship called the Destiny (how fitting) that holds well over a thousand books, some clothes and all my baby pictures. I hope she’ll come in safely. Nothing but good about our moving company, by the way. They’re not cheap, and I think we’re not their usual kind of customer, but they’re efficient, quick and well-organized. Once our little library hits the New York harbour, I hope to hear when and how we can expect our stuff on the west coast.

Seeing as that time flies when you have fun, but flies even more when you’re jetlagged and intensely busy, I’ll continue blogging about what we’ve been up to post-July 10, leaving the rest of the previous eleven days to my befuddled, time-warped mental morasses.

A variety of goodbyes

Not the shelter dog I mention, but a lookalike who appears equally sweet. Photo by Dimmerswitch under a Creative Commons License

So, the moment of actual emigration is coming closer rapidly. There are times where I sort of forget about it and there are times where the imminent departure seems overwhelming in its presence. Thirty-seven nights until we will actually board an airplane, clutching a one-way ticket can seem like an eternity (when procrastinating on packing up All The Books) or the blink of an eye.

Thirty-seven nights are NOTHING when I’m wondering how many ‘goodbyes’ I can fit in.

Because, unsurprisingly (I suppose), I’m doing a lot of saying goodbye.

Some of this saying goodbye is of the straightforward-yet-painful kind. Like when Beloved and I went to London recently to see some friends. We had splendid, sun-soaked times with some of our very nearest and dearest. You know, those people that you can call your ‘chosen family’ and not even feel cheesy about it because it’s just true and there isn;t another word for what these folks are to you. It’s straightforward because all involved knew and understood why we were there. Hugs were given, good wishes were exchanged and (in my case) a tear or two was shed, which I don’t think anybody noticed (good!). I’ll miss those humans, but I get to say goodbye and have that goodbye be understood. We’re all sad over parting, but we’ll be okay, we’ll meet again and it will be good. Distance will not change things between these folks and us.

Other goodbyes are different. They happen when I open up the kitchen cupboard and wonder if I should buy another pack of coffee or if we’ll have enough. How many dishwasher tabs should I buy to ensure we can have clean dishes, yet won’t need to deal with a pile of leftover tabs upon vacating our house. What _is_ our weekly use rate of toilet paper, anyway? How do I make our physical goodbye clean, simple and waste-free? How do we leave with our affairs in order? How to say goodbye to the mundanities of a settled life? How to say goodbye to the routines, to knowing what you’ll have for breakfast, to knowing your preferred brand of coffee, apple juice, fast food.

Goodbyes happened when winter refused to leave my country and I was secretly sort of happy, despite everybody else complaining, because we’re going to California and myth has it that coastal north California really only has foggy pseudo-winters, and I might miss winter when I’m there. They happen when I see the jutting angles of milk cows in water-surrounded fields, and when I see ducklings, because while I look forward to living with raccoons, hummingbirds and banana slugs (well, maybe not the slugs), it won’t be home. How do you say goodbye to a place? Can you Skype the colours of fall, or have an e-mail exchange with the smell of coffee roasting if the wind blows to the east? Does ‘finding chestnuts in the street, which must mean that summer is over’ have a blog I can comment on?

Goodbyes certainly also happened when – a few weeks ago – I received a call from the pet shelter I volunteer at that this one particular dog.. This one sweet, senior dog that had been there since I’d started volunteering.. This one dog that the shelter staff and interns said preferred me over  the other workers (and I played favourites with him too, because who can deny a dog that loves you?).. This one dog that had been at the shelter for a year, or so, had finally been adopted out to a loving home. That was a weird one, because I didn’t actually get to say goodbye – he was adopted and picked up in the period between two of my normal volunteer days.. I only got to feel relief over not having to abandon him when I would leave, over not having to be the next human to leave this helpless, loving furball to his own devices. How do you say goodbye to that? To the creatures and the causes that have your heart but don’t understand your words?

Then, there is the Big Goodbye. This weekend I sent out invites to those (remotely) local to us, asking them to join Beloved and me some time in the near future for a farewell party . This is the goodbye for All The Humans. Colleagues, cousins, those people that you know and like, but for the life of you can’t remember when you first met them, all those folks get a place. Peple that you’ll maybe never get to see again after this meeting. I am envisioning something that reminds me of how people describe their weddings sometimes: a way for our extended community to join in and support us in the endeavour we undertake.

I look forward to that one. It’ll be festive. There will be laughing. There will be hugs. I’ll be seeing people I haven’t seen in way too long and there will be people I see quite often. There will be people for which this goodbye will be the last one. It will be a goodbye, but it will be tangible and ‘easy’  in the sense that it is inevitable, but okay, or maybe even good. I hope to come away from that goodbye feeling like I wrapped something up, that something has been done and done well.

Maybe the humans are actually the easiest to part from.