Last weekend my husband and I went out to Ethiopian food to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Emma was passed around the circle of about fifteen people or so. She giggled and flirted her way around each lap. One friend held her while I used my hands to eat the slippery shiro and sloppy doro wot. We laughed and made jokes that few would understand outside of our contexts. I connected with people that I hardly get to see but nonetheless find to be kindred spirits. So many amazing people and so little time.
We got in the car after we had eaten more than our fair share, the rest of the party left to go bowling, we happily took our little bug home to bed. As my rump hit the passenger seat hard, I let out a deep involuntary sigh.
“Yes?” my emotionally astute husband asks.
“All those people are just so cool, and we’re leaving in a month.” My heart has started that pattern of connecting with people that you like right before you leave. You fall in love with the possibility of the relationship. Email addresses are exchanged, Facebook friends are found, you tell yourself this person would be your best friend, if only you'd met a year ago. In this group, the question, ‘where are you going next?’ is asked. As you line your different geographic destinations, you think, maybe, just maybe…
This is the refrain of the last few years of my life. My mistake the first few years out of college was that I didn’t dive in and make friends, I lived with one foot out for two years. I learned my sad lesson of many nights of watching Sex in the City alone, and now in each new place I dive right in. I make fast friends, our social calendar is booked. My husband and I see social needs, people floating around, and we gather them up and put them in our lives. Then our requisite year or so is up and we leave. Saying the good-byes, knowing that we will most likely never see these people again, these people that have stood by us while we cried and thrashed the past two years.
Our belongings have already started disappearing of walls, floors and out of drawers. Every now and then I glance about and panic rises up in my throat as I realize that all this that is left has to go in seven bags. Eight if you count the one that a friend is muling home for us. We came out here with our life in five duffle bags and we go back, now a family of three, with seven. Or eight. You start thinking of the ‘worth’ of your crap. Are these gourds that I thought I had to have worth the cost of an extra bag? Will I use the shawl that I wear here, but isn't as stylish back home?
We sold off a lot of stuff at a Rosslyn wide junkyard sale this weekend. All the stuff we can live without for the next six weeks. Makes you think as you begin to whittle your stuff down; did I need this for the last two years? These things we bought when we got here or brought from the states. I never used the two table runners that I brought. We only ever used two of our wine glasses. But, oh, did we use those two...
...don't know when I'll be back again.