Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Some Sad Goodbyes

It's just after 4 a.m. and I've been awake for at least an hour. This happens a lot lately; I wake up and my mind immediately shifts into high gear, thinking of all the things that still have to be done. The list has gradually shortened, but there remain many things still to be checked off.

Today is our last day in our dear little casita. Tears fall as I type this. Of all the places we've lived together (16, I think?), this will always be very special because we took it from a raw shell of a building and turned it into a lovely little home for the two of us. It helps that the family who has bought it will love it like we have. I love knowing that they'll make memories and their children will grow up calling this "home" and it will be a very special place for them, too.

Moving is hard.

Physically it is very demanding, and I've had to pace myself. I don't have the energy I had even four years ago when we moved into the casita. The trick is keeping the expectations reasonable, attempting to do one thing a day (in addition to the regular cleaning, laundry, cooking). One day it was cleaning the oven. Another day it was going through the wardrobe. Yet another it was scrubbing the bathroom tile until it sparkled.

Last week was killer. The push was on to deliver a lot of the tools and furniture we'd sold, as well as things we were giving away (almost my entire book collection!). We were completely and utterly exhausted by Sunday afternoon. It wasn't just the physical labor. The goodbyes are killing us. With some it is easier, because we anticipate they will visit us in the U.S. And we do hope to get back here for visits, too. But realistically? We know there are many we will not see again on this earth. Hard, people, HARD. All the other times we went to the U.S., it was with the knowledge we'd be coming back, picking back up our life here, our friendships.

Tucked into all the packing and cleaning and organizing are visits with the people we've come to love. Almost every day for the past three weeks we have met with at least one person or family for a time. Some days it's been several. Our goal is to end well, and that includes the hard goodbyes and the hugs and the tears.

Yesterday we met friends downtown for coffee mid-day. Marce started out as my Spanish teacher but has become such a dear friend. We love her and her girls like they're family. Fernanda is co-owner of the English institute where we've been helping with oral exams for the past seven years. She and her sister (our dentist) have also become good friends. Our time together, chatting about everything from what it takes to move overseas, to the economy and how it's affecting small businesses, to catching up on what the kids are doing... It was a snapshot of what so many of our recent visits look like. We talk about the things we have in common, the things that affect us all, the life we've lived together for the past 8 years.

We'll be spending a month at the house in Sta. Rosa. We have a few projects out there, and I'll be going through all our stuff one final time and packing all the but the last minute things. Friends are traveling to the U.S. later this month and will take two suitcases for us. We're hopeful that because of their help, we will be able to get by with only taking six suitcases ourselves. We could take up to ten, but we'd rather not if we can help it. Aside from concern for our backs, we have to be able to fit all our luggage and three people into the car so a friend can take us to the airport.

We also have some final medical tests and doctor appointments this month, interspersed with visits from various friends who will drive out to see us in Sta. Rosa, plus we'll be saying goodbye to our friends who live out there. It's going to be another full month, but not quite as crazy as April! At least we hope so. 

I am both very excited and very sad. How can such polar opposite feelings co-exist? I recognize it now as a normal part of being a global nomad. No matter where we live, we will always miss someone (and some things). Fifteen years after our time in Africa we still miss our friends there (and Bitter Lemon, a Coke product. ha!). As we repatriate to the U.S., I know we will miss so many dear friends from here (and asados and the custom of greeting everyone with a kiss). The entire time we've lived here we have missed our family and friends from the U.S. Once you've made a significant move, whether it's to another state, cross country, or overseas, it's inevitable that you will always have a longing for the people and things left behind.

I can remember listening to Sara Grove's song, "Painting Pictures of Egypt" shortly before we moved to Argentina. It expressed so well what I was feeling. And it does again now, as we prepare for yet another transition.

Painting Pictures of Egypt

[Verse 1:]
I don't want to leave here
I don't want to stay
It feels like pinching to me
Either way
And the places I long for the most
Are the places where I've been
They are calling out to me
Like a long lost friend

[Verse 2:]
It's not about losing faith
It's not about trust
It's all about comfortable
When you move so much
And the place I was wasn't perfect
But I had found a way to live
And it wasn't milk or honey
But then neither is this

I've been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacks
The future feels so hard
And I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I've learned
Those roads were closed off to me
While my back was turned

[Verse 3:]
The past is so tangible
I know it by heart
Familiar things are never easy
To discard
I was dying for some freedom
But now I hesitate to go
I am caught between the Promise
And the things I know



If it comes too quick
I may not appreciate it
Is that the reason behind all this time in sand?
And if it comes too quick
I may not recognize it
Is that the reason behind all this time in the sand?


Mari said...

Moving really is hard, and not just the physical part of it. We do get attached to our homes because of all the memories made there, so I get that although there are great things coming, leaving is tough. Praying for you both!

The Bug said...

Teary eyed, reading this. So HARD! And that song is perfect.