Due Date

(Originally written at my livejournal)

I just bought my tickets to New Zealand half an hour ago. I leave from San Francisco on July 31 and stop in Fiji for a week, then arrive in Auckland late on Monday, August 7.

I’ve been saying, since about December when I found out I could go (I’d link to those specific entries, but, you know, they’re completely gone so you will have to trust me) that it doesn’t feel real, that I’m finally going to do something I have wanted to do for so long. I’ve never been too attached to where, oddly, but more to the idea of going itself. In college, in the nineties, I spoke two or three languages but didn’t get a chance to use them in situ until 2004, for about two weeks. When I started to think seriously about moving abroad last year (I was thinking of going to London at the time) I was doing a lot of research and thinking a lot of thoughts and writing a lot of emails but it never really felt like something I could really do. I have a job, I have student loans, I have a community of friends and family. Seattle is nice and I like it here. Those are small things but they take up a lot of space in my head. And of course underneath those rather pragmatic considerations are the ones that are a little less solid, the ones that are about being afraid of being alone in a new place, of being forgotten by people at home, of getting into trouble I can’t get out of, of having no support whatsoever.

I’ve often said that my only responsibilities lately have to do with paying my rent sort of on time and remembering to put pants on before I get on the bus. (Long story.) My family obligations are difficult sometimes but straightforward, my job is fine but is just a job, and my friends are unreservedly awesome and for the most part drama-free. I sometimes feel sort of adrift, I admit, like I don’t have any deep roots anywhere. This feeling, whilst a little lonely…I think I’ve always had to to one extent or another, even when I lived at home in Miami…does come in very much handy in the present situation though because it allows me to just…go. I’m not betraying or disappointing anyone by leaving for a year, I’m not missing out on any great opportunities, I don’t have to give up anything, really, in order to do this. How many times in my life has that been true? How many times in my life will it be true again?

The other thing I’ve been saying a lot is that I am pregnant with New Zealand. Everyone else I know is gestating hope in the form of actual babies, but I am nuturing anticipation in the form of adventure and decontextualization. I am due in five months and the sense of power is breathtaking. Other women put their hands on their bellies and feel the Morse code of tiny feet; I put my hand on my heart and feel the contours of the North and South Islands.

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