Save Me A Place

Everything’s packed, including the car, thanks to Treasa, who last night when she came home from her wedding anniversary dinner immediately said “I love packing cars! It’s my hobby.” Since Monday I’ve had seven dates with eighteen fantastic people in between errands and I didn’t cry until the last one, when Linda gave me a mirror with a fortune cookie fortune on it that says “You will be successful in your venture.” I’ve been listening to bhangra music for the past couple of days because it is impossible not to dance in the car when you hear “Jogi” by Panjabi MC and it is impossible to be sad when you are dancing in the car. I did have a couple more tears coming home to Ballard after dinner last night as I was doing shoulder lifts at stoplights but not too bad. Considering.

In an hour I’m going to pack this laptop into a case and leave it on the front living room table with my house key on top. I’ll get in the car and drive the last load of boxes to my cousin David’s house, and then I’ll stop off in Tacoma to get a hug and a batch of fresh brownies from Erica, and then three hours later I’ll meet Tracy at Powell’s. We’ll all sleep at Paul’s house, who was one of my fiancees at Burning Man, and I’ll go out to dinner with my other cousins Michael and Jereme. Did you know the Pacific Northwest is rife with my male cousins? Neither did I, until I decided to leave the hemisphere.

Tomorrow I’ll give Peter and Tracy the title and key to the car and I’ll get on the plane, and I’ll see a bunch more people I really love, and then I’ll see my mom and sister, whom I also really love, and during our road trip’s scheduled two days at the Monterey Bay Aquarium I plan to spend at least a full hour by the octopus tank. Mom left a message that her offer on a new house on the island was accepted yesterday, so she’ll be moving and my childhood house will be torn down soon. I imagine we’ll talk about that a lot this week, as well as the fact that my grandmother is currently receiving hospice care. I imagine it will all feel very surreal. I remember when I left for college, how I wouldn’t let her come to Claremont with me, how I insisted on going alone, and how she cried at the gate but smiled at me and kept her head high, so proud of me. Will she do that this time? She won’t be able to see me get on the plane, with “courage on my breast,” as Angela wrote me last night. I see my mom twice a year so I’ll really be only missing one visit but the next time I go home to the island my house won’t be there and that is a strange strange thought, but no more strange than the thought that I am walking out of this door in forty-five minutes and leaving Seattle for over a year. When will it be real? When will I understand that the cloud room is no longer the cloud room, that I won’t have a key ring for a while, that I am going to the other side of the world?

The last couple of days as I’ve been doing errands I’ve occasionally had to explain…to the guy at the bank or to the woman behind the counter at the licensing office…that I’m going to New Zealand. “Wow,” they’ve said. “I wish I could do something like that.”

“You can,” I’ve said, signing my name and paying my fee. “You just have to decide to do it! Anyone can!” What I haven’t said is, “You can go to New Zealand too, or London or Africa or Spokane if you want to. It’s all in the choices you make. You can choose to live in a nice house in a great neighborhood with all of your friends and a wonderful Sunday market, and comfort and stability and community. You can also choose to quit your job at which you are very good, and leave people you really care about, and feel as though you have no home in the world, in the interests of listening to the part of yourself that has been wanting to go and try something new for at least two and a half years now. If you want to do something enough, you will find a way, no matter how long it takes. I have chosen away from security and familiarity for novelty and adventure, and while I am pretty sure I am making the right decision it has turned out to be much harder than I thought it would be.”

I’ve got my tickets, my passport, my travelers’ checks and my water bottle. I’ve got clothes, too many clothes, for two climates and various social situations. I’ve got directions to Powell’s and its hellspawn parking lot, I’ve got the hot tub at the ABL, I’ve got my octopus earrings and my BALLARD! necklace on for good luck, I’ve got my sunglasses and presents to give everyone who’s helped me on my way out of here and a list of addresses to which to send postcards. It’s time to go now.

Seattle: sun on the water; the outlines of the Olympics; the deep winter clouds; making soup at home; mid-week pho lunches in the U-District; Monday night bellydance; my library hold list; my stuffed octopus collection; tall two percent hot chocolate no whip or, lately, twelve-ounce non-fat chai tea, please; KEXP; the spa; berry season; roller derby; book club; the walk across campus past the fountain to the art museum café; picking people up at the airport and saying “Where were you, I thought we said to meet at baggage claim!”; cupcakes and Tall Grass Bakery bread; third Thursdays at the Capitol Club; birthday parties; checking email in the middle of the night from my bed; mushroom pizza at the Hi-Life; walking to Sunset Park; sleeping in the cloud room underneath my old princess crown. Part of me thinks that if I go upstairs right now there all my stuff will be, and I’ll put on work clothes and locate my bus pass and leap off the front steps to catch the bus. I can’t believe how much this hurts.

Don’t let me go completely, everyone, save me a place. I don’t know when I’m coming back but I’m taking you with me in my heart; let me come home to you again.



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24 responses to “Save Me A Place”

  1. Krisanne Avatar

    As someone who has moved away from Seattle for a year and come back, let me assure you, you do not forget Seattle, and Seattle does not forget you. There will be a place for you if you want it. But you may find another place where you fit equally well (if not more). That’s the beauty of adventures like this.

  2. Krisanne Avatar

    Oh, and do have fun at Powell’s, but the description “hella-spawn” is so true of that parking garage. Proceed slowly and use your horn a lot!

  3. renee Avatar

    I can’t imagine any place that would not welcome your arrival, or your return. Hope to hear from you soon!

  4. Dawn Avatar

    You will always have a spot anywhere you choose, that I am sure of.

  5. Melanie Avatar

    You will go, and it will be marvelous, and when it’s over you will have paragraphs of things you will miss, and it will have changed you for the better. But you can always come home. Have a wonderful time!

  6. dorrie Avatar

    How could anyone not?
    Bon Voyage.

  7. Coleen Avatar

    i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)

    Can’t wait to hear from you, darlin’.

  8. Anne-Carolyn Avatar

    One of the things I love about having friends scattered around the country (around the world!) is that there is always a place for me. Your friends in Seattle will save your place, and I’ll make (another) place for you in NYC. You also have a place in Portland, and the Bay Area, and…

    There is always room!

  9. Dabney Avatar

    Have fun on your adventure, Chiara.

  10. Sharon Avatar

    *patting my lap and opening my arms*

    It’s right here, baby, when you come back for it. Your spot.

  11. Charlott Avatar

    You know, there’s always a place anywhere in the world for awesome people like you. And to me, sitting here all the way across the world, of course you’ll be in a different place, but that place is still “far from here”. Everything is relative. And even though you are just that “far from here”, I have always felt as we aren’t that far away. Not to sound too cheesy or anything. ;o)

    You’ll have a great time, and so many stories to tell when you get back. And you know, while you’re going around the world, why not stop by Sweden? :o)


  12. Jennie Avatar

    Yay I hope you like it here! (I live in Auckland). Always good to hear of great people heading our way!

  13. Jennie Avatar

    Well i’m sure you’ll love it although it’s freezing at the moment. Where abouts will you be based?

  14. Jennie Avatar

    Found you courtesy of the lovely Linda from Sundrymourning :)

    I am from Auckland born and bred. My parents have just come back from Wellington and they loved it. Much cleaner and “prettier” then Auckland. I like the hustle and bustle of Auckland myself :)

    If you need anything while your here please feel free to contact me and i’ll flick you my number.

  15. Nicole Avatar

    I also found you thanks to Linda and I am so happy. Ever since your old site was murdered and disappeared I have been dying for someone to post a link to your new site so I could find out how things were going with your big new zealand adventure. How exciting to find it on the eve of your departure. I am sure you are going to have an amazing time! in fact, you will probably be bitten by the travel bug and never come back. I went to France for a 3 week holiday and have been living abroad for the last 12 years so I know how it happens… Can’t wait to read your first post from NZ.

  16. Steff Z Avatar
    Steff Z

    Bon voyage, darling, and say “hello!” to the cephalopods in Fiji from me!!!

  17. Emilie Avatar

    You are going to have a wonderful adventure. I admire your courage immensely! Travel safely and I can’t wait to read an update soon.

  18. Jem Avatar

    See you at the airport girl. :) You will be just fine.

  19. ginger Avatar

    Baby girl, it will be different when you come back, not least because you will be different when you come back, but there will always be places for you. Note: not just one. Multiple. It’s normal to ache a little, but if it really hurts, because you’re getting too scared, remind yourself that you’ll come back someday, when you want it, and it’ll be different but the same.

    Bon voyage and bonne chance, baby. If you listen very closely, you’ll hear the tiny sound of hundreds of voices all around the world cheering you on. Can you hear it?

  20. Jana Avatar

    Travel safe, girl. Take good care of you.

  21. Erika Avatar

    Bon voyage, safe travels, have fun!

  22. Martha Avatar

    Good luck and safe travels, Chiara! I think that what you’re doing is absolutely wonderful. You’re embarking on a great adventure.

  23. Anne L. Avatar
    Anne L.

    Have an incredible adventure Chiara! Consider a space held!

  24. Jessica Avatar

    I wish we had been able to get to know each other better. I look forward to reading about your adventures.