December Tuesday

I just got home from an evening walk to return some library books, for which I put on a sweater and closed-toe shoes, for the first time in months. I am not a huge fan of The Holidays in general but I couldn’t help smiling when I went by the “village green” (otherwise known as “the big soccer field” and “the playground” and “where there used to be all those Australian pines when I was a kid”) and its lighted up tree-and-menorah display. I listened to the extraordinarily grooveable Velella Velella all the way there and all the way back and felt thankful that I’m currently living in a place where I can walk around alone at night almost completely without fear and decided that there is no more excellently makeoutable song than “Your Name Here,” no indeed there isn’t.

The work visa went in on Saturday and I have no idea a) if I’ll get it at all and b) when it will show up at my house if I do get it, which is a little scary because my new job in Wellington is supposed to start exactly two months from today and I can’t buy a plane ticket until I get the visa and so on and so forth. It’s hard to understand that, knock wood, I’ll be there soon. The last time I went to New Zealand I was really scared when I was two months out, all worried about all sorts of things; I remember lying in bed every night those last couple of weeks just spinning my wheels, wondering why I was going and what I was doing and what would happen when I got there. I quite literally couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be there—everyone, at that time, was always telling me how brave I was for moving to the other side of the world without knowing anyone but I didn’t even let myself think about that part, I never considered it. At the time I just focused on the minutiae, as is my wont: if I can only fit two pairs of shoes into my green pack, which shoes should they be? What will I do with my IKEA bookshelves for a year? How will I get from Auckland to Rotorua? How, exactly, is pavlova supposed to taste?

This time around—well, yeah, a plane ticket isn’t the only thing I don’t have. I’m waaaaaaaay more casual this time around; when I’m not actively doing something like getting another three thousand horridly unflattering passport pictures taken to append to yet another species of application or writing a check for yet another fee, I haven’t been thinking about it that much, which sounds really weird to say. I have an ever-evolving to-do list, of course, but I feel strangely divorced from it, partially, I guess, because I don’t have the same fear that if I don’t get to something on the list that everything will go horribly wrong. I mean, as long as I actually do get the visa and the ticket and remember to bring, like, a pair of pajamas and a toothbrush, I think I’ll be sweet as.

Of course I also don’t have the same sense of expecation, either—Wellington is no longer a mysterious black box to me. I predict this next year there is going to be fairly commonplace, in that I’ll have a nine-to-five again and I’ll try to get back into bellydance and to get caught up on Outrageous Fortune and to go out and have fun on a fairly regular basis. It will be good, it will be satisfying, but I don’t think it will be necessarily earth-shattering. No one is telling me I’m so brave anymore, either—which makes sense because I’m not doing anything so very courageous. I’m just going back to a place I felt at home, to some of the many people in the world I love very much. The only that requires bravery is to continue to refuse to put a timeframe on it, this time—I’m not saying when, or if, I’ll return to the States. That’s the only hard part, this time.

But that reality feels removed too, another thing I haven’t been thinking about much. I find myself suspended in amber, here, letting the days go by peacefully and unremarkably, concentrating on what I’m going to cook for dinner and what I’m going to get my sister for Christmas and what the little baby kitty is up to. I’m going to New Zealand in two months, knock wood, and in the meantime I’m here in Miami, sitting on the bed listening to music and drinking tea and thinking about what I have clean to wear to substitute in the third grade class tomorrow. It’s that simple, it’s that strange, to be located so precisely and temporarily on this December Tuesday.


  1. “How, exactly, is pavlova supposed to taste?”

    Is it accident or is it really, really clever design that this question – sitting as it is at the end of a paragraph – is so neatly answered by the end of the following paragraph?

    “Sweet as”. In every possible sense.

  2. DUDE. You are still totally brave. Yeah, it’s a place you feel at home – but this time you’re kind of committed; it’s expected to be home, this time.

    Uh, not to scare you.