This time next month, with all due consideration of time changes and the International Date Line, I’ll have just got into Wellington from San Francisco. I’ll have a couple of weeks before I start work–a couple of weeks to hug all my friends and to see if I recall how to get around the city, to learn to drive on the other side of the road and go to many barbecues and to remember how to use gold coins (DON’T PUT THEM IN THE CHANGE JAR CHIARA THEY ARE ACTUAL MONEY), and to try to find new flatmates. Then it will be time start commuting and sitting at a desk and typing in passwords and going for work drinks and all those other things that people with jobs do, which I can barely remember. My hope is that I’ll jump right back into being there, the way I did during my time in Seattle, that even though a lot of my friends have left and obviously much has changed in a year, I’ll still have a place there—or that I’ll be able to find a new place there. It’s good to think about.
Right now, though, I mostly feel fussy and anxious and sad. I had about forty-eight hours of feeling glad about getting the work visa (during which I got sick again) until an email from Immigration on Friday evening spun me out again, causing me to make more panicked phone calls and spend more piles of money on international postage, and I’ll spend most of tomorrow and Tuesday, I’m guessing, the same way, and I don’t know when or whether it’s going to end.
I’m sorry to report that I couldn’t care less about Christmas this year—I guess I like Christmas fine and I’ll be glad to do it the way my family does it, but I’m not agoggle with anticipation or anything. I guess when you don’t have kids or a lot of relatives it’s not that big of a thing; when you live in the same city as your family the prospect of panettone and hot chocolate on the morning of the 25th is lovely but not imbued with any sort of magic holiday aura. The Christmas orchids and the decorated potted palm do look nice though, and I’m glad Miami is not under eighteen feet of snow like Seattle apparently is, according to my Facebook friends’ status updates—but other than that I feel pretty calm about the whole thing.
Except that I have, seriously, one million thing to do right now—packing, calling, writing, cleaning, sorting, buying, giving away, filing, labeling, sending, forwarding, noting, remembering, planning, and many many other gerunds—but I can’t shake this lassitude, this passivity that’s broken up only by fairly regular bouts of high anxiety. I keep thinking I’ve sabotaged myself again, I keep wondering what else I’ve left out, I keep waiting for some other entirely overlooked shoe to drop. I wish I could say that I was checking things off my list on time, stepping to the beat, but instead I’m acting like a college student who doesn’t want to write her sociology paper—I’m sighing and dawdling and looking off into space, checking my email, dipping my biscuits into my tea, sighing again. I need to be focused but I’m all over the place—my head is all over the world right now.
It’s almost over now, though—this time next month I will be sitting in my friend’s flat in Mt. Vic, stupid and smelly from the plane (no stops in Fiji this time, sadly), giving out American presents and probably charging up my Kiwi phone, which requires a minimum of eight hours at the powerpoint per day, if memory serves. I’ll have made it onto the plane and over the aforementioned International Date Line and through customs, and I’ll be done with saying goodbye. Immigration will do what immigration will do and I will just have to live with whatever that turns out to be.
This fractured, unreal, impossible year is almost over, and I am going back to the place I’ve been turned towards all this time. A few more weeks of paused potential, of near-constant worry and threadbare isolation and I’m there, I’m there, I’m finally there.