I’m just waiting for my yoga pants to come out of the dryer and I’ll be all packed up—my huge orange suitcase is only half full (including presents!) because I plan to do a lot of shopping while I’m in the States. My flatmate got me a carrot cake to have after dinner tonight and a magazine to read on the plane. My traveling outfit (t-shirt dress, leggings, merino sweater, scarf, and sandals, if you must know) is set out on the dresser, my passport is all ready to go, I’m checked in for all my various flights, and my room is clean. It’s time, all of a sudden, to go back to America.
I’m going for the best reason in the world: my sister is getting married, to her every excellent partner Mike, who won my heart forever the first time I met him, years ago now: he came over to my mom’s house when I was home for Christmas and brought three bouquets of flowers—one for my mom, one for me, and one for my sister. He gave Becks her bouquet first, of course, and that pretty much sums up their relationship as far as I can tell. I couldn’t be happier to have him in my family; I’ve thought of him as my brother-in-law for quite a while now, which I guess he legally is as of two weeks ago.
That’s right—they are actually already married as I’m sitting on the (newly vacuumed) floor of my room with the heater on, trying to remember if I’ve forgotten anything for tomorrow. They got legally married a couple of weeks ago in a private ceremony at Fairchild Tropical Gardens and went on their honeymoon, and now they’re having the wedding reception at home on the beach. That’s the thing that everyone, including me, is going to. I know Mike’s chef brother is doing most of the cooking, I know I might be contributing to the playlist, and I know it’s shoes-optional, and that’s about it. (Coincidentally, I also love low-key brides).
So I’m pretty excited about the reception. I’m also excited to see my mom (and duh, my sister) and those of the extended family who are able to make it, to see Manya and some friends from high school if I can, to walk on the beach and at the Quiet Gardens, to eat morros y maduros, and to be WARM. Yet again I’m going to be a total tourist, walking around in a bikini top and boardies while all the Floridians shiver in their closed-toe shoes and sweaters—I mean it is October, after all, on that side of the world.
On this side, though, the one I’m in, the one in which I am sitting on the floor writing right now—on this side I feel a little funny about going back. What most of the immigrants I know in Wellington do is go back home every other year, and if you’re lucky the family comes to you in the intervening years. That was my plan too—my dear cousin and friend is getting married (!) next Northern Hemisphere summer and I was planning to go back to Seattle for that, combined with a trip to Miami and New York. I’m still planning to do that next August—but this wedding, my sister’s, just fell together, and the next thing I knew I was looking at trans-Pacific flights a year earlier than I meant to. It’s been nine months since I got back, and as I may have mentioned once or twice in the intervening time, it’s been a lot harder to adjust this time around than I would have ever expected. I’m only starting to feel settled now—and even so there are still all those questions that I am not sure will ever be really resolved, about staying and going and going and staying. Things still feel a little shaky.
So I don’t know what it will be like to go back so soon, and for so short a time. The whole reason I spent so much time in Miami last year was to have some normal, non-action-packed time with my family, which is pretty much the opposite of what the next couple of weeks will be like. They’ll be fun, and exciting, and emotional, but they very likely won’t be very relaxing. I don’t know what this trip will be like, but I feel relatively assured that it won’t be boring.
I just need to brush my teeth and put a last few things in my bag and fill up my hot water bottles and get a good night’s sleep so I can get on the plane bright and (groan) early tomorrow. Off I go, for a short time, home again, away from home, all of the above and everywhere in between.