My extra mother Dee informs me that I’m behind on posting. I say you can only be behind if you’ve got a deadline of some sort; however, in deference to the fact that she helped raise me, I am behind a laptop screen with a cup of tea on a foggy Berkeley afternoon.
So. Some things about leaving.
1. Leaving is scary.
2. Leaving is super exciting.
3. Leaving makes me distracted.
First Things First: Leaving is Scary
This afternoon I turned in my passport and visa app (which have been haunting various corners of my desk for about a month) to the wonderful USPS. Lucky for me the nearest office is right across the street, so when I inevitably panicked and thought of all the things that could possibly be wrong with my papers I was able to run back…three times.
Shout out to Ricco in window 3 at the North Berkeley Post Office–I made three treks to his window in various states of hysteria asking all sorts of dumb questions about money orders, passport security, and delivery timetables and demanding he open my package and give it back so I could check it “just one more time.” He only scolded me once and opened my package three times. In my book that qualifies for sainthood.
While I was exploring the ins and outs of sending important documents last minute, I picked up a change of address form from the counter. I got home and started to fill it out only to realize that there was a tiny box marked “temporary move” and I couldn’t check it. I had no idea that this sort of option even existed. Theoretically, it’s a pause button, an undo for the excel sheet of your life, courtesy of the USPS. If I made this a temporary move, I could come back to the same apartment I spent my college years in, my garden, my people, my East Bay life. But here’s the thing–it wouldn’t be the same, and I’m not so sure I’d want to come back if it was. Every time we step out our doors it’s a new adventure, so why should I expect life here to freeze just because I’m not in the frame?
That being said, I’m still not thrilled about having to put my childhood address as my new address. Nothing quite like signing official paperwork stating that should everything go horribly wrong you will be living at home…in Sacramento…with your parents. It’s kind of like officially declaring yourself to be moving backwards.
Caveat: Leaving is Super Exciting
I have spent all day today doing the shit I know I need to do but haven’t quite finished yet: all the permanent stuff I’ve put off because frankly I hate not having an escape plan. It’s been a long Wednesday of burning bridges and crossing Rubicons and I have hated every minute of it, until I remember where I’m going.
I’m going to a completely new place with total strangers and a project I believe in with my whole heart. I get to try something new, explore a totally different culture, eat new foods, and (my favorite) tell people about bicycles. While I love to ride, and I love my bike, what I really love is that I get to go tell children they can go to school and teachers that they won’t be late for work. That’s pretty awesome. That’s what’s worth leaving home for. To boot, Village Bicycle Project is run by some really wonderful and super knowledgable people, and I get to go learn the ropes from Jason and Ebenezer and Diana, all of whom are excellent teachers.
My friends who are already in Ghana serving as Peace Corps Volunteers have bombarded my Facebook feed with photos of their adventures, which only makes the whole process of leaving more exciting. Did you know you can fit a goat and a passenger on a motorbike along with the driver? Neither did I. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
The Result: Distraction
Between looking at amazing photos of where I’ll be living, trying not to panic over actually leaving, and finding someone to take over my life here (any takers?), I’ve been a little spacier than usual. There’s a scene in one of my favorite movies (Danny Deckchair) where the protagonist starts daydreaming about his vacation and falls head first into a vat of cement. I won’t tell you more than that, look it up, it’s well worth the thousand words it would take to properly describe it. That was me this afternoon when I boarded the wrong BART train, not once, but TWICE on my way back from the San Francisco office. The second time I got all the way to Lake Merritt before realizing I was not only late for work but that I had also gone three miles and two stops in the wrong direction. Had this happened only once (or ever before) I’d say I need more coffee. But twice in the span of 15 minutes–clearly I need help.
All this is to say that if I seem like I’m not sad to go, or that I can’t wait to leave, or that I’ve recently had a lobotomy, please know that I already miss everyone here, and I love you all dearly.
PS: Here’s the clip.