I’ve spent the last several days feeling gobsmacked, discovering again and again the distance between my experience and my new reality. As a wise friend commented: we’ve realized we’re not on vacation any more.
Here the wind seems to blow ceaselessly, driving in rain and sun in succession so quickly I don’t know if I’m hot or cold. Emotionally, it’s been much the same. A moment of competence – giving someone directions to our apartment. (Me! Giving directions! And they didn’t drive wrong way into traffic or fall off a cliff!) A moment of crushing failure — trying to learn how to drive a stick shift. And failing. (Desperately.) Being asked by a taxi driver: “Guess what Middle eastern country I am from?” (Worst.Game.Ever.) Discovering a gorgeous park two minutes walk from the house we hope to move to. Being told we must leave our temporary housing on Friday, and not knowing where we will go. The big kids stepping up and being responsible for their little sister on the school bus — I’m so proud. And so worried. And so proud. My horrified realization that I sometimes sound like fake-accent Madonna when talking with strangers — otherwise they don’t understand me. (Apologies, Madonna. I’ve been making fun of you for that for years.)
Finding something beautiful — like a bacon sandwich — and wanting to share it with friends who aren’t here. (You don’t think a bacon sandwich can be beautiful? Wish you were here, so I could show you.) Being jet lagged and exhausted and confused … And finding moments of pure serendipity, like sitting at a bus stop next to an ancient village inn and having tea in a gentle rain.
I’d like to say I have a grand realization to wrap all this up in a sweet little bow. (Maybe in a Cath Kidston ribbon.) But, no, all I have is a cup of coffee and the intention to keep eyes and hands open to new things as they come.
(Except stick shifts. That may require therapy.)