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Leaving America


I'm sitting in the Portland International Airport right now waiting for my flight to San Francisco. From there it is on to Seoul, my new home. I have no idea where my apartment will be as of right now. This whole thing is crazy.


Not even twelve hours ago the HR person from the school I am now working for told me I would be flying out today. I hurried to clean my apartment and get everything ready to leave. The whole week before I had slowly, slowly been getting things prepared for this day, but I honestly figured they would give me 24 hours notice before my flight. Oh well. I stayed up until just passed 4:30 AM last night and woke up at before 6. The night before I had slept three hours. As you can imagine, I am exhausted.

The whole of last night remains a strange memory. I felt so sad and alone clearing my apartment, my home for the past six months, of all traces of me. Over and over I ran into reminders of the times I had there. In one corner, the first toy I bought Catface when I first got him, in the other, a funny note Jackie had left on my mirror. I had already given away a good deal of clothes to Goodwill and taken most of my things to the storage unit, but I still had so much stuff to take care of. Every time I turned around there was something else to throw away or decide if I want to keep. I ended up making one extra trip to the storage unit before heading to the airport. I had to.

Throwing the less important things away felt wasteful. I have a hard time getting rid of things. Each dumb little object I came to reminded me of the plans I had for it and why I hadn't gotten rid of it before. It made me feel like a failure. I always have so many great plans, but I have a hard time making them happen. It's these little things. I know what I want to do, but I distract myself with the knowledge that carrying out my plan will not take too much time. Day by day I put off things until I run into the prospect of never being able to do them. And that smacked me around all night.

And as for being wasteful, that was a ton of money I threw away, essentially. And when I come back to the U.S. (not for a long time), I'll have to buy all that stuff over again. But it just did not make sense to keep trash cans in the storage unit for example.

Then I started missing Catface. A lot. I wasn't the best pet owner; he was my first pet. But I know he needed me. That made me feel special in a way I hadn't before. I wanted to take care of him and he needed me to. Every day he would jump in my lap and fall asleep. I loved it. And when he was sick it hurt me. I hated that. And now I don't have him and it makes me feel like I failed somehow. As if a truly loving person would have done more to keep him. I didn't even say goodbye before I left El Paso. I forgot. I forgot. You know, I have no idea if he even realizes that I gave him up, but I can't get over that I passed him off onto someone else.



All of that, plus the stress of making sure I have all my papers in order and bags packed with everything I need, et cetera, et cetera, overshadowed all the good things that are coming up. I'll be able to make more than the minimum payments on my debts. I'll be doing something I care about. I'll be having new experiences. I don't feel stuck at a dead end. And, most importantly, I get to be with Jackie again. Still, last night just felt like a night to reflect on the past.

And I suppose that means today is a day to look toward the future. It is bright.
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Comments

  1. Good luck! I went and visited Seoul last October and fell in love. After I got home I applied to teach, and had a very similar experience in the rush of it all! I ultimately decided not to accept it, at least not yet, but I do miss being there a lot. Can't wait to see how it all goes for you! :]

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  2. I love that last line. You can do it!! I believe in you. Have faith. I'm so proud of you, Charlie Brown!

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