Saturday, June 30, 2007

Westward Bound

We leave on Monday, westward bound. Our destination: the Hyatt Regency in downtown Sacramento, from where we’ll search for an apartment and buy a car over the course of the next week. It seems incredible—ridiculous—that we’re actually going; the last two weeks have been such a nonstop whirlwind that thoughts of California have been muted at best. And yet here I am, taking a moment away from my “packing” to update my blog.

I say “packing,” and not just packing, for this is a different beast entirely. Because we don’t yet know how long we’ll be staying, we’re taking only the bare minimum—I’ve packed only my favorite summer things, a few books that top my to-read list, the pile of new strappy shoes I’ve bought over the past two weeks (shopping in dollars again is wonderful—no denying that). I’m packing up the rest, all the other clothes and books and stuff I had with me in Spain, but I’m packing it to leave behind; it will all join my other boxes of stuff in my parents’ attic. All my nice things—a black dress I love (but there’s no occasion for it; it stays behind); my favorite cowboy boots (who knows where we’ll be come fall?); the books I’d love to just have on a bookshelf; the nice kitchen things I didn’t throw out when I left Brooklyn—keep accumulating just outside the boundaries of my life. And once again I must whittle down my must-take-with-me’s to the two bags I’m allowed to check on the plane.

We seem to be refining our ability to live out of suitcases; it’s become a kind of art form. Yet I cannot stress the depth of my desire to have all my things in one place—summer clothes, winter clothes, books to read, books long read, bowls and plates, my deluxe Scrabble board, all of them in their own right spot, suitcases shoved into closets or under beds, empty, awaiting their next vacation. Andrew doesn’t share this urgency; he’s content enough with the knowledge that it will happen one of these days. But now that I’m back in the U.S., I’m done with suitcases. I’m done with carefully labeling boxes and hauling them to the attic. I can live without most things if it means I get to live in Spain; living without, say, a tape dispenser or stapler or my fabulous card catalog is perfectly palatable when the trade-off is so glamorous and life-changing and fun. But for me the nomadic lifestyle has its time and place. And this, to be sure, is not it.

Despite my frustration with not having a real home base, I am truly excited to be going to California. We’re westward bound…

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