Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On the verge of tomorrow

Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need to know of hell. ~Emily Dickinson

I'm done. Really. The suitcases are closed, bordering on explosion, and are in the car ready to leave at 5 tomorrow morning. My children and I are booked for a long journey with two layovers, one of which is in Canada. We are flying on our frequent flier miles, which means you must take what they offer as far as the route goes. Usually I would be dreading it. Out travel time will be 24 hours easily by the time we arrive in Denver. This time I don't care.

It's been quite hot in Italy, and yesterday we went swimming in this stream that runs through the mountains behind our house. The water is glacier cold, and the pool beneath the waterfall is deep enough to dive into.

The dog's kennel is ready and he has his ticket, too. We glued a poster that I took off the wall of the children's room to the top of it. It's an aerial photograph of the Colorado Fouteeners, the Colorado mountain peaks that exceed 14,000 feet. We are moving to a town at 9,000 feet altitude, where it takes you a few days to catch your breath. My husband drew an arrow on the top of the highest peak on the poster with the words "Lucky is here". Lucky is the lucky dog coming with us.

One of Colorado's Fourteeners

The last few days have been the hardest of all. The rounds of goodbyes have been literally gut wrenching. I didn't consider that at all, until all of a sudden I found myself crying over and over again. The truth is I wasn't crying for the people I wouldn't be seeing for a while, but for myself and family, for the fear that this big leap will land us a mud puddle. In my heart I believe that I lead a sort of charmed life, and at times like these I'm sure I'll do something, or something will just happen, that will take that life away from me. My doubts began to manifest the moment I laid my head on the pillow.

I've been tending to this rose bush for the past two years in the hopes that it would bloom. It has finally decided to bloom now that I'm leaving!

Cleaning out and dismantling my home has been both painful and liberating, and has brought to light things long hidden away. As I was cleaning out the drawers of my children's desk, I found my eldest son's diary. I have a vague memory of both my children asking me to buy them diaries years ago. My firstborn had a green diary with a little padloclock on it. My youngest had a blue one. I believe they were 9 and 7 years old at the time. When I stumbled upon these the other day, the blue one was torn open and scribbled on with pastels, and held a few drawings of cartoon characters. The green one, however, fell onto the floor and was opened to the first page. My big boy really had kept a diary for a while, and his neat fourth grade calligraphy filled the first twenty or so pages. I resisted my urge to read the whole thing, and put the diary in a box of our most important keepsakes. I did, however, see the introductory line to his diary, which read:

"Io vengo da una famiglia speciale..."

(I come from a special family)

I guess this means that I'm not the only one who thinks she leads a charmed life. And I know that feeling is something we hold inside and nurture no matter where we are, or what language we are speaking.

P.S. As I publish this post, my Expat Interview has also just gone online... now that I'm to become a former expat! Timing is everything... You can check it out here.


Jennifer said...

This was one hell of a gut-wrenching, tear-jerking goodbye/hello post.

You and your son are right. Your family is special and charmed. You will land on your feet.

I wish you tante belle cose e tantissime ancora.

sognatrice said...

Sending many positive thoughts to a very special family :)

Rebecca said...

It IS heartbreaking leaving....

Gosh - I hope the journey is comfortable and safe and I hope you manage to get a bit of sleep. And I hope that when you arrive back in the States that you are filled with CERTAINTY that you have done the right thing.

Good Luck and see you when you are back home....

Caroline in Rome said...

Good luck with the big move. I will be interested in reading any reverse culture shock experiences that you encounter once you are back "home".

Jenn in Holland said...

Jennifer, my tears are flowing as I read this last post from Italy. What a beautiful piece, what exceptional photography!
Hurry, hurry (but enjoy the journey) and get your computer set up in Colorado so we can hear more, more, more.
I am so glad I am not losing you, yet still I am crying at your departure. You make a mark friend and you are in my heart.

anno said...

This is so beautiful, I'm still catching my breath. I'll echo Jenn, enjoy the journey, but hurry back.

Brillig said...

Beautiful, beautiful post, Jennifer. So, this is it! You'll be in my thoughts as you make your grand trek. Can't wait to hear from you when you reach the other side.

cathouse teri said...

I think I was going to say something here earlier, and I either forgot. Or I did it and it didn't take.

ANYWAY, I can't even remember what it was. But I hope your travels and transition goes well. It won't be easy. Never is. But I believe you're up to it! ;)

We're all with ya, babe.

Cate said...

Hoping you are having a wonderful journey. Write when you can.

Rebecca said...

are you there yet?

Mary said...

Beautiful. I wish you safe travels.

Daisy said...

Gulp. Sniff. Good luck and safe travels.