Friday, July 15, 2011
One week from today I will be making the *BIG* move. Though nothing at all is in any way whatsoever decided yet... don't know where I'll be living, how the job thing is going to work out (though I feel peace about that being an ongoing question), or in fact whether I'll be allowed to stay... I am going back to the country where I've most recently lived for more than a couple of months, the country where my parents live, a place where I have friends and mostly understand the logic behind 'the system.' I plan on sticking around for a while. In my world, I'm setting a very ambitious mental/emotional goal of two years, which seems a bit over-ambitious - after all, I haven't pulled off anything more than 4 months for nearly a decade now. But I'm trying to think big.
I woke up this morning and realised that I'd been dreaming of choosing an iPhone. I have never actually wanted an iPhone, but I decide that once I move to a country with 3G technology and plan on staying there more than a couple of weeks, I want to get something that lets me take advantage of that. I dream of catching up on blogs and writing in random remote places, of talking on skype on a phone, even occasionally going places without my computer (yes, I know, I'm a bit of an addict). For those of you who so kindly read and comment on my blog and to whom I so rarely return the favour, maybe I'll get better at actually interacting.
And so this has started a day of processing all the things that are going to change for me in a week. Most of them are terrifying me: they are ways in which I have grown dysfunctional and skills I will have to re-learn.
For example, what do you do when you have met up with a friend for a cup of coffee, enjoyed catching up but didn't make specific plans for hanging out again? In my world, I never make plans because I'll be leaving soon and will call them for coffee when I'm in town again. I haven't done do-over cups-of-coffee for years! This concept has me a bit frightened.
For that matter, how do you schedule social activities knowing that you can do them anytime in the next year because you'll be around all year? I'm used to there being a sense of urgency to all socialising due to impending travel and am not sure how I'm to deal with a blank slate.
How much shampoo should I buy? How many toothbrushes? Those decisions are always based, for me, on how long I'll be in a location where I won't have easy access to a drugstore. So, does that mean I should only buy one of each? But what if I run out one day... shouldn't I have spare?
Similarly, how does one choose a good towel? My previous logic of the-best-quality-that-takes-up-the-least-suitcase-space/weight probably doesn't apply anymore.
And subscriptions? How do those work for phones, websites, magazines? Three-month, six-month, year-long... Those have never even been an option to me before so I've just rejected them out of hand. But the advertisements point out that you save money with a longer subscription - how do you decide?
As I write this, I am reminded of how incredibly simple my life has been. It's me, my laptop, a suitcase with clothing and a few special items like a coffee press and portable speakers, and my passport. I haven't changed my status with my bank in any way for years, hardly ever use my credit card, don't really have any friends outside of work colleagues. It's not going to be so simple anymore, is it?
But from everything I've seen and read, I think it will be more manageable. All this moving around, combined with long hours and stressful work, has diminished my capacity for complexity in life. I'm counting on that, and that all these things which seem so overwhelming to me now will actually be more manageable than a constant state of culture shock.