Tuesday, February 24, 2015

traveling to ourselves

Funny how we forget other worldly pleasures when our life is taken over by chaos. In my case, the chaos of moving. We forget about books and movies and simple pleasures (a cup of tea) and stillness. When surrounded by boxes and living out of suitcases are your daily life, it's hard to create a quiet moment to read a bit of Rumi.

Moving has always been a heavy word for me. My first major move was at age seven when my family packed our entire lives to leave Vietnam. We left the spices, the open markets, the silk dresses and my grandfather for hamburgers and soda and Disney World. I slept the whole way across the Atlantic Ocean and missed all my in-flight meals. I wore my favorite white dress. I remember my grandfather holding on to me until the last second. I remember him holding my hand and walking me into the airport at dawn. When moving equates to your whole world changing and to always yearn for the ones you love, you know to brace for it.

The second time I moved, I left my family for New York. It was very matter of fact the way it all played out. We sat down for dinner and I mentioned casually that in two days I will be moving up to New York. That was how we did it at home; independently and on our own will. My parents inquired where I would be living and how I would feed myself. Beyond that they were completely fine with letting me into the world on my own. My brother and I operate on this strategy: we just go.

My third move was to Shanghai, a whole other world for a whole other entry.

Then there was Nicaragua. Heat. Dust. Smiles. Sweat.

Now there is San Francisco. The lover and I have moved into our own one bedroom, sans room mates. For the last two weeks we have thoughtfully been furnishing. Every weekend we would pack ourselves into a rental and drive to furniture and rug stores. We picked out dining sets, a couch, bedsheets, desks, and shelves for the bathroom. We painted. For the last two weeks, I have found it hard to feel settled. The roots that I have carefully laid down for the past two summers are becoming unfurled. Today is the first day that I remembered I had a blog. Two nights ago I remembered I had a Kindle. Sleep has been elusive for the past couple of weeks until two days ago, when the bedroom, the curtains, and dressers have finally found a place to go in our new home, then sleep came.

There is this nagging voice inside that tells me I need to find a job soon. Like two summers ago when I had four interviews lined up, it tells me I need to find that fire again. Then there is the guilt that knows that I have not conjured up the energy.  Displacement engulfs every space in your mind. It forces you to address it until there is no more noise inside your head, inside your living space.

Picking up on this journal today was like finding fresh air again. I know I had it in me, but I totally forgot what it felt like to write. It wasn't lost entirely, just put aside for more important needs. But what could be more important than writing? I'm glad I haven't forgotten entirely. I'm glad I still have my writing to keep me sane.


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