This is my first time flying alone. I think sitting alone on New Year’s Eve at the gate of a plane flying a long flight is a good place to learn that independence does not mean not needing anyone. I could use my loved ones right now, today of all days. This plane will not only take me into the New Year, but also to a 4-month life away from everything I’ve grown to love. Everything will be new for the next 4 months of my life. Absolutely everything. Exciting or daunting, I’m stuck in the middle.
At the airport. Thank goodness for free wifi, skype, and people-watching. My brother-in-law pointed out that I might technically miss New Year’s tonight. If I pass over into a new timezone at any time between 23:01 and 23:59, I will technically miss that critical second, when people around the world will be embracing loved ones, cheering, and watching spectacles of light and fire in their city skies. The blinking light from my British Airways plane will be that lonely thing in the sky, rumbling passed and forgotten about in only a few seconds. See you in Amsterdam, I guess.
I could have flown out on another day, but a difference of hundreds of dollars separates flying out on New Year’s Eve from flying on every other day this holiday season. Would I have paid that sum of money to embrace my loved ones at midnight? I guess I’m one of the few that won’t. Kisses from the sky, love. If it snows on you at midnight, just pretend the soft pricks of cold came from me.
- Four Fish: The future of the last wild food – Paul Greenberg
(non-fiction, environment, food security)
- Sweaty Palms: The neglected art of being interviewed – H. Anthony Medley
The grandfather clock in my parents’ home tick tocks the seconds away, a million of which I feel have to pass before it will be appropriate for me to go to the airport. Apprehension is turning into anxiousness. It’s not so much that I feel I must go now, but more that I would be more productive by going now.
You could say restless also. 2 days.
I owe much to my most amazing friend Alex. 3 days to NL.
5 days to Netherlands.
Single digit numbers have never been so stomach-wrenchingly intimidating. Sitting with my family nearing the last hours of Christmas day, it all seems fine and dandy. Not a care, watching family videos sent from our relatives in rural South Vietnam, things are great until it ends, and I’m left sitting alone on the couch. I contact friends, in a half desperate attempt to alleviate the stress that returns over and over again to attack the butterflies in my stomach. Butterflies or unsettled Christmas turkey and mashed potatoes – I can’t tell which.
Happy Holidays (or Merry Christmas)!
Written from Aunt’s house – Kingston, Ontario, Canada
8 days to Netherlands! Between now and Saturday the 31st, I will spend Christmas in Kingston, and the days in between in Brampton. On the evening of the 31st, I’ll be flying with British Airways to London Gatwick airport, and then directly to Schiphol in Amsterdam, arriving bright and early at 9h00 local time. With a day to settle in, the next day is my first day at work.
Last evening I spent the night packing away. My room in Ottawa will wait for me, packed up in boxes, ready to collect dust and host spiders until May. As I wrapped presents for Christmas, the immediacy of everything slowly occurred to me. The days are moving slowly, and I watch them pass by, the clocks in my head tick tocking away, alluding to my lack of preparedness and inexperience. What am I doing? Why did I decide to go to the Netherlands? My mind steps from self-doubting question to question, all the while my hands continuing to pack clothes away. Is this fear?
Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates the strength of Resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. – Steven Pressfield in Fear and the Creative Process
As my packing came to completion, I couldn’t tell anymore if I was bringing too much or too little. Do I really wear this few clothes? What am I missing? Do I have my phone, my phone charger, my laptop, my laptop charger, my documents, my toothbrush? It came to the point where I just had to trust in my own capacity to prepare, and if all went awry, in my ability to adapt. If invisible forces tore me of my belongings as I headed to the plane, I would clutch my passport and plane ticket and board that plane anyway. As much as preparedness is all good and dandy, calm adaptability is my Plan B when all plans fail.
It has been many days since I’ve posted.
Occupied with a guest, exams, and travel preparations, I have had very little time to keep up with writing. There are now 8 days to Netherlands. My guest noted that I do not look nervous, but I do sound like it.
Despite the reassurance of friends and family, the nervousness doesn’t go away, and likely won’t until I am safe in bed in the Hague 9 days from now. Other than having not packed at all (with the necessity of packing tonight since I won’t be coming back to Ottawa for another 134 days), I am all set to go. Plane ticket, place to stay, ride to Pearson, ride from Schiphol, rent and deposit acquired, finances set, paperwork completed, etc etc etc. I’ll update further on those details later, in another post and another category.
I am very excited.
I sit here thinking how grateful I must be, as if the mind observing my heart is somehow separate from it, observing it as if it is a different person altogether. But it’s not. They both sit here talking to the man across the table that I’ve spent the last 2 and a half years with, aware (in the crevices of my thoughts and feelings) that here I feel safe. No matter how scared, unprepared, and sad I feel to separate myself from home by the longitudinal width of the Atlantic Ocean, I know that no amount of kilometres could intervene in that most deep feeling of safety. That confidence that knows by intuition and belief that a part of me will always be somewhere safe.
19 days to Netherlands.