Friday, April 11, 2014

On leaving a place behind

A very good friend is leaving behind her life in London and returning to the Pacific seaboard; her (other) hometown of San Francisco. To say I'm going to miss her is an understatement. We've known each other for nearly a decade. Many decades will follow I'm sure, but this move is the end of an era. The end of one thing is only the beginning of another. And leaving a place behind is simply leaving a place behind - everything else travels with you.

Lara wrote a beautiful piece on her blog about leaving one home for another.

leaving home

it finally hit me.  today.  after weeks of only half believing it.  i’m leaving london.
my room’s bare. outside albion drive is bathed in sunshine and spring flowers, all this newness, all this change.
the aussie from the shipping company picked up my six ‘destination: sfo-usa’ boxes this morning, efficient, skilled, oblivious to me walking behind the boxes to the van, as if behind a funeral hearse, a procession.
my belongings are in transit, they’re in between here and there, a little like my head these past weeks piecing together a new life in california, while feeling more rooted than ever in my life and friends and favourite places in london.  a slow dissolving of commitments, of the responsibilities and possessions that hold me here.  and now with majority of my stuff gone and my room with its small piles of clothes and toiletries and whatnots, another string is cut.  in five days i’ll leave this home and this country.
the boxes, the size is called tea carton, are in a truck now racing towards a warehouse near the airport to be weighed, to be measured, to be inspected. inside my collections of green woods 1950s teacups and the jam jars and borough wine reusable bottles, samira’s ceramic bowl, my down duvet, my trinkets and postcards and posters and blankets and dishes and cutlery and books and books and books.  my years here, nearly ten, packed hurriedly and ferried away.
what to keep, what to bring to charity shops.  these decisions over the past weeks have surprised me, how sentimental i am over stuff, some of it found on sidewalks, bought for fifty pence at jumble sales, some of it gifted, most of it bought, as if in all this stuff, there will be an understanding of my time here that i can take with me, that will remind me of who and where i have been in this future life, tentative, unformed, of my london, edinburgh and st andrews stories, the choices i’ve made, the experiences i’ve had, the friends, and walks and quiet moments shared. 


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