Final Countdown, Minor Meltdown

Ciao Readers!

As recently as 2 days ago, my final day at the law school, I was still remarkably calm and collected – as if I move to a foreign country everyday.  Despite a crazy-busy week filled with more cat-moving drama, the sale of my car, and possibly my last-ever court appearance, I ended the week on a mellow note.  I walked around the building, said my goodbyes, and drove off into the sunset.  I was pretty proud of myself.  People were commenting how they’d be much more stressed in my position.  But not me – I’m cool as a cucumber.  Well, until now….

Okay, NOW it is really dawning on me.  It’s gone from being exciting, to surreal, to ever-so-real.  We are moving to Italy a week from Thursday!!!  Seriously!

I am writing this post to try and help process my thoughts and feelings, but I think they are too jumbled and intense and varied to make much sense of.  Overall, there is a powerful sense of impending displacement – of time and place and people and comfort and familiarity.  (And the more concrete dread of the actual obstacle-course trip itself)

While there’s still a little stuff left here and there, most of our household has been sold or given away or packed.  We’ve lived in this house for 18 years.  It doesn’t look right this empty – as if the “home” part has been packed up.   I wonder if we will ever live in this house again…

I continue to have lunches with friends and stubbornly continue to refuse to say “goodbye.”  After all, in this day of Skype and e-mail, there really is no such thing as “goodbye” – is there?  And, if I’m being honest, I am just no good at the mushy stuff.  But know I’ll miss the spontaneous deep conversations in the hallway at law school, Saturdays at meditation, and long lunches to catch up and vent and just be.  The open-ended guest-floor invitation is my solace.

It’s the first weekend of the Olympics; Italy is doing well in the medal count and was featured as having the most stylish opening ceremony uniforms; I feel a weird sense of pride…

Italy Update

Ciao Readers!  I have missed you!  There’s been a gelato-sized empty space since I have had to put this blog on hold.  But, I think enough has happened over the past few weeks to warrant an update…

When we left our story, we were getting us and our cats and our pared-down stuff ready for our adventure.  We spoke a bit about red-tape and the challenges of moving to a foreign country.  Even then, with all my stories about airline debacles and forbidden mail, I didn’t know the half of it!  So, let me sum up…

Getting our cats “Italy approved” turned out to be even more of a project than we expected.  AND, a MUCH more expensive prospect than we could have ever guessed.  When I wrote to one fellow expat/blogger about the ordeal and the cost ($1,300+ so far) she was in shock – believing that MUST be a type-o!  Alas, I wish I could say it was, but it was not.  I am still not certain what all was involved as Steve took on the tasks of two days of vet visits, but basically both cats got tested for any disease any cat could ever get, got updated shots and (unfortunately) some dental work one of the cats needed.  To add insult to injury, Sebastian (our larger, furrier cat) needed a haircut so he won’t swelter in his little carrier and instead of bringing him to a proper groomer we had the vet take care of that as well.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Now, if you think getting the cats to Italy is the biggest hurdle, you would sadly not be correct.  To make a VERY long story short, last Wednesday and Thursday we fully believed some visa issues we are having could not possibly be worked out in time for our departure.  We already came up with a “plan B” (moving to Hawaii).  When I last left off writing, I had NO idea how many more hoops we had to jump through and how much sooner we should have snapped.  To put it in the words of the brusk woman on the other end of the phone at the Italian consulate in L.A. “What were you thinking?!?!?!”   In any case, I feel a certain amount of superstition about saying too much as this story is still in progress.  When Steve returns from his one-day round-trip flight to L.A. to go to the consulate in person next week, I’ll write more…

Other than that, our house continues to be a clown car of never-ending stuff.  Some of it is pretty humorous (like the notebook I kept in high school in which I wrote all of the inappropriate things my teachers said in class), and some of it is pretty age-revealing (college papers typed on old-fashioned typewriters, white-out spots and all).  I have enjoyed giving away and selling more stuff than I ever knew we had, except my bike which kinda made me sad.  On a positive note, I met a college student who just spent a semester in Rome and thus got to converse in Italian for the first time in quite a while.  (My last Skype class is 4th of July, but haven’t had one since Memorial day).

I suppose the final thing of note that has happened since you last joined me are my “last” lunches with folks.  I have been going to lunch with old friends and colleagues on Thursdays (only day I can manage to get out of the law school long enough) and they are majorly bittersweet.  I seriously hope everyone will take us up on our offer of our very cool “guest floor” and thus prove none of those lunches to actually be “final.”  And, yes, I am sure we will eventually make our way back here to our house in Albuquerque….

A presto!

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