Monday, April 21, 2008

Nothing to Report

I love it when I can use song titles as explanations to my life.

Marie and I are practically living in an empty apartment at this point. There was some concern, mostly mine, I suppose, about getting rid of things with enough time to spare, but it's been done. We managed to sell the couch and chair, not for very much, considering Marie paid eight or nine hundred for that couch, but at this point the relief of having it gone out weighs any feeling of being underpaid. We also ditched a large and wobbly dresser, so I didn't have to throw it out completely. So we're down to a few boxes of clothes and knick nacks that we can take to the Salvation Army or Value Village, and the rest of our stuff. You know that echo you can get in an empty room? That's what we're living with.

And we sold Marie's car! I was beginning to worry. It turned out there's a leak in the steering rack, so again, didn't get as much as I thought we could, but that sense of relief makes up for a lot of money. I describe all this because I'm really feeling like getting rid of nearly everything we've picked up in the years since college is part of the excitement. I don't think the feeling would be so acute right after college. You get rid of bricks and boards and a lamp, relatively speaking, and you can get on a plane. It's strange to divest myself of everything I own to this point. People talk about simplifying their lives and reducing the amount of material things, well, I can tell you, it's exhausting and stressful to have people poking though your stuff, and wondering if you can get rid of it all in time, but there is a great sense of relief and well-being at the end of it. That is, the sense of relief is both large and I enjoy it tremendously.

So we were able to go to a great party last night with a lot of our friends we've made over the years in Seattle, and I was as stress free as I've felt in months. We know where we're going, we know when, and now, approximately everything we own is someone else's problem. So we saw lots of our friends, several of whom I hadn't seen for years. And who are continuing to help us by throwing a party and keeping our stuff and giving us a place to stay our final night in Seattle. And I say this so that anyone considering joining the Peace Corps, who might be thinking you're launching a great personal adventure and you don't need anyone's help, can lose that thought right now. It does feel incredibly personal, even with Marie and I traveling together, like we're alone in a boat a sea, but we're getting a lot of help from a pod of dolphins, which are our friends, and this's a really stupid metaphor.

And a few people asked what we're feeling, so I'll say, it's exhaustion, and an almost giddy delight, and a little fear, but for me it's mostly relief, now. We're doing well in preparation for traveling, the next major hurdle. I'm looking at the pile of stuff that I have on the floor, which is basically all I will have from America for the next two years and I'm thinking two important thoughts: I'm okay with how small this pile is, and I think I can carry it all.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

No we haven't left yet...

Mostly I'd like to create a habit in myself of adding something here every few weeks, and creating something for the people we expect to be very interested (moms, dads, grandparents) in our journeys. And this is something they can read after we've been gone for a while.

At this point, we are well into our selling off stage. We've told most of our friends about the last ten years or so of our lives being up for sale and they have obliged by buying it for cheap. Can I make jokes like that? But I was staggered by the response for my Transformers toys. I can't sell a perfectly good couch for much, but people come out of the woodwork to offer money for old action figures. So thank you to all the grandparents who inadvertently helped fund our PC trip!

So that's been entertaining in a ride-the-Whip sorta way, where you come out and you're not sure if the wobbly, spinning sensation means you had fun or not, but I'll take it as fun. It's got a sense of novelty to it. Trying to get rid of nearly everything we own. And trying to guess what we'll need, what we'll want, what we should buy here, what we should plan to buy there is also amusing to a pack-happy person like me. Marie and I are still trying to figure out if Netflix will do an international plan.

If you don't get that (Gran) apologies, but I think there will be a few inside jokes here. I'll try not to get too obscure, but I don't want to read like a bad movie script that has the nemesis explain who he is every time he's on screen just so the people who came in late know who he is. There will be bad writing, but jokes and references for family and friends, I think, are kinda important and makes people feel more connected, even if a few people don't understand everything.

Our friends have been great, offering space to store things and homes for plants and money for cheap Ikea furniture. I'm getting a little worried about getting rid of our cars for a decent price but in time. But one way or another it'll work out. I'm as interested as anyone to see how we pull it off.

And as we plan for our month of vacation, to see family and friends around the country one last time, it's hard not to shake my head and laugh at the irony. Neil will be visiting our grandparents in Montana and Wyoming just a few days ahead of Marie and I getting there. But he has a new job with the State department and has to be back in D.C. by the 10th, and we can't get there before the 7th. So instead of spending time there and driving back to Nebraska together, we'll be just a few days behind him. I think Marie calls that coincidence, but then we'll fly to the east coast to see grandparents, and my mom will be there the week after, when her school gets out.

And while none of this may be pertinent, I'm wondering what people will find interesting or assuring after Marie and I've been in Armenia for three months, or six, or a year.