Well, I just got married and in about a month I’m moving to Africa. That’s the answer I’ve found coming out of my mouth lately when people politely, or habitually, ask me what’s up?
True and strange both. The country is called Equatorial Guinea and you can find info here. See how tiny it is? See how the capital is on an island? I’ll be living inland in a town called Evinayong. I was talking about the whole transition with a good friend of mine who lived in New Zealand for a year with her husband and (at the time) baby. She said that before she left, people used to ask her if she was *so excited* to be moving!?! She told me that she reserves the phrase, “I’m so excited!” only for things like surprise visits from friends, not for total displacement of one’s life, to another country/culture/language, no matter how much one likes adventure.
This makes me laugh, especially since I am particularly predisposed to excitability. This week has been a kind of reckoning for me. Realizing that I am leaving so many things behind - community, a newly burgeoning “career” trajectory (however unconventional), family and new family on the way - to enter the TOTAL unknown of married life abroad. I find myself alternately completely frazzing (simultaneously freaking and spazzing, thanks Jazz) and in the throes of a pretty wild grief.
It’s just a lot to think about, entering a new marriage while living in another language on another continent. I wasn’t even trying not to freak out. I was just plugging along, working hard on my teaching certification pre-reqs, packing up our stuff slowly, and trying to visit one friend every day. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Everything I know to be true is about to change. I’m about to step into the role of a foreign housewife in a tropical, mosquito paradise.
I haven’t not worked since I was 14 and working as a clown passing out coupons on the pier! Mosquitoes treat me like an all-you-can-suck-buffet! (It must be all the sweets! Sweet in=sweet out ;) I get weird rashes in the humidity, like my own skin is having a coup! I DON’T speak Spanish! EG is surrounded by countries that speak French, which I do speak. Maybe I’ll become a trader! A data-entry person (that is actually on the table)! A spy! An international hostess!
But seriously. This morning in yoga my mentor and friend Denise taught on contentment. It was very calming in the beginning, but I got agitated as the class went on. She cautioned us about this, that sometimes when we move towards being at ease with what is, our inside emo chooses that moment of equilibrium to vomit. So as I recognized the steadiness within, all of these things that have been on my mind bubbled up. I remember something that I read by Thich Nhat Hanh about this exact thing. It’s like your psyche is a house, your home, and in certain moments, old habits from the basement will try and come upstairs to the living area. You can either try to keep them in the basement, or you can open the door and let them walk out. Even if you open the door, they still have to pass through the heart of your home. So there is not escape. It’s just now or later. I choose now.
The other day when I was experiencing some big anxiety, I made a short list of things that make me happy to remind me about what is important:
exploring consciousness /love. being it and learning more about it/creative endeavors. making things, all kinds of things./moving my body /adventures to new places (check!) /getting to know people /things that make me question what I know (and therefore question what it means to know something, see first item) /my gorgeous love and friend Rad who inspires me with his choices to continuously choose life
Meditating is going well. By that I mean I’m still committed to sitting. I sit daily and I love it.
Thanks for reading. With great love,