Sunday, April 1, 2007

April Fool's Day

“What the hell was I thinking?” Sitting at the gate, I considered the possibility that our April Fools’ Day arrival could get me out of this. “April Fools’ Day, Baby! I don’t think moving to South Africa is such a great idea after all…can we go home?”

I knew better than to vocalize these thoughts as we waited for the plane that would take us to our new home, but the tears did nothing to hide my sudden uncertainty. The terrified look on Roger’s face told me that he knew what I was thinking, but I could read his mind too. “We can’t back out now. I have a job. We’ve made commitments.” I started hyperventilating again because I knew he was right.

“It’s gonna be fine, baby,” he said. “I’ll look after you, I promise.”

That was just it, though. Up until this point, I never required looking after. Not that I would be incapable of taking care of myself in Africa, but the idea that he could and would “look after me” was both comforting and scary as hell. Comforting to the part of me that was tired of holding the world on my shoulders, but scary to the part of me that believed no one else could hold it better. Ridiculous, even arrogant, I know, but could the control freak in me hand it over?

So there I was, in the airport, second-guessing a decision we had taken twelve months to finalize. I tried to remind myself that this had been my choice. No one was forcing me to go, and yet at that moment, I couldn’t remember why I had agreed. How had I arrived at this decision?

I never thought of myself as particularly adventurous or spontaneous. That being said, I always feel a bit like a new person when I’m traveling. More exotic, more laid back. Traveling demands that you surrender control, otherwise you won’t enjoy yourself when your hotel turns out to be a hostel or you’ve been wearing the same underwear for three days because there is nowhere to do laundry. Someone else might freak out if they developed a strange rash because of the sheets at a questionable hotel, but not me. I could go with the flow. Yes, I definitely liked myself better outside of the USA...but for how long?

I have now fled the country three times. The first time I was running away from a boy. Actually, running away implies that the boy was chasing me, which was most certainly not the case. The move across the pond might have been radical, but my pathetic pining required drastic measures. The UK study abroad program was the kick in the pants that I needed. It took eight months, but with the help of a handsome South African, I headed back to the US with my mission accomplished.

The second time I moved out of the country I was running to a boy (the handsome South African to be more specific). We enjoyed our tiny flat in London for seven months before I convinced him that we could trade it in for a huge apartment at half the price, along with Target Superstores, American football and Terminator 2 on the day of release. We headed back to the USA and got married along the way. That’s the short version, anyway.

So now I leave once again, this time for several years, and I can’t help but ask myself, What am I running from this time? My former job would be the obvious answer. Certainly my career in real estate was enough to make a would-be writer feel like a bit of a sell-out. Yes, I suppose it was as simple as that. I had been lured by the promise of stress free days in sunny Africa where I would embrace my creative self once again.

So here I go. Embracing my creativity with a blog, something I formerly believed was only an activity for teenagers on myspace. True, this blog will be more factual than creative, but it’s a start. It puts my fingers to the keyboard while keeping the masses updated on my African adventures (actually, it’s just you Mom). We'll see how this goes...

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