Since returning from the orientation in Washington, DC, I’ve been busy taking care of the thousands of details involved in moving overseas. I’m also working on selling my house and car, moving things to storage, buying items I may need in Vietnam, and so much more.
It has been great to see family and friends after returning from Central America. I’m excited about Vietnam, but I often feel less excited about it than the people around me seem to feel. I’ve had more than one moment of wanting to stay in a predictable routine with a house, a job, a car and a language I can speak. I know these feelings will pass, but they are real.
A friend of mine said she’d never seen me so relaxed the other day. Really, I was just tired and under the influence of cold medicine. There’s plenty that I’m worrying about:
- What if my house doesn’t sell?
- What if the few things I’m keeping don’t fit in my storage unit? Will I even have the time or energy to finish packing up the house and moving everything out?
- Why are the “few things” I haven’t sold or donated taking up so much space in my storage unit?
- Airport and flying anxieties: Will I wake up for my 6am departure? Will I get my two connecting flights? Will my luggage arrive? Will I go crazy on the 13-hour flight from Dallas to Tokyo? Will there really be a person from my hotel waiting for me holding a sign with my name on it? How long will it take my body to adjust to a time zone 12 hours ahead of what I’m used to?
- Did I pack too little? Did I pack too much?
- Would this be easier to do with someone, or is it easier to do it alone?
- Will I ever get rid of the cold I’ve had since the orientation in Washington?
- How bad will the language barrier be? How will I manage to do simple tasks, like get from point A to point B, without speaking a word of Vietnamese?
- Can I handle the heat?
- Can I really afford to do this? When will my money run out?
- Do I have enough gifts to hand out in Vietnam?
- Do I really know what I’m doing? Researching poetry in Vietnam? I’m not even sure where to begin.
- How long will it take my stomach to get used to the food, if at all?
- Shouldn’t I have started packing by now?
- Will my grandchildren remember me when I come back next year?
- Who did I forget to invite to my going away party? (If you’re reading this, you’re invited!)
I know I’m worrying about a lot of things that don’t really matter. In the end, I’m very lucky to be able to do this. And despite the worries, things are moving forward. After several failed attempts, I found a buyer for my car on Craigslist. Kim is a woman whose parents fled Vietnam in the 70s and is planning her first visit there to bring her mother back to visit family. It’s a small world. I’m also hearing good things about my house selling, but not before my going away party. Keeping my fingers crossed.