Wednesday, June 25, 2008

User error

Just how ridiculous is it that I keep checking my blog for new posts? Um, hello there. It doesn't quite happen like that...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Brown paper packages tied up with string

A year ago today, we were packing up our Seattle lives ready to move back to Europe.
Jonah was of course oblivious to the broader implications of leaving behind everything and everyone he'd ever known (melodramatic, moi?). So as far as he was concerned, this was just a fantastic day of mess. Things to crinkle! Things to hide in! Things to roll around in!

I was sorely tempted to join him but figured the removal guys would be less tolerant of a noisy pregnant Brit than they were of a noisy (non-pregnant, clearly) toddler. And hey, Jonah's American by birth, so he's supposed to be noisy.

We had substantially more gear to move back than we'd moved over with four years ago. The toddler, for starters. And wedding rings, deep and lasting friendships, a gaggle (giggle?) of memories...Oh yeah, and a serious coffee house habit. I mean, c'mon! A coffee shop with a "laptop bar"! Hard not to love.

When we'd moved to Seattle, our giddy Londoner-selves hadn't owned enough to fill a sea container, so our stuff had shared space with other traveling randomata. And man, the randomata that some people choose to travel with is staggering. Our bits and pieces got mixed up at customs with some of the other passengers' stuff (presumably when it was opened to make sure none of us was smuggling Class A drugs or small mammals, or possibly one inside the other...anyway...). Who travels with a self-portrait of their own (male) nipples? Not us, although we now possess said photo (mmm, lucky us). We assumed it was a self-portrait from the angle of the shot.

But on the way back? Oh yeah, we were American now. We had consumed. Unsurprisingly, we qualified for a container of our own. Not quite Virginia Woolf, but we loved it just the same. It harboured our worldly goods - each and every lovingly wrapped-and-packed carton. All 235 of them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

That's great, it starts with an earthquake

This time last year, I kept thinking in terms of pop lyrics - easier than actually articulating how it felt to be leaving this place that had seeped so much into our psyches. I couldn't stop warbling the lyrics to "Leaving on a Jet Plane", alternated with "It's the end of the world as we know it". Classy, that's me. Thank the lord I'm not a radio station.

The latter always seemed the more apt in my parting-is-anything-but-sweet-sorrow brain, partly due to seeing REM here at
Bumbershoot in 2003, partly because they, like us, apparently love Marco's Supperclub,and partly for the David Belisle connection to my publishing pals here. Amazing how you can start to think you're Michael Stipe if you try hard enough. 

But in the end, the thing that always made me cry when thinking of leaving Seattle was this daft board book we'd bought for Jonah for the last night there, Good Night America. It's taken almost a year to be able to read it without drifting off into nostalgia and even now the penultimate pages, with the bald eagles nestled (and nested) alongside the white mountain peaks, make me swallow hard.