We are moving to Venice, Italy. It is one of the most beautiful, romantic and culturally rich places in the world. By most people’s standards, it is considered a “once in a lifetime”, or “bucket list” destination, and we will soon call it home… So, why then, instead of waking up every day beaming and jumping for joy like we just won the lottery, have we, for some time now, been battling waves of sadness intermingled with that exuberance?
It took weeks of frustration and introspection with myself to realize where these bouts of sadness, at least for me, are coming from. We will soon be leaving everything, and everyone we know, possibly forever (occasional holiday visits excluded, of course). Though the plans of saying hello to a new land and a new life are exciting and magical, there is also the pain of saying goodbye, because before every entrance, there must first be an exit.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I certainly won’t miss things like LA traffic, smog, cars, commuting, the rat-race grind that ages one before their time, etc. But aside from the obvious, i.e. family and friends, I will miss all the places, things, and familiarities that have made up the fabric of my life, made me who I am, given me, up to this point, a lifetime of wonderful memories and life lessons, my roots.
For instance, my mother and I have always been pretty close. Though a change in address can’t take away that relationship, it will most certainly limit the amount of times we will see each other. Mom isn’t what you would call an avid traveler, in fact, if she never boarded another plane, it would suit her just fine. So knowing that our times together will most often be determined only by the frequency in which I fly back to the states to visit is a somber fact to come to terms with. I will also miss all the dinners spent with my Dad, an amazing cook, (even if he does refuse to share his most trusted recipes!) lounging out on his patio, Maya, Dad, and I sipping cocktails and sharing stories into the breezy, coastal evening.
The house I currently live in has been my home for over 13 years, the longest I have ever lived anywhere. It is my first and only home purchase, and it hasn’t always been easy, to say the least. Having been built in 1923, it has tested my resolve, my patience, my wallet, hell, my sanity, more times than I can count, forcing me again and again to break out of my comfort zone to tackle seemingly insurmountable home repairs (in 2004, I once woke up to it pouring down rain in my kitchen from a huge roof leak), which I did with the help of family, friends, and often on my own, teaching myself as I went along, not to mention facing down a 30 year mortgage during the worst recession in my lifetime.
But in addition to those tough times there has been many, many good times. I raised my son in this home for many years, who earlier this year was brave enough to leave everything HE knew to move to another state in search of his own path, much like my brother, who left California for Colorado with his new bride almost ten years ago.
It wasn’t always this hard to think about leaving this house. Over the years, I have had many struggles, and often wished I could just pick up and move, wanting to escape from the stresses of where I was in life at the time. Within the past two years, however, I have come to really love this house more than ever (did I happen to mention that Maya moved in about two years ago?). It has become such a place of love, beauty, and happiness.
Another thing I will miss, silly as it may be, is the frequent trips Maya and I take to Disneyland, perhaps a child’s (and the young at heart) favorite staycation destination. So, the realization of this enormous, looming farewell has been slowly but surely creeping into my mind, bringing with it, a strong sadness in my heart. I optimistically anticipate that once we have moved, get acclimated, develop new friendships, favorite hang outs and so on, the sense of joy and contentment of a decision well made will present itself in droves. But until that time, there are up days and down days, days of bouncing off the wall-nervous excitement and days of feeling melancholy, reeling from the pangs of sadness in anticipation of that final, long, hard goodbye.
Throughout it all, however, there has not been one moment, not one, when I thought, “Is this the right decision?” I feel it in my bones, my soul, that we are on the right path, our path. Ahhh, if only Harry Potter’s portkey was real, all the wonders and beauty of the world would be attainable almost instantaneously. But the reality is, to say hello to a new life is to say goodbye to this one, and my old friend, I will miss you.
Until next time,
On a purely carnivorous note, though I truly love Venetian cuisine, I am really going to miss an absolute favorite of both Maya and mine, a super deluxe, custom-made to order, over-the-top, frankenburger pictured below from Dave’s Burgers, a tiny shack of a place located in a gas station parking lot, and one of the best greasy spoons found anywhere. It’s our favorite- double patty, double cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, pickles, tomato, thousand island dressing, and topped with (wait for it) a raft of 2 grilled hot dogs, each split down the middle… oh, Scarecrow, I shall miss you most of all.