Monday, October 26, 2009

On leaving things behind

I’m getting started packing early this time around. When I left for the U.S., I booked my flight only a week prior to departure, and I packed my suitcases the night before I left. It was unintentional and stressful, but not a terribly big risk. After all, if I forgot to bring something along, it would hardly be the end of the world – it would either mean that I had to live without it for three months, or I would have to buy a replacement when I arrived. Packing to go back, however, is a little different. Anything I don’t find a place for or forget will have to be left behind.

This inevitably makes me think of the things I have to leave behind, whether I like it or not. I might be able to fit my new clothes, shoes and books in my luggage (and I also plan on sending a box per mail), but there are things I will miss that I cannot bring along. This close to my departure, it’s becoming very clear to me that there are a number of things I wish I did not have to leave when leaving.

10 things I will miss when I leave the USA

1. Linda, Brian, Nick, Sam, Kenny, Tina and Precious. (Technically they are 7 different “things”, but that would make a short and boring list…) The people (and people-like animals) that took me into their home, generously treated me like a family member and have been great company for me these past months certainly are the number one on this list. My stay in the U.S. would have been a lot less fulfilling without them. I will be really sorry to say goodbye to them, but I do hope that we’ll be able to keep in touch (and they are more than welcome to visit me in Norway).

2. The trees. The tall, green, wonderful, amazing, lovely trees. Trees that have nuts in them, and squirrels, and vines climbing up the stem. Those trees.

3. Washington, D.C. It’s a lovely city, and I don’t expect to see it again anytime soon. I’ll miss the possibility of going to a Smithsonian if I feel like it, or seeing one of them many monuments. I’ll miss walking up and down the mall, and I’ll the numbered streets with the impressive, power-shouting buildings along them. Hing, I’ll even miss the metro!

4. The crazily grand selection of everything candy, snacks and food. And the freedom of knowing I only have three months to try them all, so I don’t have to put the normal restraints on myself.

5. Shopping. The selection is better, everything is cheaper and no one cares if you’re carrying your coffee around. (Actually, I’m glad this isn’t as common at home yet. Working in a store and all…)

6. Speaking of coffee… Starbucks. It’s about time Norway joins the club of developed countries and imports Starbucks! We need Starbucks! Why don’t we have it? (I miss you already!)

7. Borders. And Barnes & Noble. And Borders. And Barnes & Noble.

8. Television. There is ALWAYS something on here. Always. And the shows run at least a season ahead of those at home. It makes me want to cry just to know that I won’t be able to see the rest of the season of “Glee”. I’m NOT going to miss all the commercials, though.

9. Having an office four blocks from the White House. I might not have used said office all that much, and the actual location might not have mattered that much either, but man – how awesome it feels to be able to say that!

10. Living in a foreign country. It is not given that this is something I will do again (though I hope I’ll have the chance). Weighing positive and negative factors of spending time abroad – the latter mainly being what I miss from home – the positive in my opinion outweighs the negative. When you live in a foreign country you stumble across a lot of situations you never would have at home. You meet people and you get to experience cultures that teach you more than what you could ever read in a book. You grow as a person, and when you do return home, you find yourself both appreciating what you do have more, while at the same time you’re able to enrich your life there with the experiences and memories from abroad.

I will miss all of the above. As mentioned these are things I cannot bring back home. What I will bring, though (at the risk of sounding awfully sappy), are the memories of all of these (and more) things I have experienced. Fortunately, I don’t have to fit the memories in my suitcase…


Watery Tart said...

Awwww... Great list Mari! I wish you very safe travels. The U.S. will miss you too (even the squirrels and the nuts), and will very much miss the insight of someone looking at us through Norse colored glasses. You see more than we do from within, I think.

M.J. Nicholls said...

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Marjorie said...

Mari, I so wish you would have been able to see the Southwest. There aren't as many trees and nuts or squirrels, but there is the scrubby, prickley desert. The arcitechture (sp?) is different too.

Wish you all the best on your trip home. Wave towards Molde from Oslo for me. It's still a lot closer than what I am to my mother.

Cruella Collett said...

I can say with 99% certainty that even if I may not live here again, I will come back to the U.S. And if so, I would absolutely love to see the Southwest. And the rest of the South. And the North East. And more of the Midwest. And more of the Northeast. And perhaps most of all, New York City. So there might be more of both my perspectives and my visits and my experiences. Looking forward to it already :)

Marjorie - I will wave to Molde from the plane. I probably won't pass directly over, but not too far away either, I think. And who knows, maybe I get to meet your mom while she's there (she did mention wanting to go to Oslo) :)

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