On Thursday morning I am leaving this place forever. Not because I want to, but because I have to.
They’re coming to pick me up at around 5 am, because it takes an hour or so to drive to the airport and we have to be there an hour before the plane leaves at 7 am.
I’ve gotten rid of everything I can get rid of, I’ve mailed what stuff I could save to my friend in Belgium who will keep it for me for the next three years, but I’ve lived here six years and there’s still so much stuff left.
My collection of books about the Antarctic. Who’s going to read them? Not many people in this part of the country understand English well enough to get anything out of my books. It’s too late to cart them off to the library and donate them; I hope my landlord doesn’t just throw them away.
Farewell to watching the sun rise over the balcony. Farewell to sleeping on my own bed inside my own apartment which I have all to myself. For the next three years, I’ll be living in other people’s houses, maybe in a dorm, but I won’t have my very own place all to myself again. When I come back I’ll be living with another friend, so I won’t have my own place then either. I might not ever have my own apartment again; I can’t afford one on what I make. Finding this place was a rare moment of luck in a relatively cheap country.
Farewell to the blue hills and green fields and murmuring brooks. I saw my first lily pads here. Until then, I thought they were a figment of Beatrix Potter’s imagination. I saw once – I swear it – a partridge in a pear tree. It seemed anything was possible in a country as beautiful as this.
Anything was possible except staying. I’ve come to the end of the time I’ve been allowed to stay, and after I leave I have to stay out for three years. Banished.
Back I will go to a “home” country that doesn’t feel like home. I’ll be a foreigner there, longing for a place I can’t tell people about because the feelings seem too deep to express and it seems so awkward to try to put them into words.
- Green, Grey, Red
- Blue Copper