A Sea of Boxes

Today is the day! The movers are currently loading our belonging into the large truck downstairs and I’ve decided to write another post to keep me from micro-managing. Last night, Amaury and I divided up all our belongings and threw all the things we’re taking on the plane into the closet… which now has a large sign on it and a scary pile of things inside:

With moving (and perhaps everything) you have to focus on the small victories. Like when you fit your mish-mash of random tupperware containers into one large tupperware tub by sitting on it and willing it to close. Or when your pile of stuff is almost up to shoulder height, so you know it just has to be done soon.

We were so tired out last night after all the organizing, but also because we got up at 5am to go to Amaury’s first bike race. He took part in the Challenge Ride in the Air Force Association Cycling Classic, beating his own goal for completing 60km in 3 hours and earning his silver medal. He had a great time riding the 15km course that took him past the military memorials in Arlington along closed roads and sections of freeways. I also had fun, cheering like no one was watching every time he came through the starting line area, watching the cyclists, and enjoying the early morning sunshine. It was such a blessing to completely take our minds off the upcoming move. My best friend E was a saint- she picked us up at 6am, drove us to the race, and then joined me for the first hour of the race. It was an added gift to spend a peaceful morning with her, drinking coffee, chatting about life, and cheering on the riders.

After the race, we wandered around trying to find somewhere that would let us keep his bike inside with us and happened upon Freddie’s Beach Bar, an awesome restaurant with a brunch buffet and bottomless mimosas. As we walked into the cool, air-conditioned interior, we discovered it was a beach-themed gay bar decked out in purple and teal with rotating disco-balls overhead. A collector’s dream of barbie dolls lined the shelves along the walls and signed photographs of openly-gay military leaders and politicians watched over the diners. On weekends they host a drag show, and we sat next to the purple piano by the stage area. A full table next to us was happily chatting about going to Pride on Saturday, and we realized we were lucky to get a table as the Maitre-D sat reservation after reservation.

 

As we were enjoying our tasty brunch and soaking in the eclectically wonderful surroundings, we got alerts from the NYTimes on our phones about the horrific shooting in Orlando. Feeling so happy and safe, it seemed unimaginable that other happy people celebrating in what they thought was safety, were brutally attacked the night before. Why? Why? Why? I cannot understand, and I lack patience when it comes to gun laws in this country. We left the restaurant thankful for the beautiful morning, the race, the food, the people around us; and, we left deeply sad for the news in Orlando and the reminder, always present, always pushing us to see past our own privileges and perceived safety, that there is great hatred and pain in our country.

Definitely a heavy feeling.

Turning back to our weekend, I’m so grateful for all the time I’ve spent with good friends lately. I spent Saturday having coffee with a friend from graduate school, celebrating my dear friend J’s birthday, and enjoying our going away gathering in the evening. With all the coming and going I’ve done over the past few years, I’ve learned not to say goodbye, because people have a way of circling back into each other’s lives. That said, goodbyes are a good opportunity to tell people you love them. I’m also excited to make new friends in Guangzhou, have visitors come to stay, and visit others in Asia and close by. Hmm, this letter turned quite reflective. I guess after packing up all those things we own, I’m reminded that they’re just things. Useful, needed for day to day life, sometimes irreplaceable, and often meaningful in their connections to people (IE the huge boxes of old letters and postcards I’ve collected for years), but just things, not people who are truly important.

 

Somehow with all the packing I managed to fit in some Chinese study this week. I finally finished the introductory four units of Rosetta Stone, I think I reviewed “ni hao” and “zài jian” 100 times so at least I’ll be able to greet people. Now I’m learning family members and clothing: “Wǒ xiānshēng chuān T xù chèn” (我先生穿T恤衬) “my husband wears a T-Shirt.” I’m not sure how that’s useful for daily life. I suppose if we go out and I get lost, I can describe him.

I’ll leave you with that piece of language learning wisdom.

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