Crossing-Borders – A Series
What it Means to go Beyond the Borders of my Country
We are dismantling our apartment amid the rantings and rhetoric of a U.S. government shutdown. This madness is juxtapositioned by my experience at the Brazilian Consulate where they demanded proof I would be leaving their country. My arrogant American attitude was “of course I am leaving your country, why would I stay, I don’t speak Portuguese”. The attitude of the Brazilian Consulate was this is what you demand of us and so we will demand it of you. I was hit with the realization that I might be at the beginning of a movement where Americans are banging on borders to get across for a better life. Lot’s of Brits and Aussies fled over the Pond decades ago when their Empire crumbled.
I didn’t have time to watch the news while packing so this YouTube video got me up to date on the Government Shutdown.
After fairly pleasant negotiations I was able to satisfy the Brazilian Consulate and will pick up my visa on Oct. 23rd. I hope the same kindness is paid forward in whatever place people are forced to go to come to my country. I will reap all the karmic energy my country has sewn – and so a reminder Americans – stand up for what’s right or be smacked down for being wrong. I will have to take the hits until my country regains some perspective on its true place in the world.
Travelling in a rolly backpack for three months, and relocating to Europe without the financial assistance of some giant corporation means that everything ‘s value is weighed in pounds (or in my Partners case kilos) to dollars. To make the cut you must have some sentimental value or a utilitarian purpose that cannot be satisfied in Europe. (We are grossly ignorant of international shipping agreements and were relieved the Netflix website suggested we might continue our relationship in Prague). My Partner’s gaps in knowledge about present day Europe (she hasn’t been home in over a decade) are supplemented by reports from her mother, supplemented by reports to her mother from her brother, who is younger and hipper and uses technology. He Skyped his girlfriend everyday while visiting us.
We have separated everything we have into three categories:
1. We would love to sell this for a little travel cash.
2. Please come take this away as soon as possible.
3. This will be shipped, it is important to me because it would be expensive to replace in Europe, has touching memories for me, or will be useful to have the second we get off the plane three months from now.
For me there is a fourth category that will be stuffed into a 5×5 storage unit for which I will have an annual contract. Please don’t let these things show up on Storage Wars one day. (See upcoming blog on leaving your affairs in order when wander the world).
4. This will be important in the future life I have planned in my mind that may never happen, and if it doesn’t these are worth preserving for someone else. (My mother’s china cabinet, the doll collection I have saved for my granddaughter or a gay grandson, my grandmother’s radio that my father lovingly restored as a tribute to his mother and therefore is a tribute to him).
The last time I explored this topic I was leaving a house of 20+ years and the journey is chronicled in the Chapter “All I Want Is the Tiny Spoons,” in my upcoming novel.
For my Partner the decision is more agonizing. If it is not shipped to Prague it is lost forever. It is a fascinating process to both be in and listen to. What do things really mean to us, why do we need them, what benefit will they serve, what difference will they make, what need will they fill, how much do they weigh? Moving is one of the ten most stressful life events. Maybe, that is because it forces you to define in that moment who you are and who you want to leave behind or give away.