Picked some pears from our tree today with my mom, mostly as a way of calming down because holyshitwe’vebookedourticketsandhotelandthere’snoturningback. I bought four pairs of shoes yesterday for more or less the same reason. It made me feel better. (And not guilty because there are no shoes for feet my size in Korea so I gots to stock up).
While she (my mother) was sheering back the fruit branches, she suggested I take a basket of our harvest over to the neighbours’. I wrapped four spotless pears in a paper towel to bravely bring to my French speaking neighbours (who, over my lifetime, I’ve spoken to only a handful of times precisely because I’ve only learned French in the past year or two).
And me being literary minded me, who can’t avoid metaphor and undercurrents of meaning in mundane everyday moments to save my life, there were two things that became apparent.
One: the fear I feel for being immersed in a unilingual Korean environment is nothing compared to the anxiety I’ve felt over my lifetime (and occasionally still do) for having to interact in a French environment.
Two: as soon as I opened the door and offered the pears, my neighbours enthusiastically started asking about when I would be leaving – to which I now officially have the answer, a fact which has driven home the reality of the situation.
It’s not the first time I’ve upended my life for long-term travel and change. I went to Australia for an exchange for 5 months in 2011, and when I was 15 I spent a summer at my Uncle’s in Connecticut. But every time the travel date comes around and looms like a solid concrete wall, or a cliffdrop I can’t see beyond, I start feeling a slew of confusing emotions:
The part that only aggravates it all is that there’s nothing you can do about it. Except let it happen of course, by which time you’re praying to the gods (all of them) that instinct will kick in and get you through on sheer survival adrenaline.
That said, I’m trying to combat the squeeze of the Overwhelming that’s constricting my chest by focusing on the small things: shoe-shopping with my dad, picking pears with my mom, saying hellogoodbye to my neighbours, and making plans to see all the people I love and am going to miss.