In seven days C and I will wake up to our last day in D.C. B will have left the day before, but he will only be going to New York for “consultations” (this is an oft-used word in the FS which has yet to be fully explained to me). C and I, and Miller, the Dog, will be flying to Brussels and will wait for B there before we all travel together to Kinshasa. Seven days loom both long and short. We have been sure to plan lots of visits, dinners out, time with family and friends, and in the midst of all of that a pack-out, move out and a last day of school. I have no doubt that it will feel like a long time while we are in the middle of it, but I also know that seven days from now I’ll be sitting here (well, not here, but at some hotel…) and wondering how the last seven days went by so quickly.
Seven months ago I was just finishing up my year with the Firm. I was working out my plans for telecommuting and planning all the extra time I’d have to go to the movies (the theater is across the street after all – super easy, right?!), read, write, sew and get organized. Suddenly, here we are, at the end of July and I haven’t seen a single movie (at least during the day at the theater across the street), I’m still reading the same book I started at about that time, the shirt I’m making isn’t finished yet, and, well…organized…maybe, maybe not, depending on your definition. Those months loomed ahead of me with days and days of promising fun, and, don’t get me wrong, they have been full of fun, but not in the way I had “planned.”
Seven years ago B and I were newly married. We celebrated our anniversary on Sunday with a lovely dinner, some champagne and a bottle of wine that was a wedding present (which we couldn’t bear to possibly ruin by subjecting it to shipment to Africa). Those seven years have seemed both interminably long and like we turned off the music and stopped dancing only a few hours ago. My journalism professor, Wiley Hilburn, once wrote in my journal that “time is inexorable” and those words pop into my head unbidden at moments like this. Moments when I am fully aware of the speed and slowness with which time moves.
Our pack-out is today, so we’ve been packing like it’s our job (well, I guess it is my job…). Last week, B spent the week at Crashbang (so now you can take your pick as to who will tie your tourniquet). I spent the week packing, and more importantly, completing our consumables shipment. The total volume of our shipment was only 1,560 lbs…a mere 60 lbs past 3/4 of a ton. Technically I did the majority of the shopping for the consumables at BJ’s, where the movers came to pack. I arrived when the store opened with my very detailed list (honed over several months of aimless-ish wandering through the aisles) and managed to fill a flat cart and two regular carts (which, of course, are much larger than “regular” when you are shopping at BJ’s). This was in addition to all the food and shampoo and toothpaste etc. I’ve been hoarding for months.
And so, in a few hours we’ll be back to the sterile corporate apartment we walked into last August and all that will be left will be to savor our last few days stateside with our family and friends while we listen for the last few notes of the fat lady’s song.
And this time next week we’ll be beginning our final descent into Kinshasa and waiting anxiously to hear the first few notes of the new song of our lives in Africa.