How it started versus, how it’s going. Even though all of my furniture has been packed up and is well on its way to Japan, I chose to stay in this now, empty, echo-y house to sit in gratitude thinking about how this time, the bareness and vacancy within these 4 walls is choice as a opposed to a product of my then life circumstances. I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about how I moved to England with just two checked luggages, a couple of shipping boxes of “things” and not a dollar to my name. The life I built here is the epitome of going from nothing to something. Even this house is a testament of that because I definitely didn’t have nobody’s first or last months rent to put down as a deposit. My account was well in the negatives, so I couldn’t even overdraw it to come up with the money. But through a series of what I have since started calling divine mistakes, I was able to get approved for this house, come up with a deposit and move in, in about 6 weeks times about a month later. Furnishing the place, was a whole different story.
For months the only furniture I had was the mattress upstairs in my bedroom that I’d sometimes drag downstairs to use as a couch when I wanted a change in scenery. OMG! and don’t get my started on on the kitchen. It took a while for me to even buy pots and pans. I probably could have got some a lot sooner if I wasn’t broke but trying to be bougie. I wanted a nonstick set on Teflon budget so I held out on getting what I could afford, until I could get what I wanted (can’t know a girl with vision). It got tricky because delivery options aren’t really prevalent here so cookware really should have been higher on my priority list. But but y’all know eating has never really been my thing, so, I didn’t mind. I finally splurged on my non stick pots and pans but then bought box of plastic utensils figuring that it would hold me over until my next paycheck when I would be able to buy more sustainable silverware. This was a good plan for eating the food, but not so much for cooking it. I melted countless plastic forks trying to scramble, stir, flip, and sauté stuff over an open flame. What was I thinking?!🤦🏽♀️🤣Hilarious now.. and then too but a mess all the same. If you’ve follow me on IG for any length of time, you’ve heard me express how the foot of the stairs is my favorite place in the house. This derived from not having a dining room table for almost a year so that is where I used to eat all my meals. I’d use the bottom step for my seat and two above it as my table. Even once I finally got on my feet and fully furnished my I still opted to eat most of meals there instead of at my dining room bar set. It is where I’d collapse after a long day’s work. Where I’d sit in the morning, contemplating what I wanted to make for breakfast. Where I did a lot of my long contemplative thinking, my journaling. This was my spot.
There are so many great memories in this house like kitchen dance parties, friend slumber, and the epic 34th living room pool surprise party I threw for myself. Despite my very humble beginnings, life has been more than good to me here. Although I’d loved the life I’d created for me here, I got a sense at the beginning of this year, for no real reason, that I would be saying goodbye to it and I was fine with it. I did not know where I was going, when, nor how but I woke up new year’s day with a heavy feeling that this year would be the End of an Era and so, I spent the rest of the year waiting and seeking God for how that would all unfold.
“Life can only be understood by looking backward; but it must be lived looking forward”
Transcribing all the puzzle pieces from January to September would take more literary skill than my brain currently has the capacity, but what I will say is that connection of all the dots did not come as expected. I didn’t know that coming to decision to move would be birth from an unexpected place of lowness. Life overall had been great, and I was living in the fulfillment of a prayer that I’d prayed back in Madrid and really had nothing to feel low about.
In July, one of my closest friends in England got orders to move back stateside. Now, I’m no stranger to the revolving door of military friends so I’m not sure why this news impacted me differently than when any of my other previous friends received the same marching orders. If I had to guess, now that I am on this side of things, I’d say that while it had a lot to do with the strength of our bond, it also had a lot to do with him being the last one standing. Wasn’t no backfill. When I said bye to the first friend I’d ever made here, and every subsequent one thereafter, there was alway another budding friendship that filled void. When Brandon left, although I had friends around still, none were as close as he and I were, or the others that came before him. During that period I was also in my last term of school, going through the IRB process, writing the final chapters of my dissertation and preparing to defend. All of that came with its own set of frustrations and disappointments. To make matters worse, I was having car issues which were a nuisance more than anything because of the inconvenience in timing AND by this I had gone completely deaf in my left ear for reasons the doctors still can’t figure out. Unprovoked, life was just knuckin’ and buckin’ and ready to fight and I no longer had the stamina to endure.
I knew things were bad when my lash tech text me to cancel our appointment that was scheduled for the next day… and it sent me spiraling into a full blown breakdown. There were tears, there was hyperventilation y’all I was a MESS…over some lashes! (It ain’t never been that serious). But from that point, several seemingly minor things, that I would have ordinarily been able to manage, set me off. My sister got countless FaceTimes in the middle of her night of me crying my eyes out over the “smallest” things. Like when my new car, the one I got because I didn’t want to deal with the maintenance of the one in the previous paragraph, needed to go in the shop a month after getting it because the suspension spring was cracked and because of weather, all the parts were on back order so who knew when I’d get it back, sending me right back to square one. Or when my hair stylist cut my hair to ear length after I specifically asked for a shoulder length bob… Sir! Y’all he had me out here lookin like Arthur’s kid sis DW. He didn’t have to do me like that. Anyway, my sister finally convinced me to take a break, fly home and stay with her for a month just to clear my head. So I finally took her up on her offer.
So I took her advice and flew home 🇺🇸.
While in America trying to get my mental and physical health back in order after withstanding (albeit poorly) life’s blows I was scrolling on Instagram and saw one of the most beautiful beaches I’d seen in a while. Instinctively, I decided I wanted to move there, in that moment. Which, yes I can be impulsive, but never, pack up your life and move based on a double tap impulsive. But something in me just knew. When I scrolled to look at the location of the beach I saw it was in Okinawa, Japan a place where the company I work for has…”office space”. I waited a few days before contacting them and then said a quick prayer as I hit send on the email I’d drafted. During a follow up virtual meeting that resulted from the email I was told, “Yes, we actually do have a position available at that site and it’s yours if you want it.” I left the meeting telling them I’d think about it. I prayed some more, consulted with a few of the people closest to me and ultimately decided to turn down the opportunity for a number of reasons. However, the decision to turn the position down didn’t bring me as much peace as the initial impulsive decision to take the role did. So I waited, prayed some more, and was eventually offered an incentive that gave me all the convincing I needed haha. So I accepted. Without need for further consultation or reassurance, I knew that this was what I’d felt internally at the beginning of the year.
“My heroes had the heart to live their lives out on the limb and all I remember is thinking I wanna be like them.”
I kept the news to myself for a while fearful of how my parents and siblings would react to me telling them I was moving even further away. I decided to wait and tell them in person. My mom took it as expected, actually a little worse than I anticipated and my sister and dad surprisingly took it well. With what I considered to be my biggest hurdle of the move out of the way, I finally allowed myself to sit in my feelings. I was excited. For the opportunity, for the move, for the newness, for the close of one chapter and the start of a new but also… scared. I knew I was still going to choose to go, but that didn’t make me less fearful of it. Even know I still have “Girl are you really doing this moment?” Especially when I go on the website too look for houses and am reminded that I do not know a lick of Japanese. It’s hard to believe that after 5 years of the stability that I prayed for in Madrid, I am willingly giving it up for uncertainty and going through yet another transition, but on the other hand, what is growth without it? And in the words of Nelson Mandela there is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. So, just like that *snap*. I’m off to start a life in Japan. But first, I’m going to spend a week in Tanzania, because after these last 4 months, I think a break, and celebration are definitely in order.
Until Next Time,
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”