A Week and a Day

As much as I’ve struck out into the wild yonder (of whatever color — green in this case), I still get nervous at this stage. I head out in a week and a day.

I’m a little more relaxed about it than I was before this morning, though, because I just got a big bonus, putting me barely over the official “Cost of Attendance” (CoA) for a foreign postgraduate Writing student at NUI Galway. I had a moment of panic a week or two ago when I realized that the CoA had the total at more than $36,000 because it had calculated the exchange rate at 1.20: .12 over my initial estimate according to information I had at the time. That put me way short: I’d have to charm or luck my way past border control, which only sort of worked last year — and that was for a couple months. This’ll be a year (at least!). But with this bonus, I’ll have upwards of $37,000, all things considered: my savings, the biggest loan I could get, and two scholarships. I’ll still need to be careful, and I’ll still want to find work, but at least now I can breathe easier about Immigration.

So, in a few days, I should once again be running barefoot on Irish soil. (Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!) Maybe I’ll even go for a swim in Galway Bay, before it gets too cold.

I have the traditional consternation about what to take, but even moreso than usual, because whatever I can carry will be the seeds for starting a new life. Before, I’ve traveled. This time, I’m moving. It’s a fun process, once I get going on it. It whittles everything I own down to the very most essential and precious of what I can take. Funny how I have few enough things that they fit comfortably in a treehouse, and they still seem like a lot.

When I went to Ireland last year, I thought I might stay (and desperately wanted to), but things felt unfinished on both coasts of the U.S., as well as a bit in eastern Canada. Now it’s all about as resolved as can be. I’ve spent time with all but one of the friends and family I most wanted to see (and that one is a special case). Serendipity the unicorn and Spider-Planty (the spider plant) are now fostered in Washington, and most of the last bits of my other stuff have been collected and suitably reassigned. The half-dozen boxes of keepsakes and memories that aren’t coming with me are either at my parents’ place or slated to go there in the fall. All that will remain of me in California, other than the impressions I’ve left, will be my bank account.

I’m down to just a box and half of copies of my book left to distribute, having given an entire box to a delighted goddess in Oregon (who, incidentally, was the book’s interior layout designer), and spread other copies far and wide . . . at least around northern California and middle Oregon. I’ve gotten a couple emails from people who have found them, including one that came while I’ve been writing this post. Fun!

I feel scattered and excited. Books to read, knitting to finish, people to see and things to do one last time . . . ! Hey, is anybody heading from Sonoma County to SFO next Saturday?! I could take the bus, but a friend would be more fun. Wheeeeeeeeeee!