I had another one of those “I’m in Brazil. What the hell?” moments today. Walking home from the gym, (don’t even start with the doubletakes. The gym. You read correctly.) I looked up at the buildings around me and noticed the thickness in the air, the setting sun casting a lazy pink glow on everything, making the leaves on the trees appear to be softer than normal…and I looked all around me and thought, “Will I ever stop realizing that I live here?” In Boston and in Rhode Island I never once had thoughts like these, these moments of “placement,” like, “Here is where I am. I am here. I live here.” I had one once in New Haven, driving home down Whitney Avenue from work in Hamden. I thought, “I live here; this could be my home.” And I was filled with fear, such fear that if I called that place my home I would never leave it. Not because I didn’t want to leave it, but because once you call a place your “home,” it means you have to stay for a very long time.
But New Haven–working there, living there–seems already like years past, even though that fear-filled moment was only a little over a year ago. Maybe it’s because I’ve decided to commit myself to a semi-transient lifestyle that I’m not scared when I have a placement moment here in Brazil. I guess what scared me so much about New Haven was that it would have been so easy to stay there. I had a great job working with amazing people. (Two great jobs, actually, and twice the amazing people.) It would have been deliciously easy to settle in there, maybe even (dear god) to buy a house and stay and stay and stay. I suppose when I had that moment in the car on Whitney Avenue it was the core of my body saying, “Don’t think that yet! You haven’t done what you wanted to do!”
I think a lot here about being able to stay. I don’t know if I could. Sometimes, when the talking seems easy, the weather is nice, I’ve got a full inbox of email from people who love and miss me, and I’ve had a good day at work, I think it’s possible to set up shop and live here forever. The truth is, it doesn’t scare me to think like that. Not like it scared me in New Haven. And here, I haven’t once said I don’t want to be here. That’s something.
In New Haven, I had furniture. I had the kind that is nice. My furniture (some of it) was in magazines. (The other stuff was from the Salvation Army and donated from friends.) And once you have furniture that’s been in magazines, do you really want to leave it? (Granted the magazine furniture I had was actually just four pieces, two from one magazine and two from another…and they were all four on sale…and my cat destroyed the chair with her scratching and her fur…and I don’t know how to decorate so I kind of gave up on spending money on furniture at all and stuck with buying clothes and food…..hence the gym, people.) But I had some furniture. And my own beautiful apartment in Wooster Square. With a microwave! And a porch! And high ceilings! And two bathrooms! And Wooster Square! I could have so easily stayed, with the furniture and the Wooster Square. But I didn’t. I got rid of all of my things–some of it I gave away, others I put into storage (a.k.a. Dennis’ parents’ basement) and some of it I sent home to Vermont storage (a.k.a. Mom’s attic.) And I left the States with a couple of bags of stuff. Who’s that comedian who talked about having “stuff”? Like our only purpose in life is to have “stuff,” and once you get so much “stuff” you have to buy a house to put it all in? And then you get more “stuff.”
I guess if the core of my body was saying “No, not yet!” to the buying of the house, then it must also have meant to stop having so much stuff. (Including the magazine furniture.) So now…what do I have that’s mine? The stuff that I’ve acquired here? One batik, two keychains, three tiles (from New Zealand), four or five magnets, some DVDs that will only play in Brazil, and more clothes. That’s all my stuff. Nothing I can’t pack into a bag and take with me somewhere else. That’s how I have to live I guess. Not out of a bag, literally. But just without so much stuff. I figure once I’m done collecting all of my little pieces of stuff from around the world, I’ll be ready to settle down and place them all out in front of me in my own home. Where that will be, God only knows.
But I guess I wouldn’t be entirely upset if God said “Brazil.”