Travel, packing, anxiety, uncertainty

I’ve managed to combine doing enough laundry, and buying enough new stuff, that I should be able to assemble a reasonable wardrobe for my latest trip, to the states from tomorrow. (Note the excellent post here on the curious practice of Americans abroad suddenly adopting “the states” as a name for the USA, something which I most certainly never said when I lived there!) As usual, I’ve set myself an impossible packing dilemma by making my trip multi-tasking and diverse. My last trip was a good example of this, needing to simultaneously prepare for summer in Singapore and winter in Canberra. Now at least I have summer the whole time, but I have a combination of work and play planned, which requires me to have appropriate clothes for both. Sigh. Thank goodness for Target. Since the work part of my trip is first, my plan is to overload on work clothes and fill in the casual caps with Target and other inexpensive local staples. Should be interesting.

I accepted an invitation (collective groan! more travel!) to give a seminar at a distinguished university in the states in March of next year. (I swear, I WILL stop accepting all of these invites someday, when I wise up and learn not to travel so much!) And for some reason, this particular seminar has featured heavily in my recent set of anxiety-filled dreams. In my dreams, about a half-dozen in the last few weeks, the seminar has been set for 11 am and I end up looking at my watch and seeing it’s some time past 11 and I’m not at the seminar as I should be. Last night’s version was particularly odd, as it had me in Australia at the designated time, which means I most certainly could not have made it under any circumstances. Dreams often don’t make sense, right? But it’s odd that something 8 months away is causing such consternation now. And even odder given that my normal anxiety dream is about missing an airplane flight, and always involves a labyrinthine set of airport corridors, and normally that’s the dream I’d be having, given that at this time tomorrow I should be sitting in a window seat heading towards Boston. And it’s not like I’m dreading the seminar, I’m actually really excited because I have two good friends at said institution, the one who invited me and another close colleague. So I’m not sure what’s going on in my head with this one.

These two weeks in the office, since my return from Sydney, have been productive and even a bit social (thus the relative quietness on the blog front). Admittedly the “social” things are mostly work related, such as the dinner I’ll be going to tonight when I should be at home calmly packing and organizing. And the dinners the last two nights with various work colleagues. All for a reason. The notable exception to this pattern was a visit last weekend by Mike (Postcards from Across the Pond) and his wife, which was purely social and totally enjoyable. I should have expected this, since Mike’s book remains my favorite of all the expat books I’ve read in the last few years. Invariably, when I meet up with other expats I am queried about my long-term plans–apparently this whole “single girl moves to England for a job” situation must look highly unstable as a long-term plan šŸ™‚ I’m aware that most expats over here either have a local partner or a transported American partner, and I don’t. My social network still revolves heavily around friends back in the US. And I don’t know what the long-term plans are, or even should be. Sometimes that uncertainty weighs heavily on my mind, and sometimes I just go about my life and remember the reasons I’m here and on evaluating all the options I recall that this is the right place for me to be for a while, if not forever. Lately I’ve been experiencing more of the former than the latter, probably because all the travel has me a bit shaken up. I start to wonder if my constant trips out of England are telling me something about how I feel about being in England. And other times I just think I’m taking opportunities for both work and pleasure that are just coincidentally good opportunities and far away. I have no answers. And for today, I have no more time to contemplate the possibilities. The fridge will not clean itself out and the clothes will not self-assemble in my case.

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3 responses to “Travel, packing, anxiety, uncertainty

  1. I’m sure that when I was a child, we used to talk about ‘America’. Now it’s never that. It’s always ‘the US’ or ‘the States’. I don’t think I ever say ‘the USA’.

    But then people always used to talk about ‘England’, lazily meaning ‘the UK’.

    These things are interesting reflections of how we think of a place, I suppose.

  2. Do you even have TIME to think about long term plans?! You always sound so busy!

  3. Have a nice trip! And it was great meeting you, too.

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