136 pounds. My entire body weight packed into three suitcases and a backpack. 136 pounds of my most prized possessions. The stuff I couldn’t bear to leave behind. The stuff I decided I needed to make a space my home.
It’s mostly clothes, really, because I couldn’t stand the idea of how many shopping trips it was going to take to replace it all and also couldn’t get over the sticker shock of European prices for clothes. (There is no way in hell I’d pay 30 USD for a pair of Forever 21 dress pants, let alone 30 EUR for a pair of Forever 21 dress pants. I mean, it’s Forever 21.) There are a few essential books, (a small collection of Atwood, Orson Scott Card, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and anthology of Dystopian short stories), a small but good stack of music anthologies and piano sonatas to keep up my music chops (Arias, song repertoire, musical theatre, the basics), a beautiful dolphin statue my Lola gave me, all of my jewelry (which fits into an embarrassingly small box), my teaching portfolio (because I cling to the hope of eventually being able to teach), pictures of my family, and of course the little gnome statue that has followed me every where I have moved to. All of this makes up 136 pounds. And it all looks pitifully small when I put all the clothes away and display the rest.
136 pounds to start a new life, a new home, in a new city, with a new husband.
I have moved four times in my life. I’ve moved to and from different places to live, but I have never really moved a home. When I moved to college it was always “my dorm” or “my apartment” but it was never home. Home was the red brick house with two kidney stone gardens that held my two dogs and two of the best parents a girl could hope to have. Home always had free food and laundry and a big hug from my dad. My apartment was the place I slept when I was at school. It was the place where I held “Sangria Nights” and made dinner when I wasn’t in a practice room. But I never really called my apartment home – home was always an hour drive away. This is the first time I have ever moved to a new home and I am not quite sure how to feel about that.
There’s an excitement for the next phase in my life. I get to navigate my new role as a wife, a daughter/sister-in- law, and an aunt. There is a whole city to explore, with brasseries to sample and jazz bars to discover. I have a language to conquer and a new driving rules to learn. There are bus routes to memorize and neighboring towns to visit. I am close enough to drive to Paris in four hours and Amsterdam in two. I get to dive into a new country and culture like I have always dreamed. However this excitement is greatly tempered by a sort of sadness for everything I left behind 3,933 miles ago.
A sadness for the two fluffy dogs I have raised since puppyhood, for the best friends that always encouraged me to get into a little bit of trouble and live a little, for the midwest friendliness of strangers, and a special kind of sadness for leaving the mother who made my father turn around and come back to the airport just so they could see me walk through airport security. But I am here now, and while I will miss the familiarity of pounds and fahrenheit, it’s time I switched to metric.
62 kilograms to make a new home.