(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

getting ready. and here I come.

Well now. I'm switching my countdown from days to hours. 78 hours to be exact. I vacillate between elation and nausea. La Framericaine inquired about my pre-departure activities.

Hmmm. Today I arose at 5:15 a.m. and drove my houseguest to Portland's Union Station to board Amtrak north to the Seattle airport. I then proceeded to Starbucks ... (where I got to see lots of meetings ensuing) and rendez-vous'd with my hero of the day, my friend Tom. He has volunteered to do the remarkable kindness of picking up my vehicle at the Portland airport and returning it to the coast where it will await my return or its eventual sale. Isn't he a wonder?

I then drove back to Seaside where, in spite of having a laundry list of small tasks and a highly compressed amount of remaining time in which to complete them ... I watched American Gangster and then began catching up on all of my belated blog reading and commenting. I'm a bit tired and overwhelmed, to be honest. I needed to be distracted for a bit. But I am also the type who seems to thrive on procrastination and last minute chaos to spur me on.

Wednesday will be jam packed. I have some goodbye phone calls to make. A mid-morning consultation with my new coastal property manager. A house to clean. Laundry to transport to the laundromat (isn't that a fabulous word?). A trip to the US Post Office for last minute mailing. A trip to my new storage space for final drop-offs. Farewell drinks with a friend Wednesday evening. Spill-over to Thursday will be a final strimmer session with my yard, and a whirlwind weed-and-feed. Targeted applications of Round-up (sorry mother earth). A good dose of carpenter ant repellent around the exterior of my shacky-shack.

My goal is to be relatively task free for Friday. Not too free though, not enough for insane levels of fretting. Leaving time for a beach day. Final luggage review. And my departure for the airport at the god-awful hour of 2:30 a.m. (90 minutes to airport. 3 hour advance arrival to accommodate doggie check-in as well as my own).

I feel my blood pressure and heart rate climb as I contemplate it. In fact, this is actually the very first time I have thought of a flight to and arrival in France with dread. Mostly because of the dogs and the coordination of luggage and kennels throughout CDG, all by my lonesome. It is like taking some medicine in order to get better, right? sigh.

An expat friend sent me the most wonderfully sane and encouraging email today. I honestly want to print it and carry it with me to read as a sort of talisman for my journey. Apparently, I'm to be assured that I am not crazy. Nor irrational. Nor throwing my life away! Of course, logical Kim is aware of these things. Logical Kim has successfully navigated so, so many rough waters through the years and not only stayed afloat but ventured into quite fruitful territories. And she knows it. But Doubting Kim rears her ugly head occasionally, with particularly poor timing.

I take a deep breath and assure myself, if anyone can do it ... I can. and so I shall. So yes, I do believe I shall be printing these friendly words of sanity for me to refer to over the next few days. That, my friend Mr. Hendricks, and some Stuart Smalley chanting should get me through.


Utah Savage said...

Your adventure is a great encouragement to lots of us you are leaving behind. I figure you'll be too busy to write much once you're there, but I am excited to start getting the straight dope on what it's going to be like to be the first wave of new expats. My next door neighbor is French. She spends a month every summer going home. I'll get as much info from her and maybe some interesting new contacts from her. She leaves tomorrow, so I missed the boat this time.

When you have time, send me an email or something. Remember we have a work in progress and I have a very strong feeling it's going to make it's way into publication.

Best of luck, happy trails, and keep in touch, my friend.

Hill Country Hippie said...

Think about it this way. If everything were to go without a hitch, and your days stretched out uneventfully, what on earth would you write about? If it weren't for all my husband's trips to the ER, his tow truck incidents, and our roof blowing off, when we first moved to the Texas Hill Country, I wouldn't even have a blog!

Randal Graves said...

Rational, irrational, mere labels conjured up by some clown with his head stuck in the DSM-IV. It's what you want to do, need to do, and you're doing it. As long as you write about it for our vicarious kicks. ;-)

Anonymous said...

You aren't throwing your life away: you are living it, on your own terms and in your own way. Congratulations on doing what so many of us would like to, but haven't been able to, yet!

Je ne regrette rien said...

U.S.-okay, will do. I feel like a pioneer, forging ahead!

HCH-that's the ticket! research, I'm doing research!

RG-I think its good to say I's scared a little. To let people know it is normal and still okay to take a leap.
Also, so glad I can be here to serve for your amusement!

anon-encouragement and affirmation is appreciated and accepted wholeheartedly!

La Framéricaine said...

One of the prereqs for any kind of creative change and expansion is the capacity to tolerate "creative stress." Such as that generated when you do a remodel on an oceanside shack, for instance.

You have the perfectly dull little place and a vision of it as a cool little place. So, you go into overdrive, make a huge mess, spend money on supplies, and, slowly but surely, bring the transformation to fruition.

All the way through the project you ask yourself what the hell you thought you were doing. Couldn't you just have settled for the basic box? And the answer is "No." You needed more light, more space, more air, and, maybe, more importantly, you needed to put your "mark" on the basic box. Instead of pissing against the wall you painted and installed a skylight! Alright!

This adventure is just a ratcheted up version of your remodel. You're moving further out on the limb, marking a bigger piece of the universe to claim knowledge of. France is only the gateway to an experience of an expanded you.

Always keep in mind that there are "inconveniences" and there are "problems." For me, death and maiming are problems. The rest of the stuff can get in line, it's all just inconveniences after that.

"3 bottles of beer on the wall..."


Je ne regrette rien said...

good analogy LF. I think most of my very temporary feelings are only normal given the enormity of my undertaking. But I am already beginning to look to Monday vs. Saturday and allow myself a modicum of anticipatory excitement.

La Framéricaine said...

I'm happy for you and I know that you are going to have a great time at the intersection of Kim and France!

"2 bottles of beer on the wall..."

Randal Graves said...

Being scared at least a little is natural. I know I certainly would be, especially at the whole 'hey, they aren't speaking English' thing. But please, amuse us!