August 10–One Week Till Departure

The past couple weeks, everyone’s eyes have been on London. Not mine.

It’s crazy, right? You’d think that I would be glued to the TV, watching not just for the athletes, illustrating the very extreme of the human body’s capabilities, but for the city itself. I’m going to be there in a week, after all. London will be my home for four months.

However, since returning from a 20-day road trip across the country almost two weeks ago, I’ve mostly just been watching re-runs of What Not to Wear and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. And honestly, my mind is no where near the United Kingdom. It’s still lost somewhere in New Orleans, dancing second line to a big brass band.

My mom keeps popping into my daydreams of The Crescent City, where I spent four days in July, to remind me of my impending departure from this country. In her most strained voice, she reminds me that I have to figure out my phone situation, my money situation, and my wardrobe situation. She keeps saying that I have to pack and make lists and talk to people on the telephone.

I know, Mother, stop worrying about it! I’ll get it done!

(I’m looking up how much it is to rent a studio in the Treme.)

I admit that I’m acting strangely, perhaps even inappropriately. I simply haven’t been able to grasp the fact that the next chapter of my life takes place in London and that this is kind of a big deal. I mean, everyone else I know understands this. For example, today my younger sister, Megan, and I went to the great city of San Francisco, where our cousins live. We ended up spending some time at their house.

My cousin (who isn’t much older than me) asked: “Have you called AT&T yet?”

“No, I still gotta do that.”

“Well, all you gotta do is–actually, let’s make this easier…”

He went into another room and returned with his old phone (which is much nicer than any phone I’ve ever owned in my life), gave it to me, and then proceeded to call his service provider to make sure the SIM card is unlocked so that I can replace it with a new one in London. He even told me what brand to buy. He waited on hold for maybe twenty minutes while I just sat there twiddling my thumbs, watching the fog roll over the St. Ignacius Church outside.

So now I have a Blackberry that’s all set for me to use in the UK. No thanks to myself. (Thank you, Evan!)

Even writing all of this down, though, there is a profound level of detachment that I am almost ashamed of. I don’t entirely understand it.

Let me try to wake myself up again:

Dear Me, In one week, you will be in London, England and you will not be back in California or, indeed, the United States of America, until ten days before Christmas. Christmas for Christ’s sake!

Nothing. It’s like trying to knock on someone’s door, but their door is to a soundproof room and they’re wearing noise canceling headphones listening to black metal. I just can’t get through to myself. I’m in such denial.

It’s not that it’s apathy. Of course, I’m excited to be in London. Maybe it’s that I can’t even begin to comprehend what this experience is going to mean to me. How it is going to change me.

London, England is about to take me far outside my comfort zone. I grew up in the Bay Area in the suburbs and I chose to go to college a mere hour from home. In one week I’m going to be living 5,371 miles from the Bay in one of the biggest cities in the world! How can I not change from this experience? I’ve never been so far detached from my home, my family, and all they represent in my entire life…

2013 is so far away. When it comes, I will be in my penultimate quarter of college,  about to begin my 30 page senior paper, about to begin my duties as a signer of TWANAS, about to plan for the next phase of my life, after graduation. 2013 will be a rude awakening, but it is so far away, farther even than the four and a half months that it is. I know this because in these next few months so many events and experiences will take place, that they will be richer than any I’ve ever known. Frankly it leaves me dumbfounded to even imagine…

So I’m going to go watch more TV now.


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