We are now, even with 6 ½ months left, in count down mode. I am resisting the urge to move into the tic-toc tic-toc, but it keeps being apparent in ways that I do not expect.
For instance, today the guy who cuts the grass for our complex asked us to loan him some money. He’s never asked before, he always does a good job and his mom is very sick in Haiti and needs surgery. Yes, perhaps I’m an idiot, but the money, although a large sum for him, is very little for us. Of course, in the end, maybe his mom isn’t sick in Haiti. Maybe he doesn’t even have a mother. I like to assume whatever the reason, it’s probably an actual need – whether he’s sick, his neighbor needs school fees for her child or his church’s roof caved in, all are worthy causes in my book. A loan is a loan – we’ve all asked for them at some point, right? Anyway, I calculated how many more times we would be paying him before we leave (15) and decided how much would be taken out each week to return the money. Only 15 more paydays! How is that even possible?
And, we have also decided to go to the States in a few weeks. We’ll probably go for 10 days or so in the summer too and then we’ll have a month of home leave when we finish our tour here. These big markers of time when we will be visiting friends and family make our remaining months here feel so divided into brief periods.
We keep saying we’re going to make a list of things to do here before we leave, but we haven’t gotten around to it. I’m not sure why. In some ways I think we’re defeatists. Presumably, we will both be working right up until our last days here – where in the world would be find time to do the things that are remaining? The reasons we haven’t done them thus far have to do with time and distance. I think we figure we will have lived it up here to the best of our ability. There is no doubt about that. And, time is not being wasted – we’re still trying to reach every corner possible – with or without a bucket list.
Our oldest child is perhaps our biggest reminder of what’s up ahead. Every couple of days or so he asks, “When are we going to Madagascar?” or “When will we get to Africa?” in the same sort of sing-songy, slightly whiny voice that’s usually left for long road trips. He loves it here, but like his parents, the next adventure is always a welcome horizon. We keep reminding him of the months we have left here – with his room, his friends, the beach. He hears us, but it doesn’t seem to sink in. As for Oakwood – I think he’s in denial. We’re trying to sell it on the snow (which we will surely have), the train and the Air and Space Museum. He remembers these things fondly, but when we explain it he says, “And then we’ll go to Madagascar!?”
The everyday reminders, the planning, the over-and-over again explanations – these are the things that make the clock tick. The craziest and yet most certain thing of all is knowing that when it’s time to board the plane – we will be so, so sad to go and so, so ready to leave.