In my version of the divine comedy, there'd be seven circles, all of them limbo.
When J and I packed all our belongings into storage last June, I knew we'd be in for a half a year of living out of our suitcases: of moving from place to place, house to house, state to state. It was the kind of romantic adventure we both love to suffer through.
We took a week-long road trip to Michigan from California, spent two months in a summer limbo with family and friends in the Midwest, then spent three enchanted months of limbo in Kyoto. We returned for another month of holiday limbo with family in December, then re-packed the car a few days after Christmas and drove back out to California in yet another week of interstate limbo. Ribbons of sunset unfurled over Kentucky, blustery winds swept us through Oklahoma, spaceship clouds followed us to Roswell, New Mexico, prickly saguaros greeted us in Arizona, and we descended into San Diego from a harrowing drive in mountains shrouded in fog and rain.
Next we spent five days in limbo in Solana Beach, at the house of a gracious fellow graduate student who put us up while we waited for our spot in student housing to open up. The wide, bright sky, and ever-busy freeways of southern California are about as far from the quiet mossy beauty of Kyoto as I can imagine, but that all seems like a distant dream now.
We are moved in to our new digs at last; all our furniture finds a new configuration, the smell of new carpet lingers.
La Jolla feels like its own kind of limbo -- different from the rest of San Diego, and the rest of the country. We're in a little graduate student village, surrounded by grassy lawns and eucalyptus trees, the sun shines dependably and everyone wears flip-flops year-round. I feel like I'm on another planet, while my pals back in the Midwest are expecting highs of zero...
It is finally time to take a deep breath and relax into this act of settling -- which came none too soon, me in my third trimester. We found a lovely birth center called Best Start, and I'm so relieved that we have a good place to deliver this baby that I want to hug everyone who works there.
While I tend to come undone after too long of neither-here-nor-there-ness, I'm beginning to see that I've got to learn to find the fortuities in those spaces.
We visited with my Grams in Michigan on the day we left, chatting with her about this and that, describing the arc of our past and future travels. I must have said something about how I don't like leaving, because she said, "Life is just a series of arrivals and departures." I didn't really hear it at the time, but J reminded me later and I was struck by its truth, its folksy elegance.
It feels like that's all I've been doing lately, is arriving or departing, but it's only difficult when I fancy that I should be staying.
My friend A, who is a true gypsy, has "home" tattooed on her wrist, to remind herself that she's always there.