Dear All: A Christmas Card,
Well! 2008-2009 has been quite a year for the Margaret Michelle family (me). I did some things, and then I did some more things, and I was a nanny for a little while, and then I quit, and then I did some other odd jobs (insert details here) and I did not go skiing or snowboarding or earn any promotions or learn to paint or knit.
I don’t have any pets, so I can’t update you on the particulars of their lives, and I don’t have any children– and I did not feel that the nanny children were “like my own.” No divorces, no marriages, no deaths, no births.
Basically, I’m one of those twenty-somethings that’s been smacked upside the head by the economy and soooo…..I decided to go back to school!
Original, I know. To be fair, that was my plan all along. But whatever.
So in three days and six hours, I get on an aeroplane and then I land, and then I drive for a long long time, and then I arrive in San Diego! I understand that’s not the usual route to someplace that is either a 24 hour drive or a 2 hour plane ride, but at any rate, I decided to do both the short plane ride and the long car ride and I can’t change now!
My car is (partially) packed. Turns out my trunk is really small. Did you know that my trunk is really small? Really Small. So some things are in the car, and some things will be shipped, and some things maybe will go in a friend’s moving truck who is also moving South For The Time Being. My life is in pieces. Literally.
Also, I’m using an old coffeemaker, since mine is in a box marked “coffeepot, photos, cookbooks, socks” (don’t ask) and my coffee tastes smoky. Like it was made over a campfire. Which is nice when you’re camping and making coffee over a fire and not so nice when you already feel like your kitchen is torn apart and you’re struggling with daily tasks that indicate functioning. Such as remembering NOT to pack your toothbrush in a box and seal it up. I KNOW I can go buy a new toothbrush. But still.
I didn’t actually pack my toothbrush already, I’m just using that as an example. Things like that.
Now, when I was little I liked the rain. It felt cozy in the winter and my mom was always coming to pick my up from school and soccer practice with the heat blasting. Like soccer practice in the rain, refusing-to-wear-a-raincoat because it was dorky, in the rain. And then I’d come home and try to stay in my wet clothes because I was eight and little kids are ridiculous. As I got older, even though raincoats and even rainboots became more acceptable as fashion accessories (you should see the UW campus in the middle of winter, it’s like an advertisement for REI/Wellies– did you know they make purple rainboots with gold W’s on them and Husky stamped on the heels? Yes, yes they do), the rain got harder to take.
I became one of those people who said first in cheerful denial, “This is just the first week of rain in October. It’ll be sunny again for a while before winter.” And then angrily, “Is the rain EVER going to stop?” And followed it up with bargaining, “Please, if it will just be sunny tomorrow, for one day, I don’t care how cold, I’ll never complain again.” It’s the five stages of sun-grief, and everyone in Seattle can recognize it. Doctors like to call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I think it’s just a perfectly well-rationed response to winter, a biological impulse designed to make us go on vacation and seek sun before we become vampires (there is a reason Twilight is set in Forks, Washington, and no, that is not an excuse to go visit. It’s still Forks. But good on them and their economy).
So now I too, flee to warmer climates and the promise of year-round sun. I too join the masses of Seattlelites who have at least partially relocated because of the rain. Which sounds so lame. It’s really not the rain though. It’s the DARK. In the winter, you wake up here and it’s dark. And it stays gray through mid-afternoon, when maybe the sun lightens the clouds enough that you get light gray instead of dark gray for an hour or two. And then by 4:00 it is DARK. Midnight dark.
Part of why middle and high school starts at 7:45 in the morning is so that sports practices can start immediately after school and have an hour of “light.” September, soccer started at 4:00 or 5:00 or even 6:00. By November, we were sharing fields with at least 3 other teams so that we could all have practice by 3:00. Yay.
That was all just in case any of you who live in Seattle needed a refresher course. I know I did. It’s hard to leave this beautiful city right now. It’s sunny, every neighborhood is interspersed with bridges over blue water, the farmer’s markets are in full swing. I’ve been to Molly Moon’s and out to sushi and out for ridiculous icy drinks with little umbrellas in them and for a Dick’s ice cream kid’s cone and to a lovely organic brunch and for a hot dog with cream cheese. I didn’t have to ask for directions to any of them. In fact, I walked to almost all of them. I understand that San Diego will have all of these things, or versions of all of these things, but I don’t know what they are. Yet.
So, here’s to a new adventure (and a very happy New Year). I hope you and yours are doing well and we (I) will hope to see you down south this winter.
And really, I am so very happy to be “going back to school” this September and joining the line at the store holding newly packaged pencils and fresh lined sheets of paper. Even if the leaves won’t be turning color in quite the same way.