Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I am making progress, trying to focus on one small area at a time and avert my gaze from the devastation that is my house, no longer my home, just a shell filled with boxes and extraneous junk, more like a huge dumpster filled with detritus. I try to imagine what an archeologist will find in three thousand years, and what he will conclude when he sifts through the remains. I believe we will be living a simpler life in the future and will not value consumption or accumulation or collection in the way that we have.

Eric moves boxes. I pack them and they disappear. I do not want to know where they go or stress about their safety. I don't know if I will ever see what I have packed again, or if the boxes will survive their journey to the garage or the storage unit. I am trying not to control every part of the move, in fact I control nothing but what goes in the box. I am very aware that I must trust more, and let go of the hold these things have on me. I am holding onto the most valuable stuff, which remains in my bedroom in an ever growing pile.

I try to console myself. I could be out and about and engaging in interesting activities, I could be at a yoga class or eating with friends or reading a good book, or seeing the latest movie. Instead I am getting exercise by packing and lifting boxes, I am engaging my memory and my mind in sorting through belongings, challenging myself to make decisions about what to keep and what to discard. Do I sound convincing enough?

I have three more days!!!! My next ticket to Boston is on Saturday. I plan to make that plane, but Eric may stay longer to finish up. As of Monday, we have no home, or we will make our home wherever we are. We have the cabin in Woods Hole until the end of the month, so that will be home for now, and I will be back and forth between Boston and Baltimore making my home at various friends' houses. I will be a gypsy, traipsing about with a bag; what a sight!

We have some possibilities in Quito as well. I will be wandering around town checking out apartment possibilities. I have not lived in an apartment since my early twenties. Maya's school is far from Eric's university, which is fine, since Maya will take a bus to school daily and public transportation is perfectly adequate. Eric forwarded an email from a contact in Quito proposing an affordable place halfway between the two locations, but it is in an area where another friend lives and experienced a brutal home invasion last year. We will have to prepare ourselves for the possibility of such an experience and be ready to let all our belongings go without resistance and preserve our lives rather than hold on to anything. We cannot really ensure that it will not happen, it does not matter where we live in Quito. Eric proposes that we plan for it and be ready to avert injury or loss of life. Whew! I sound so relaxed about such a horror, and of course I am not at all comfortable with any sort of violence or violation, but I have heard about the possibility enough times to be anticipating it.

I hope that caution and awareness will save us from any such experience. I have no idea why I have been thinking about it. When I received the email about the apartment, I found myself enthusiastic until I was reminded about the home invasion, whereupon my stomach took a few turns and I started to worry. I have a patient who has spent time in South and Central America, most often on the wrong side of the law, and when I told him about my move, he cautioned me and urged me to learn to use a gun, and if not a gun, at least learn how to disable an attacker with various defensive techniques. He offered to teach me how to defend myself, and expressed grave concern.

I have never thought of myself as excessively anxious until I began writing about our move to Ecuador. It seems now that whenever I think about the move, there is more to worry about. Of course not enough to cancel the sabbatical and choose a 'safer' place to live. It is Ecuador in less than a month, and that is that.

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