|In our future house! We'll live there together, it won't be weird, don't make it weird.|
I stood next to a ylang ylang tree and just, silently smelled. Smelling is a close cousin to breathing (did you know?) so it became a sort of meditation. In Costa Rica, the air, the world, everything, smelled like tropical blooms. This is not in manicured resorts, this is through dirt roads past tiny homes with corrugated metal roofs, in the woods, everywhere. It smells so good you have to use words like "sublime" and "divine", it's like the smell is being piped in somehow. I wanted to savor it, to stop each time I became aware of it, to hog it. But I never needed to. It went on and on. It was perennial, the Capitol dome.
"It will be hard to get back to real life," said Anna to me as we sipped morning coffee, having just shuffled down the treehouse steps barefoot. Monkeys shook the branches in the canopy overhead as I popped my chair back on two legs. This IS real life. Just not for us, a small voice inside me said. And then a smaller voice, not yet.
The last day in D.C. we used the bikeshare and sailed around, the bikes beneath us transforming our behavior instantly into a pack of neighborhood punks. We circled each other menacingly, raced between stop signs, floated our hands away from our handlebars like we were performing a spell. "I feel like I'm in a movie!", my mother-in-law said, gawking at the wide brick avenues and candy-colored rowhouses.
We are moving in 2-3 years, probably. Nick will finish school and hopefully get a job and it won't be in Columbus (not how the academia thing works). I have lived here for the better part of ten years and Nick has lived here even longer, and sometimes we will have to cut through campus in the car driving and I will actually gasp from surprise that we are still here. And now I should disclaim that I like it here. I just don't want it to be the only place I ever live.
I used to want to be where people would love me. I had a boyfriend who was dead-set on moving to the Bay Area and so I (silently) decided that must be where I was going too. I figured my oldest friend Leslie would get a job in NYC after school and that if my luck didn't turn I would follow her there.
Zan asked me a while ago where I would live if I could live anywhere and I couldn't answer her. There exists no place on earth with the mountains and the ocean and the forest and a reasonable cost of living and good bike infrastructure and laid-back yet unflakey folks and both our families and oh yeah friends old and new. But some lush paradise with all my friends and family around me sounds a lot like Judeo-Christian heaven, a concept that has chilled me to my core since I first got word of the whole deal. So maybe what I should have said to Zan was Madison, Wisconsin, no, Maine, no, Peru, no, Louisville, Kentucky. They say it's the new Portland and it's a hell of a lot closer to my parents...