Emigrant

2016-07-30 00.38.10.jpg
All my places manifested in ID’s and train cards

Hello from the Wolfgang Puck bar in Dulles International Airport! I’m toasting my homeland with my final glass of American beer for awhile with DC Brau Public Ale. After 4 weeks of teaching in California and nearly a week in Virginia with my family, I’m finally flying “home.”

It’s been weird telling people I live in London–I have to immediately explain I’ve just moved. I’ve only lived in our Nether Street apartment for a month. I’m still in limbo. I felt this deeply when my 16 month old niece “helped” me pack my suitcase today. I wasn’t excited for her to learn about suitcases, nor for how much applesauce she got on her entire body while I checked into my flight.

It seems my theme is leaving. I arrived in the U.S. to watch the U.K. Brexit. I was constantly packing up my bags to go sleep in a new house: 12 homes with 13 dogs, 8 cats, 4 chickens, and 3 reptiles welcomed me and then said more good byes. I struggled and stressed with 34 students to learn as much about drawing and painting as possible, only to send them home (and four of them with pretty amazing scholarships). I procrastinated good byes to my favorites, putting off painful hugs that mean there’s so much time before another hug can happen. I’ve been at Dulles for an extra 3 hours (because Thomasons be paranoid about flights), just waiting to leave again.

All these politics in the U.S. and the U.K. about “immigrants” make me uneasy. Mom said it best:

Mom: Why did they vote to leave the EU?
Me: Because they don’t want immigrants in their country.
Mom: Then why did they conquer the world?

It’s weird to be an immigrant (especially as an indigenous person); but I remember learning in second grade some very important vocabulary. An immigrant is someone who has arrived in a country. An emigrant is someone who has left. It’s rooted in location and in perspective. People have asked if I love England, is it so very different? I don’t know. I still feel like I live here; I only feel like I’m leaving.

I’m hoping that when I land at 7:40 AM London time/ 2:40 AM east coast time/ 11:40 PM Pacific time that I will feel arrived. I have no idea what kind of job I’ll get. I know I’ll be painting. I know I am exhausted and that all of my words for the year have been used up–so I will post about my travels in the States in photos soon. For now, I just want to paint in my studio silently and hang out with David and Zeke dog.

Even so, I will miss this humidity in a weird way–it feels full like I am when I see Virginia. I will miss the fog tsunami that rolls into San Francisco. I will miss the golden light in Oakland and the hard-won battles for my students’ growth. I’ll always be a Virginian emigrant, but that means I’m deeply rooted here and nothing can take that away. Hopefully I’ll make roots enough in London to be sad to leave there as well.

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