What I hate the most about packing is not the time it takes. Or the organization involved. Or the money inevitably spent. I really don’t even mind the beginning stages of packing. It is the end stages of packing that I hate the most. The part where I have to start taking down my pictures from the walls. When I have to put away candles and my Willow Tree angles that make my shelves look sweet and homey. Or taking down my collection of activist posters to be rolled up in the shipping tube. It is removing the last details that I actually lived here that are the hardest. The removing all evidence of myself from a place where I spent so much time. It makes me think of the Patty Griffin lyrics:
So I’m wearing my footsteps into this floor
One day I won’t live here anymore
Someone will wonder who lived here before
and went on their way
I live too many miles from the ocean
and I’m getting older and odd
I get up every morning with a black cup of coffee
and I talk to the mother of God
Now, excuse me if the following reflections are sappy and possibly a bit cheesy, but I’m just in one of those moods.
Over the last 15 months I have made little touches that have helped to make this little 300 sqft hole my home. The cards sent for birthdays and Christmas, the magnets on my fridge from the places I’ve traveled, my books that lined the built-in shelf; these things are representative of people I love, places I’ve been, experiences I’ve had. And while I recognize that they are only things, it is still hard to pack them away, even if for only a short while. Taking down the bits and pieces that made this place my home is harder than I thought it would be. My time here has not always been easy, and I know that I have expressed on more than one occasion how I am not a huge fan of Hong Kong the city. Yet, I have grown to really enjoy my life here, the people I interact with on a daily basis, and the work we engage in together.
To all things there is a season, this I know to be true. And this season is very quickly drawing to a close. I am saying my goodbyes and trying to get the final boxes packed and shipped before Kris gets here (tomorrow!) While I am sad to pack it away, to move on, I am excited to take this life with me. I know that it is not something I am simply leaving behind. My time here will define me for years to come. So as I wrapped the final picture frames and store away the earring collection supplemented through gifts from clients, I know that wherever I go next, it is not just the things that are going with me; but the lessons, the stories, the memories, the experiences. And that is not something you can just pack away and ship off.