Tonite, Nadine and I sat on my porch in the Canadian flag deckchairs and had a gin while the sun went down. At one point, we talked about how strange it is to think that I'll soon be leaving again.
It feels a bit like life is happening in reverse now: I'm doing things for the last time which a few months ago I did for the first. I remember blogging when we first got the deckchairs and sat out the bag for a drink... it was warmer because it was summer, but that's not the only thing that was different.
I had just arrived from NZ, and had high expectations of how much I would get done on sabbatical. I was, I realise, exhausted from my first few years on the job, and was relishing the opportunity to be back closeby to grad school buddies and other friends. Being able to sit on the back porch of my house, while looking at a gigantic library and watching squirrels run around the top branches of the trees in my yard, talking with a good friend about literary theory and our current writing projects felt like an unimaginable luxury. It was, and it still is.
I was going to be heading back to NZ, and now I'm not. I'm not taking everything here in my suitcases on my return trip because some of it will be posted to my new life in Hawai'i. Since the first deckchair drinkies, I have learned about Canadian things like a SIN (Social Insurance Number), OHIP (Ontario health insurance) and poutine (fries with gravy and cheese curds). I've also, more recently, started to learn about US visa categories, American health insurance and academic jobs in the US. If someone had wandered over to my porch last August and said to me 'hi, I can see into the future and this time next year you'll be living in Hawai'i teaching Pacific Literatures at UHM' I would have assumed they had a gin stash of their own! I would have thought it was unimaginable, and to be honest sometimes I still do!
Other things have changed too... haircuts, outfits, research projects, facebook profile shots, affairs of the heart. Yes, team, I'm getting reflective. I'm looking back over the year, seeing it in reverse, looking across the wide scope of things my time here has given me. As I look back, I find that I can't help but smile.