2016 is – thankfully – nearly over. It has been a hell of a year to be an immigrant in the US. When I moved here three years ago, I never thought for a moment that they would be inaugurating President Trump in 2017.
I swear I was leaving anyway.
We always wanted to leave after two or three years. Despite plenty of assumptions that we’d grow to love it so much that we’d never leave, we’ve always known this wasn’t a permanent move. My British passport has always felt like something of a “get out of jail free” card when it comes to navigating the fringes of America – and sometimes it feels like it’s all fringe. Now I guess I’m cashing it in. I can’t escape the feeling that I’m running away.
It is a bittersweet day. I love living in Seattle – some day I’ll actually sit and write about how much I *do* love it. It tugs at me, reminding me constantly of reasons to stay. I must admit, I wasn’t sure I was ready to move back. So much changes in a few years, after all. What if Dublin doesn’t feel like home? Driving home from work a few months ago I heard an Irish journalist (the wonderful Fintan O’Toole) being interviewed on NPR about the Apple tax ruling. And as I listened to the cadences of the Irish tongue, I cried. Just started weeping on the I-5, stuck in traffic. I knew then that no matter how much Seattle pulls me, America does not. It’s not home. Home is Ireland, and Dublin. And it’s time to go home.
As I write, movers are taking the last of our possessions away. It is quite disconcerting to watch your life being boxed away, labelled, and driven off. We’ve had leaving drinks, and leaving karaoke, and leaving D&D, and more leaving drinks. I’ve said goodbye to some of the best friends I’ve made. I know some of these goodbyes are temporary, and I will see them again. Most aren’t though. I’m also slowly handing off my clients, some to other therapists, others to an unknown future. In my job, moving always means letting kids and families down. It is possible that my tears ducts have just stopped working under the strain.
People keep asking me what I’m going to miss. I’ll miss the Pine Box and Dick’s and Raygun and Cinerama. I occasionally think of things I meant to do – go to Leavenworth in winter, visit Mt.St. Helens, get cocktails at the Knee High Stocking Company. But I’m not sad about those things. I’m sad to leave the people I play games and see movies with, the people I eat and drink and talk shite and make bad decisions with. I don’t regret not doing all the things I meant to – I regret not making time for a hot seat game of Civ VI, or a snarky viewing of Point Break, or girly wine, or more dinosaur D&D. My heart breaks a little each time I think of the things I didn’t do.
I love all my friends here so much. Earlier on I was worried that I wouldn’t make great friends here. Well I did. The most awesome group of people live right here, and they’re my friends. They are without a doubt, the best thing about living in America. And I almost can’t believe I’m leaving them. With things going the way they are here, I feel like I’m abandoning them.
But it’s time to go home.