We missed the exit for Terminal 5, so we had to go back around the airport bend. It weirdly woke me up for a second. I’m nearly there again. About to step out of a car, necessities in tow, and move to Thailand. Maybe it wouldn’t happen for some reason? Maybe we’d loop right around and go back home. We’re just out for a nice drive. Then Jack pulls up to the curb and gives me a big hug, drives away. It’s a bit disconcerting not to feel completely awake in moments like this. It’s similar to when you first realize Christmas has lost its giddiness, or you don’t wake up on your birthday feeling that different anymore. You don’t really remember where the energy went or why, but it’s not there.
I suppose the alternative is way too cinematic. In that world, I’d be full of emotions, nearly bursting at the seams. I’d do something dramatic at the airport, like collapse in line to check in, or find a friend waiting for me at security to say a final farewell. Of course that’s not what happens and I don’t really need to discuss why that is.
I am cliche in that I’m sitting at an airport bar right now drinking overpriced coffee and a bloody mary and writing (in public). There are many women with mimosas discussing how expensive the drinks are. I’m here alone trying to rack my brain and properly identify my feelings. Am I excited? I know I’ll be happy when I get there, but I wouldn’t describe this as excitement. Am I sad to leave? Not really. Chicago will always be here, and I know I’ll be back here in four months anyway for Christmas. Am I a spoiled brat for not feeling either of those things as I’m about to move abroad? As in, am I so used to the feeling of being away that I have the luxury of feeling normal?
Being this kind of person was a dream of mine for a long time. I wanted to be able to see amazing things that I read about or saw on TV, share stories (though not unprovoked like a bougie dick – still trying and I apologize to anyone I’ve done this to), and have friends all over the world. I’m that now. It’s incredible. I’m also insanely lucky to have parents who have supported me somewhat reluctantly when I was in need, both emotionally and financially. Not everyone gets this opportunity and I know that. That’s mostly why I’m going for a second round. There’s not likely going to be another time when I’ll be able to do this in my life. I’m young and able and have the time.
What surprised me was my love for Chicago that revealed itself once I was back. Chicago was a very painful place to be for a while. I definitely needed the time away to heal and also to prove to myself that I could evolve beyond the person that I was in college. My initial thought was that I’d fall in love with living abroad and do it for the rest of my life. And while that was, is, and will be an amazing adventure, I think nomadic Maureen is going to be cemented in this part of my life. That’s because Chicago didn’t seem so sad when I came back this time. There’s still a lot of scabbing that I want to pick at, but the desire fades with each day. It’s not even that it’s a comfort in its consistency. Things are changing: new jobs, new partners, new apartments – but I enjoy being a witness to it. Traveling will always be a part of my life, but at this moment, I really like the idea of coming home to Chicago. It’s home base. With that said, there’s obviously a reason why I’m returning to Thailand. I love the damn place. The people are warm and welcoming and sassy and funny. Though I’ve only known them for a year, my friends there are caring beyond belief. The country itself is beautiful, variant, if not a bit unpredictable. Plus, I only traveled to about half of the places I wanted to last year. When I got on the plane to America in April, my soul screamed “I’m not done yet!” I felt that so deeply that I knew the moment we took off that I’d be back soon.
Here’s the thing, though: I change my mind nearly every day on crucial items. It’s a curse. I can’t keep things straight, probably because I’m still figuring out who I am and what I really want out of life. At least I know that? Maybe it isn’t such a bad thing. So, watch me write another blog post a year from now, sitting in a cafe in Argentina or something.
I used to think that blog posts were too permanent. They established my feelings to an outside audience and thus any changes equate to weakness. That’s probably why I had dozens of posts sitting in a metaphorical dusty corner of my laptop. I’m too afraid to post because I’m afraid I’ll change my mind. Have I written about this before? Regardless, in a convoluted way, I’m hoping my writing and publishing this (possibly multiple times) will remind me that it’s alright to do that.
My bloody mary is diluted, my coffee is cold, but my mind’s a bit clearer. Here we go again.