Friday, July 31, 2015

A multitude of lasts

We’re into our last month in Nicaragua, which means that each day that passes and each item that we sell or give away increases how much we talk about the “last time” we do something in Nicaragua. A lot of these are trivial and carry little to no emotion, like the last time that we:
  • use our 6-foot ladder (a few weeks ago) 
  • do drinks, popcorn and two movie tickets at the VIP for $15 total (maybe last week, maybe next week?) 
  • make queso (a few months ago) 
  • buy cat litter at PriceSmart (two days ago) 
Other “lasts” are happier, like the last time that we:
  • pay four bills at three locations (next week) 
  • refill our Tropigas propane tank (last February) 
  • explain on the phone in Spanish how to get to our house…six times (also last February) 
  • go to PriceSmart (who knows?—I always hope that each trip will be the last, but it never is) 
And most obviously, there are the “lasts” that are—or will be—more difficult:
  • the last time we’ll watch the sun set over the city and mountains (TBD) 
  • the last time we spend a Sunday afternoon reading in hammocks on the balcony (last week) 
  • the last time we see the kids in our kids’ program (8/29) 
  • the last time that we see people that are dear to us in the context of living near them (many times last year, many times so far this year, and many more to come in the next month) 

Every “last” brings a small sense of accomplishment, because it’s progress in the complicated process of a long-term move to another country. But for me, even finishing off the “last” box of cereal carries with it an element of finality. It’s a reminder that time is moving quickly towards a complete life change. Not starting new projects because they won’t go anywhere in time or having to cancel meetings or appointments instead of being able to reschedule them illustrates how many things will feel left incomplete when we leave August 30. It all says, This is the end. Somehow this is simultaneously overdramatic and understating it.

Many people ask us if we’re excited to move back to the States. We are, but not unconditionally. I think most significant life change is bittersweet. Finding that everything in your closet has mold growing on it, or opening the car to find that someone else’s puppies have been living in it and peeing on everything for a day are certainly things we don’t anticipate dealing with in the States, and that’s just fine with us. There are people and places (and stores and food!) that we’re excited to see again on a regular basis. But our lives have been here in Nicaragua for the great majority of our married lives; don’t be surprised if we miss it!

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