England's a lot more diverse than I always thought it was. We are in a playground in Southampton and so far I've seen people from Eastern Europe, India and/or Pakistan, some Muslims who could be from anywhere, and lots of people from indeterminate places.
We got in this morning, and I felt like a refugee standing in line to get off the Queen Mary 2. Add our TWELVE (I am not kidding) bags and you can imagine how I felt. We wanted to find a taxi but were misdirected, and an American woman who lives here and was meeting a friend who is moving here gave us--and our luggage--a lift to our hotel in her VERY large rented van. We truly lucked out because she was driving right past the hotel anyway and could have fit five more people's luggage in there!
We had a bit of a farce getting all our stuff up to our only-for-one-night hotel room, and managed eventually. Then we were able to reserve a car to get to Tuesday's ferry from Dover to Calais where we will pick up the car in which we will drive to Spain to see boats.
Indian food tonight for dinner and the adventure continues...
We've just been told to move the clocks ahead one hour and that tonight we will pass the wreck of the Titanic. I am writing this as I say by the pool, listening to music while drinking a Bloody Mary at lunchtime on Tuesday. I say these things not to make anyone reading this envious (although it is a very good Bloody Mary), but because all these things serve as ways to distract from or to mask the importance of the adventure we have embarked on.
I keep saying that I have to decide what I want to be when I grow up; it's sort of tongue-in-cheek, but it's true. I like to think that I can write, but can I write well enough to make a living at it? People have told me that I have a good photographic eye, but is it good enough? I'll need to market myself somehow and for that I'll need the internet. Do I really want to spend endless hours in front of a screen?
Meanwhile, it's almost time for another workshop, another attempt to put off the inevitable decisions. Tomorrow is a day to write about something else...
We've been at sea now for about two hours and the buildings of New York City can still be seen in the distance. They are so far away now that they appear almost as grey shadows against the evening sky. Leaving a country by ship is so much more gradual than it is in a plane. In a plane you see the land receding away from you, getting smaller so quickly that if you blink you literally miss it, but on a ship it takes hours. It's almost as if you are being pulled away from it--not necessarily kicking and screaming, but I am certainly feeling much more reflective about what I am leaving.
We are moving to Portugal, where none of us has ever lived before and where none of us speak the language. My son will go to a Waldorf school and I will learn Portuguese and figure out what I want to be when I grow up. My husband is about to fulfill his dream of living on a sailboat. I am excited but also sad--sad to be leaving my family and friends but thrilled at the prospect of a new adventure.
As the skyline of New York fades into the distance and Europe comes ever-so-slowly closer, it seems like a cliche to say that I'm at a sort of figurative border crossing in my life, but it's true, Fortunately I've got the week on board the Queen Mary 2 to at least try to come to terms with it.