October 5, 2010

And it was time to learn Spanish

I'm moving to Puerto Rico.

The hugeness of this whole thing has yet to dawn on me, because for now I'm not scared, not grieving the departure from my family, not savoring sweatshirt weather. I'm not packed. I won't for a while. I'm not ready.

But that's okay, because there are lots of things you just can't be ready for, least of which would be moving to a different country*. You can't know what to expect, you can't coach yourself through it. Packing my bags is about the only thing I can do. I can't mentally prepare for this. The best analogy I can think of is jumping into cold water, like I did last week in Upper Silver Lake. Something about being in an inland Michigan lake in October is very very wrong. Made me realize I never, ever want to go Polar bear-ing. I'll try almost anything once, but that's one thing I don't feel the need to ever do. I've heard that when you jump into icy water, your body does crazy things without you telling it to. Like, you lose control of your limbs because all the blood rushes back to the center of your body to keep it warm. And I can't begin to guess what my poor lungs would do. I really see it as a worst-case scenario: no control of limbs, lungs exhale, I sink, you all wear black to my funeral. Hence: Never gonna try it.

Anyway. At camp last week, I stood on the shore, knowing the water was cold but that I had to go in it, and eventually the point came where I had to just go, and accept whatever chills might follow.



Any remnant of comfort was soon supplanted by cold, penetrating deep to my bones. And: It really wasn't that bad. Soon, after shivers and shouts, I was pretty much accustomed to it, and went about my business of removing The Blob from the waterfront (and thenceforth, draining, deflating, inflating, mopping, drying, deflating, folding, and stowing it.) I could have stood on the shore forever, thinking it through, trying to get psyched up, analyzing, and weighing the circumstances. But that wouldn't have changed anything.

And that's kind of how I'm going to Puerto Rico. It's a big adventure, one I'll love and hate, but I can't really wrap my mind around it for now. There's not really a whole lot that I can do to be ready. Of course, I have to pack.

And I need to brush up on my Spanish. But then again, I've always heard the best way to learn a language is to need to learn a language. And I've got three semesters (college semesters, mind you) stowed away somewhere in the back of my brain.

*Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm struggling with how to say this, because Wikipedia tells me that Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Yeah. So, not a different country. But if Alabama seems like a different country, I can certainly refer to Puerto Rico that way. Also, I don't need a passport. And neither will you.


Anonymous said...

supplanted, good word haha. miss you jimmy carabiner-hands.

dave poof yo ulrich

(p.s. my verification word to submit this post was colyma, which is not a good word because it's not a real word)

kayla said...

jim! we can practice spanish if you want! seriously. we can watch a movie in spanish (finding nemo is still one of my favorites) at the beginning, and then we can have conversations in spanish. and jason can just pretend like he understands what's happening. it will be good times.

Katie said...

I highly recommend watching movies in Spanish...but be careful of watching Spanish audio with Spanish subtitles. A lot of times they don't match up very well. Kung Fu Panda is ADORABLE in Spanish, and Transformers is pretty good that way, too. :)

Dan said...

Wow. When do you make the exodus? You're due for a Chicago visit.