When Ivan and I had dinner on Sunday evening, we got to talking about how emotional it had been for him to say goodbye when he left in February. I wound up admitting to him that the evening I said goodbye, I wound up crying for maybe ten minutes before going to sleep. His immediate response was to say, "Ten minutes! Why not two hours?" A few minutes later I said, "Okay, I cried myself to sleep. Is that better?" He said it was. But in the same conversation, he also admitted to me that he did cry that day too, just about it all -- it was very emotional for him all around. It was the closure of, really, an era that encompassed the entirety of his life beforehand. For a regular person this might be totally expected, but Ivan tends to close off his emotions, so for him to cry at all is kind of amazing.
Saying goodbye to him again last night wasn't anywhere near as emotional. When I walked with him to the Light Rail station, before we even got in the elevator in the condo building, he said, "Are you going to cry?" I said, "No." Then he said, "Why not? I want to take a picture, and post it to Facebook." It was a weird joke to make, but I think maybe he was sort of deflecting his own emotions in that moment. This may not have been anywhere near as significant a goodbye as it had been in February, but he's still very much in the midst of a big, big change in his life -- arguably the biggest change he's ever made. Or at least as big as when he first moved to Portland and then Seattle roughly a decade ago, in his early twenties. He told Shobhit and me on Sunday that at the time he had never been any further west than Pittsburgh (he's from Lancaster, Pennsylvania), and he moved without any money or a job lined up. But, it all worked out. It occurs to me now that these two major moves are perhaps just as significant as each other, just for different reasons. The first would be his youth, and having never made a move like that before, and having no money. This time he's literally emigrating to another country, which is huge -- but, that's mitigated by his being older, certainly wiser from experience (although honestly he can still be rather naïve about a lot of things), and he's still got plenty of money saved. I won't say how much, but when I boldly asked him on Sunday he actually told me, and I was quite impressed to learn that he still has as much money saved to take with him to Canada, as he spent on this entire three-month trip he just went on in Eastern Europe. So, he's going to be fine.
I managed to get to work super early yesterday, which made it easier for me to feel justified about leaving work at 4:15 instead of the usual 4:16 -- not that anyone would have noticed or given a shit anyway. But, it did give me a few extra minutes with Ivan at home before he left for the Bolt Bus to Vancouver, B.C., which was what I wanted. And also I wanted to be able to lock the door behind his departure myself, instead of having him take the spare keys off their ring and slide them under the door again, like he did when he left for Spain in February.
So I got home at about 4:45, and had about 15 minutes before he was set to leave. He was immediately venting to me as soon as I walked in the door, about a bill he got for vaccines it was suggested to him he get when he had a physical with a doctor before traveling, where his insurance covered all but $500. He was incensed that he had to pay that much, which, okay, maybe is dumb, but is hardly a surprise in America. It was kind of the perfect note for him to end his life in America with, though, because now he's headed to Canada where he'll never get such a bill. I guess he had tried to call them on the phone and was now using the web on his phone to pay the bill online, but he sure wanted to complain about it to me when I got home. It was a hot day and he was sitting there shirtless, though, so I had no complaints.
On Sunday he had taken one small suitcase down to storage to swap it out for another in which he'd already packed lighter jackets, but now he needed that taken back down -- he called Bolt Bus and found out they would only let him check one suitcase, not two. The smaller one had nothing super essential in it, apparently, and to save him time, I said I would just take it back down later myself, which he seemed relieved by. He asked if I was still going to walk with him to the Light Rail station and I said yes. I had no suitcase to help pull along for him, but I just kept him company for that last half mile.
I considered riding with him on Light Rail down to International District Station, just like I did the day he went back to Olympia after his first visit after moving out in January 2015, but decided against it. Back then I had no idea how long it might be before I saw him again. This time, although I couldn't say when exactly, I know for certain it will be soon. I have like four boxes and two suitcases (oh and two tote bags of stuff) of his in our storage unit, after all. He even talked about how fun it will be for me to come visit soon, and we can ride bikes around Stanley Park. That does sound fantastic -- Shobhit and I walked around it last year, and that was fun on its own -- even on a gray drizzly day -- but I think riding a bike around that park would be the best.
As we walked down Pine Street I told him, "Any time you're back in town, you're welcome to stay at our place." And he said, "Well thank you, that's very sweet. And of course you're welcome to come visit me, when I get settled." I wasn't sure if that inferred I might have his place as a place to stay, but I figure that depends on where he's living and how much space there is. I'd love to have that option to save money, but won't mind much if I have to stay in a hotel.
When we reached the station, he gave me a nice, pretty tight hug, and said, "Thank you, for all your assistance." He's actually managed to make me feel appreciated, which always makes me feel good -- especially since I don't think he commonly does that with people. And then he was off, on Light Rail to the south end of downtown, where he caught the 6:00 Bolt Bus, and reached the Vancouver station at 9:25. He marked on Facebook during his bus ride that he Moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, then less than ten minutes later re-shared that same post, with a note about his "Goodbye America."
Aside from a quick couple of messages during his bus ride, I haven't heard from him again, but I know I will soon enough -- he certainly proved on his travels that he'll stay frequently in touch. He even told me at the station that he'll send pictures from Vancouver, which I hadn't even asked for (I only demanded lots of pictures from his trip, and he more than delivered there), but of course I certainly look forward to.
And then he said, "Have a good evening!" I said, "You too!" He went down to the station platform and I walked through Cal Anderson Park on my way back home. I did feel a little sad saying goodbye to him again, but that was it, nothing too emotional. The real kicker when he left in February was the end of an era of either him living with me (2014, 2017) or him living in the same city (most of 2016), and that hasn't changed -- that era has now been over for three months, so I'm pretty used to it.
Anyway, that took care of one weekend with an out of town guest; now to look forward to the next, slightly less than one week later: Uncle David and Mary Ann arrive on Saturday. I decided to get the washing of the sheets on the guest bed (which Ivan left behind, along with the bedspread and cover throw blanket) out of the way, and figured I might as well wash our own sheets while I was at it, so I did that last night, after I took that extra suitcase of Ivan's back down to the storage unit. That left the guest room completely empty once again, now devoid even of Ivan's stack of mail (most of which appeared to be junk mail anyway).
Shobhit was home from work once I got back upstairs, and then we had sambar and rice for dinner. We watched this week's episode of Westworld, which was good, not great; I still liked it better than the "meh" season premiere but thought the previous two episodes had been better -- and, like the season premiere, I'm not sure this needed to be an hour and 15 minutes long. Shobhit dozed off during part of it, so I decided we should wait for another day to watch John Oliver. I went to get ready for bed, and soon enough Shobhit was helping me put the sheets and blankets back on both the beds.
Something kind of amusing happened at work this morning. Alicia from PCC Cooks came over to say something in reference to a conversation we had in the cafeteria last week over lunch. She was telling me about having to focus on work at home, and I said, "I don't ever do that. I don't take my work home. Work is work, and home is home."
She came up to me this morning and said, "Hi there. Something you said to me keeps playing over in my head. Work is work and home is home. Work is work and home is home. It's like a movie!" And I said, "Good!" As far as I'm concerned it's the perfect mantra. Granted, she's in a management position and I am not, and so that philosophy is much easier for someone on a lower pay grade and no management responsibilities. And she coordinates all sorts of things that happen at the stores outside of standard office business hours, but still.
She and Sara W and I all sat together eating lunch today out on the patio. I was the first one to go out, then Alicia, then Sara. No one else did, and even when I went out, bunches of people were eating inside, as though afraid to go out, as though it might be too cold -- it's cooler today than the past couple of days that got up around 80°, and it's cloudy today, but that doesn't mean it's cold. I did put on my hoodie I wore for the relatively chilly bike commute this morning, but at lunchtime not even that was really necessary.
We all got to talking for a bit, about several things, which is really why I'm posting about half an hour later than usual today. Well, that and a work phone call I got as soon as I returned to my desk. I have to get back to cleaning up the retails for the July ads now.
[posted 12:59 pm]