Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Fifty-Four Hour Countdown to Abu Dhabi
In less than forty-eight hours I will be on the road to Atlanta for the beginning of my twenty-two hour journey to Abu Dhabi. Before I go to the airport I am going to make a detour to Emory Hospital and see my dad. I need to hug him, kiss him, and smell him..
I’ve always had this weird thing about the way my dad smells. It is how I have identified him all my life. When he stepped off the plane from Vietnam in 1969, I didn’t believe it was really my dad until he picked me up and I buried my nose in his neck. I don’t even know how to describe how he smells. It is just my dad; warmth and safety, and it is a comfort to me.
photo taken December 20, 2009
I know I’ll leave the hospital an emotional wreck. It is difficult to see Dad the way he is now, with the ravages of the Alzheimer’s so vivid and raw, and not be overwhelmed. By the time I arrive at the airport for my five thirty flight, I hope I will have stopped crying, but then it will be time to say goodbye to my dear, sweet husband, and I know that will set me off into a tirade of tears all over again.
The one aspect I hadn’t thought about when I accepted the Abu Dhabi job was how emotionally draining these last few weeks at home would be. My emotions have been a runaway roller-coaster. The other 2012 Abu Dhabi teachers that I am in contact with have said they are on the same roller-coaster. I find myself crying at inopportune times. It’s a bit discerning because I have never been one to cry much, and I get angry at myself when I do. Saying goodbye to family and friends; trying to decided what personal items I should take with me, while staying under the baggage weight limit; one minute being excited about my new adventure, and the next scared to death; sitting on the porch watching a sudden rain storm and becoming sad because I know I won’t see rain for a while; trying to come to terms with the fact that I will be so far away from my Jim; having to attend to necessary travel paperwork and last minute doctor appointments- have all taken my emotions to a whole new level.
Today I will go say goodbye to my grandmother, retrieve a copy of my contact lens prescription, go to a 2:00 p.m appointment with my family doctor, pick up six months’ worth of my medications from the pharmacist and pack them in my carry-on bag (the entire weight allowance on that one bag- fifteen pounds- is going to be comprised mostly of medications. I’m going to look like a pharmaceutical rep going into the UAE), and spend some time with my daughter. Then later tonight I am going to prepare a good meal for my Jim, and then sit down at the dining room table and enjoy his company and conversation. Every second spent with him now is precious..
Last night I realized that I hadn’t packed my Bose computer speakers. All three of my packed bags were already at the allowed weight limit of fifty pounds, so I did what any self-respecting music aficionado would do: I tossed out some teaching materials I had packed away, carefully wrapped the Bose speakers in bubble wrap, and packed them in the duffel bag where the tossed teaching supplies had been. I can live without a lot, but not my music. And I want good sound when I listen to music. I want to hear every nuance and chord. A woman has to have her priorities, after all.
I have also decided to take one of my little Superman dudes along with me (I have several- it’s a sickness). Little Superman Dude is going to be my traveling buddy, and his adventures will be recorded for posterity in photographs. So keep a lookout for Little Superman Dude in future blog entries. Who knows? I might even allow him to write an entry or two himself!
On a happy happy note, my plumeria bloomed yesterday! After almost four years of nurturing it, babying it, carrying it in and out of the sun, making sure the water level was correct, and yes even talking to it, it has finally bloomed! The flowers are almost blood red, and that old familiar sweet honey scent from Hawaii now fills my screened in porch.
To all the 2012 Abu Dhabi teachers flying out today and tomorrow: do some recon for those of us coming in on later flights! You are our scouts. And everyone remember to tie a purple ribbon on your carry-on luggage so we can readily identify one another. We’re going to have to depend on one another from here on out. Are you ready?????
Posted by Liti